Coming into the game both teams needed the three points, Easington to get back on track for FA cup qualification, Esh to keep pace with a resurgent Darlington RA and Ryton & Crawcrook.
The Easington ground, provides not only a superb back drop over the North Sea, but also one hell of a wind; only matched by Tow Law! Today the wind played a massive part in the game, Esh started off the game kicking with the wind.
Straight from the kick off the stags looked to dominate and make a quick start a corner within 30 seconds providing an early footing for the first half.
GOAL – Easington 0 – 1 EWFC (Stoker 3′)
After just 3 minutes, the ball was played across the half way line finding Esh fullback Thomas Young just inside the Easington half, he slots a perfect floated ball to Max Stoker finding space in the box takes one touch to control is and lashes it past the despairing keeper, Kyle Donaldson, into the net. Despite the Easington players forlornly looking on to the linesman for a non existent flag, Stoker timing his run perfectly and finding himself a good yard on side when the ball was played.
The next 10 minutes dominated by a very good Esh side, Stoker, Arnott and Soulsby; making his debut, dominating as a three in midfield; allowing a dangerous Chris Mordue and Callum Boakes to give the Easington fullbacks the run around. Nick Marley winning everything within 10 yards of him.
GOAL – Easington 1 ( Adamson 14′) – 1 EWFC ( Adamson 14′)
Very much against the run of play; and the only clear chance of the half for Easington, saw the pacey right winger beat Esh left back Alex Hird and play a dangerous low ball from the corner of the six yard box to Liam Adamson who couldn’t miss from a yard out.
The next 20 minutes was spent with the Esh Winning front three causing all sorts of problems for Easington, the wind both a help and hindrance with some balls just running away from Mordue on the right wing.
Following a mistake from Easington Captain Chris Pearson, the ball fell to Callum Boakes who drove forward and unleashed a dangerous effort just over the bar from thirty yards. This pattern was repeated after good work from Boakes flicking on to Marley who shot just over, from the restart the ball fell to Stoker, who lofted a ball towards Marley, he superbly lays it off to Mordue, again shooting just over. Yet another chance missed by Esh following a corner, the ball falling at Soulsby’s feet shooting from 20 yards out, the keeper makes a decent save with the on rushing Marley bearing down on him.
GOAL – Easington 1 -2 EWFC (Boakes 44′)
On the stroke of half time, the stags finally punish Easington with a perfectly judged weighted pass from Stoker finding Nick Marley with 3 men around him, Marley showing a superb footballing brain by simply laying the ball of to an unmarked Callum Boakes who beats the keeper down low to his left for a superb team goal, and a well deserved half time lead.
HT: Easington 1-2 EWFC
From the kick off Easington looked to use the wind to their advantage with plenty of long ball football, unfortunately for them they found a superb back 4 winning everything in the air, Joe Wilkinson dominating everything; if he looked remotely under pressure with the flight of the ball the ever dependable James Huntley came to the rescue; Hird and Young sweeping up. This carried on for a further 20 minutes, any corners always seen out by Matty Soulsby, or Mark Fish claiming the ball
The first moment of note came when Easington winger Adamson finally beats Young for pace on the wing before being hauled back by the fullback, who receives a deserved Yellow for his troubles. The resulting free kick being headed clear by Soulsby again, falling at the feet of Nick Marley coming back into the Esh half, the Easington number 9 David Paul running towards his own goal flies in, a genuine strikers challenge and well off the ground leveling Marley, the referee gives the free kick; fails to confer with his linesman; who later informs him the tackle was at least worthy of a yellow if not more. In fairness to Marley, he does his opposite number a favour by getting up and getting on with the game without any fuss. My personal opinion would air on the side of deserving a caution, no more. The game being played in a good spirit, and David Paul apologising speaks volumes of both sides.
Following on from this hotspot, Esh came back into the game, Nick Marley again teeing up his team mate, Chris Mordue putting the ball onto the playing field from 18 yards out.
In the 77th minute, David Paul shows the other side of his game with a superb acrobatic effort from just inside the area, unfortunately for him it was right down the throat of Mark Fish.
The key moment of the second half for Esh came from a long pass from Stoker, putting the defender under pressure, just on the edge of the box the defender fails to deal with it, hand balling it with no other alternative, the referee playing the advantage as it fell to Chris Mordue, 15 yards out, unfortunately his powerful shot was too close to the keeper who made a decent save with a strong right hand. On reviewing the handball several people in the ground in line with it believed it to be inside the area, others believing it to be just outside. Either way the chance should have been taken by Mordue to put us out of sight.
GOAL – Easington 2 (Bulmer 89′) – EWFC 2
Heart break for the Stags, following a good last 10 minutes from Easington, which put the Esh defence under increasing pressure, James Latham having recently came on as a Substitute, concedes a corner following good work from the left winger. The ball was superbly delivered, and a perfect header from Easington number 14 Bulmer sees the ball drift over the Esh defence into the top corner. Questions had to be asked how a relatively short player found that much space in the box.
The referee finds four minutes of injury time, which are dominated by Easington, who forced a worldy from Mark Fish tipping over to save Esh in the 92nd minute. The game then drifts to a 2-2 finish.
The result no good for either side, especially given the news coming in from Consett, where Darlington RA scored a fifth goal against Durham City in the 90th minute to secure a win, continuing their recent impressive form. Despite this, a draw was possibly a fair result, although it is with disappointment that we could not take any of the chances that fell to us.
Given the general mood of despondency that emanates from such a cruel equaliser, it fell to Alex Hird; who grew well into his left back roll in the second half, to give the pep talk to some of the committee leaving the ground saying “We aren’t done yet”. That brings me to next week, we have a tough home game against Billingham Synthonia 3pm kick off on the 25th, we hope you come and join us and support the lads as they strive to atone for the cruel way today ended.
Man of the Match poll open until 6pm on the 19th March and can be found here:
EWFC: Fish, Young (y) (Latham 65′), Hird, Stoker (C) (G), Huntley, Wilkinson, Mordue, Arnott (Chester), Marley, Soulsby, Boakes (G) (Stephenson)
Unused Subs: Clarkson, Stewart
Easington: Donaldson, Freeman, Nesbitt, Pearson, Ball, Croft, Kenney, Jones, Paul, Pounder, Adamson
Subs: Turnbull, Anderson, Bulmer
Ref: Steve Lennon
Assistants: John Harkess & Colin Stores
PLEASE NOTE ALL VIEWS ABOVE ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THOSE OF THE CLUB.