After a disappointing defeat and poor performance the previous week The Stags made four changes looking to put the record straight.
A wild and windy day looked to be the order of the day on arriving at West Terrace, however on approaching kick off this subsided slightly to leave a fairly mild October afternoon.
The game started in a frantic fashion with both teams pressing forward, neither creating a real opportunity in the opening couple of minutes. An early chance fell to Esh on the 5th minute with good work from Chris Mordue, playing in his natural right wing slot after weeks of filling in at right back, found Daniel Kent making a forward run ahead of him. Kent hits a cross come shot which the wind takes over Houghton in the RACA goal, crashing into the cross bar before Callum Boakes reacts quickly to force the ball towards the goal, Houghton being in the right place at the right time manages to smother the effort.
The next 15 minutes or so was dominated by RACA, a good chance falling to Rhys Harbottle finding Taylor Davis on the edge of the box, fortunately for The Stags he smashes his right footed effort into the side netting.
The dominance from RACA was punctuated by an acrobatic effort (Pictured Below) from Jonathan Swift after chaos in the box following a Max Stoker long throw.
24′ Goal Esh Winning 0-1 (A. Brown) RACA
A goal that the poor start to the game from the Stags deserved was scored after a punt forward from Callum Turnbull, landed perfectly in the path of Anthony Brown, who burst into the box, sliding the ball under Carl Robinson giving him no chance. The goal being well deserved.
This was the last time RACA looked dangerous in the first half. The next 10 minutes petering into a poor game to watch.
34′ Goal Esh Winning 1 (Kent) – 1 RACA
Without ever looking dangerous The Stags started to find their footing in the game, piling pressure on every ball the RACA players had in their possession. The goal came from such pressure, Chris Mordue working hard and stealing the ball on the half way line, the ball finding its way to Daniel Kent clean through with 50 yards in front of him. He approaches the goalkeeper, drops his shoulder and rounds him comfortably before rolling the ball into the empty net, a lovely composed finish.
Soon after the goal the only other chance of the half fell to Esh. A Callum Boakes free kick whipped in from the left touchline, missed by Swift, took a bounce on the 6 yard line with Stoker looking to pounce, for all the world he looks like he is going to score….. his header goes just over the bar. He maintains that the ball was just an inch too high for him preventing his fourth of the season.
HT: Esh Winning 1-1 RACA
Esh started the half with a glorious opportunity after a superb ball in by Callum Boakes was missed by Arnott and then blazed over by Daniel Kent.
62′ Red Card
With Esh controlling much of the play without many opportunities being created, the next key moment was instigated by the referee, deeming a challenge by Gav Brown to be reckless, despite in my opinion and those around me, being nowhere near the man and no one else in the ground appealing or expecting a whistle to be blown. Mr Nichol seeing it otherwise and producing a second yellow card and therefore a red one, the first of the season for an Esh player.
The red card seemed to inspire an Esh side feeling wronged, and starting to dominate and create plenty of chances. The first such chance from a Summerson Free Kick in his own half, finding Max Stoker who headed a difficult chance just wide.
67′ Goal Esh Winning 2 (Allison) – 1 RACA
After some lovely play from Dann Mann and Scott Arnott on the left wing, the ball fell to Matty Allison some twenty yards out to the left of centre, he cuts back on his right foot and unleashes a rocket of a shot that never rose more than a yard off the turf, hitting the inside of the side netting to the right of the goal, leaving Houghton with no chance.
The next 15 minutes was a punctuated affair, Mr. Nichol choosing to stop the play at every given opportunity and steadfastly refusing to allow the game to flow. The final tally saw 7 yellow cards (including the two for Brown) when there was a mutual feeling around the ground between both sets of supporters, perhaps not by his assessor also in attendance, that not one should have been awarded. Another needlessly expensive day for two clubs who can ill afford it.
84′ Goal Esh Winning 3 (Mann) – 1 RACA
With RACA looking to play the ball quickly the two substitutions made for Esh Mann & Taylor, where working hard to put pressure on the ball. Their endeavour paid off with Dagan Taylor closing from one side and Dan Mann from the other, Houghton was left nowhere to go, Dan Mann putting a tackle in on a man a foot taller and winning the ball. Bouncing to his feet he slides the ball into the empty net to confirm a hard earned battling win from an Esh side not at their best today.
FT: Esh Winning 3 -1 RACA
A ten day break is in store for Esh now, with no game next Saturday the lads can rest in the knowledge their hard work sees us sat in 9th, on the same points as fifth place.
Esh XI: Robinson, Gill, Swift, Stoker (c), G. Brown (so), Mordue (Hird 85′), Arnott (y), Kent (g)(Taylor 76′), Boakes (Mann 60′ (g)), Allison (g)
Unused Subs: Hannant, Wilkinson
RACA XI: Houghton, Below (c), Moody, Turnbull, Barker, Miley, Brown (g), Anderson, Harbottle, Gibbons, Davis
Subs: Shaw, Millington, Crammond, Hepple
Referee: A. Nichol
Assistants: D. Ranson, J. Grey
Committee MOTM: Matthew Allison
ALL VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REPORT, AND INDEED THIS SITE, ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT IN ANY WAY REPRESENT THOSE OF THE CLUB OR ANYONE ELSE INVOLVED WITH THE CLUB. PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT THIS DOMAIN, AND EVERYTHING ON IT IS NOT THE PROPERTY OF THE CLUB BUT THE WEBMASTER