A beautiful autumnal Armistice day greeted the two teams who respected the minutes silence to mark the occasion. As ever the crowd are just as respectful with a generous round of applause as Mr. McCarrock sounded his whistle to conclude the minute and start what would be a busy day for him.
The first minute started in the way the entire half would carry on, a missed defence clearance, this time by Joe Grant at right back for Esh, let in the dangerous Smith cutting the ball across towards Brad Hird he was thwarted by a sliding interception from Max Stoker.
The game is affectionately known amongst the Esh players as the Hird derby, the first spoils going to Alex, after herding (Pun intended) into the corner, he keeps him there and manages to steal the ball away and launch the attack.
5′ Goal Durham City 0 – 1 (Boakes) Esh Winning
The first goal of the game came after a superb cross field ball from Gav Brown who found Callum Boakes who took it on his chest and drove into the Citizens box from the left wing. His first effort is parried by Nathan Armin, not to be denied he gets the rebound and slots it in from a narrow angle.
9′ Goal Durham City 1 (Hird) – 1 Esh Winning
A superb solo goal from Brad Hird, saw him receive the ball 30 yards out he drives forward and cuts back onto his left foot on the right hand edge of the box. He then unleashes an arrow of a shot destined to nestle in the top left hand corner of the box leaving Robinson no chance.
With the Citizens starting to dominate a poor back pass saw Karl Robinson slice his clearance before heading the ball to Rodgers some 35 yards out, his effort is acrobatically saved by Robinson to his left.
18′ Goal Durham City 2 (Knowd) – 1 Esh Winning
Not to be denied a justified second for Durham was scored after more good work by Smith on the left wing, his dangerous low cross evades Robinson, leaving Daniel Knowd the simple task of guiding the ball into the unguarded net.
Yet more Durham pressure saw Bradley Hird with his left foot blast the ball past the opposite post from the left hand side of the box, everyone in the ground expecting the net to bulge.
33′ Goal Durham City 2 – 2 (Boakes) Esh Winning
Against the run of play another superb long cross field ball, this time by Joe Grant at right back, saw the unmarked Callum Boakes ghost in to the back stick, cushioning the header from the edge of the six yard box past the onrushing keeper.
36′ Goal Durham City 2 – 3 (Reay (P)) Esh Winning
The first moment of controversy in the game came after a lovely flick through from Alex Hird to Shaun Reay bursting into the left hand side of the box. He is felled by the Citizens defender, who possibly did get a piece of the ball, the referee having no doubt awards the penalty. On a potential hat-trick Callum Boakes unselfishly hands the ball to Reay who steps up and slides the ball to the keepers left, his first for the club.
38′ Goal Durham City 3 (Hird) – 3 Esh Winning
In a game of many good looking goals Bradley Hird’s second was the pick of them. Receiving the ball some 40 yards out to the right of the goal he again drives forward before hitting a perfectly timed delicate lob with his less favoured foot. The ball drops in to the top half of the Esh goal, leaving Robinson in no mans land.
43′ Goal Durham City 3 – 4 (Halpin) Esh Winning
With the match back in the balance Esh started to exert some more pressure onto the Citizens back line. The last chance, and goal, of an incredible first half was scored by Connor Halpin. A lovely right footed ball from Jonathan Swift split the defenders with Halpin showing the poachers instinct and curving his run in behind them, one on one with the keeper he elects to loft it over him. Armin gets a touch with his outstretched arm to slow the ball, unfortunately for him not enough to stop the ball hitting the back of his net.
HT: Durham City 3-4 Esh Winning
Whilst in the committee room fairly stern words from both dressing rooms in relation to the defences could be over heard. and the players reacted, with Esh arguably having the majority of the possession and territory of the first 20 minutes, albeit with no real moments of note to report.
The first real chance came after a viscous in swinging corner from Callum Boakes caused three Esh players to throw their bodies towards the ball. Unfortunately none made contact and the ball ran out of play to safety.
The only real clear cut chance for Durham City in the second half fell to Lee Gaunt after a dangerous free kick from Brad Hird fell to him six yards out, lacking the necessary composure he blazed over.
75′ Goal Durham City 3-5 (Mann) Esh Winning
The games deciding goal was again a lovely looking effort. Good work from Shaun Reay who stole the ball from the Durham defender, he looks up and provides a superb ball to the onrushing Dan Mann, on the edge of the 18 yard box he hits it first time past the despairing Armin and into the roof of the net putting a cushion inbetween the two teams for the first time in the match.
81′ Red Card – Durham City ( Stephen Molloy)
The last piece of action in the game saw Molloy lost control of a bouncing ball on the right wing, charging forward he follows through on Jonathan Swift who lets out a cry of pain. Being the other side of the ground my initial reaction was yellow card, the linesman tells me he stamped down on the foot, the referee agreeing with the latter and producing a straight red card effectively killing the game there.
FT: Durham City 3 – 5 Esh Winning
A crazy first half with both teams struggling to stop any attack was followed by a professional performance from an Esh side off the back of a heavy defeat the game before. A welcome three points see’s us climb back into the top half with half of our games gone.
All that is left to say, and all in jest please don’t take it the wrong way anybody, is to announce the winner of Hird v Hird and despite scoring 2 excellent goals the spoils go to Alex. He has provided a fitting photo for the event.
EWFC XI: Robinson, Grant, Swift, Stoker (c), Summerson, A. Hird (Mann (g) 59′), Allison, Reay (g), Halpin (g) (Wigley 69′), Boakes (2) (Wilkinson 77′)
Unused Subs: Fish, Mordue
Durham City XI: Armin, Dobinson, J. Thompson (c), Hennis, Joyeux, Potts, Knowd (g), Rodgers, B. Hird (2), McWaters, Smith
Subs: Steele, G. Thompson, Gaunt, Molloy (r), Caris
Referee: D McCarrick
Assistants: I. Enderwick, R. Denton
All views expressed in this report are my own and do not represent those of the club or anyone else.