The first game of a season saw us travel down to Darlington RA on a blustery, but bright day. If last season was anything to go by it was a huge game right off the bat for us.
The game kicked off with both teams trying to get the ball forward but failing at the key times with inaccurate passing.
Goal Darlington RA 0-1 Esh (MARLEY 9′)
An innocuous looking free kick was awarded to Esh, 40 yards away from the Darlington goal slightly to towards the right hand side of the Darlington half. Callum Boakes lifting a floating ball that caught the breeze, a large cry of ‘Keepers’ by RA keeper David Atkinson caught everyone by surprise as the ball was landing on the 18 yard line. Nick Marley rising highest to nip in front of Atkinson who looked on in despair as the ball rolled into an empty net.
Goal Darlington RA 1 (Tarn 11′ Pen) -1 Esh
Straight from the kick off Darlington got the ball forward quickly catching the Esh defence out who got caught ball watching before the ball fell at the feet of Simms inside the area, a clumsy tackle from Kieran Day saw RA awarded a penalty. Chris Tarn making no mistake slotting the ball down the centre of the goal away from the dive of Mark Fish in the Esh goal.
The next piece of action saw a 30 yard free kick from Simms test Fish, diving to his right he was able to divert the ball away for a corner.
The play was end to end, Esh’s number 7 Daniel Kent rolling the RA right back before whipping a ball into the 6 yard box, Atkinson just nipping in front of the arriving Swift to cut out a goal.
Goal Darlington RA 2 (Simms 23′) – 1 Esh
After getting away with a defensive error a minute previously RA saw a long ball missed by the Esh defence leaving Mark Simms with a free run on the Esh goal from some 20 yards out, he slots the ball past the diving Fish who stood no chance after being left exposed.
Esh started creating chances within five minutes of the goal after a good run and flick through from Kent, Nick Marley could just not get the ball to settle at his feet, poor control allowing Atkinson to smother the effort at goal.
Goal Darlington RA 2 – 2 Esh (Swift 39′)
The Esh equaliser was the arguably the goal of the game, after good work from Daniel Kent with a floated ball through to a charging Jonathan Swift cutting in off the right wing, Swift is able to lift the ball over the hapless Dom Joynes on the corner of the 18 yard box, before not giving Atkinson a chance with a daisy cutter of a finish.
Esh ended the half strongly with a hugely controversial decision denying Daniel Kent slotting the ball into the net after rounding the keeper. The long ball forward from Mark Fish was challenged by Nick Marley and RA captain David Harrison, Harrison getting the only touch on the ball saw Marley clean through. Mr. Ficetola on the line flagging for an offside believing Marley got the initial flick on, Mr. Holmes the referee blowing before the ball crossed the goal line then went over for a discussion with the assistant before eventually awarding the free kick for offside to RA. Esh players clearly unhappy with the decision managed to regain composure to see the rest of the half out.
HT: Darlington RA 2-2 Esh
The second half started slowly for both sides, both trying to gain control in the blustery conditions, the first chance of the half falling to RA number 7 Mitchell who after good work was disappointed to fluff his lines and Fish in the Esh goal remained untroubled.
The next chance of note again fell to Darlo after a weaker than anticipated header back from Gill left RA man Lonsdale bearing down on the edge of the 6 yard box, Fish in the Esh goal narrowed the angle quickly and got enough on the shot to send the ball out for a corner.
Goal Darlington RA 2 – 3 Esh (Marley 59′)
After some good defensive work by Gill, the ball was played to Daniel Kent inside the Esh half, he looks up and spots Nick Marley making a run just on the centre spot. He pings an accurate 40 yard ball which bounces 30 yards out, Marley’s run so well timed that he finds himself in 20 yards of space takes one look at the onrushing Atkinson, before deftly lifting the ball over the keeper and into the empty net.
Esh dominating the play for the following 10 minutes saw a long punt from Fish saw a flick on from Kent to Marley, who blazes over from 18 yards with his hat trick looming.
RA had their best chance of the second half when substitute Matthew Hughes beats Esh right back Jordan Gibson before putting in an excellent cross right on Tarn’s head, unchallenged he fluffs his lines and puts the ball a good 10 yards over from the edge of the 6 yard line.
A similar chance for Esh falls to Nick Marley on the penalty spot after good work from Daniel Kent on the right wing, his header goes harmlessly over.
The best chance of the remaining 20 minutes fell to Esh’s substitute Matty Allison, Allison stealing the ball from Harrison on the edge of the RA box, took a poor touch enabling the keeper to smother the ball.
Nick Marley had yet another chance to bag his hat trick rising highest from a dangerous Bailey Hunter corner, the ball going a yard over the bar.
The final chance of the game in the 89th minute fell to RA substitute Hughes, who found himself on the edge of the 6 yard box, Mark Fish making himself big saves with his feet before the defence mops up. The final 5 minutes got played out in the Darlington Half, Dagan Taylor working hard with a run to the corner flag securing a vital 3 points.
FT: Darlington RA 2-3 Esh Winning
Darlington RA XI: Atkinson, Reakes, Joynes, Flounders, Harrison (C), Donaldson, Mitchell, Lonsdale, Tarn (g), Simms (g), Peel
Subs: McClaughan, Duggan, Rees, Guthrie, Hughes
EWFC XI: Fish, Gibson, Hunter (y), Stoker (c), Day, Gill, Kent (Taylor 85′), Arnott, Marley (2), Boakes (M. Allison 52′), Swift (g) (D. Johnson (y))
Unused Subs: S. Johsnon, Hannant
Man of the Match Poll available here:
Referee: D. Holmes
Assistant Referees: A. Ficetola, C. Smith
Our next game:
EBAC Northern League Division 2
EWFC – Bltyh AFC
9/8/17 – 7:45 Kick Off
Match Report by Adam Wilding
All the views above are my own and are not necessarily those of the club