Friday night football was back at Esh last night, a perfect crisp November evening greeted two free scoring teams. The decision to move the game to a Friday again vindicated by a superb turn out of 121, thank you to all that came it is always great to see the club house busy after the game as well.
The game started in earnest with the first 10 minutes being dominated by a strong Tow Law side without any clear cut chances being created. Lewis Teasdale breaking loose bearing down on goal before an awful touch saw the ball role harmlessly to Robinson in the Esh goal.
Robinson would not have so easy a first half after this, pulling off a string of truly superb saves. He was also ably helped out by his teammates. Most notably a viscous effort from 25 yards by Matty Soulsby destined for the net was some how kept out by the diminutive Dan Mann jumping and blocking the ball with his head, not only preventing a goal but managing to stay on his feet and pick up the loose ball.
Robinson again in the thick of the action made three saves to thwart the two top scorers in the division, Thexton and Teasdale. In the process of one of these efforts both Robinson and Teasdale picked up injuries, Teasdale succumbing midway through the first half and Robinson fighting on to half time.
In the 44th minute his body was tested thoroughly, a poor back pass was flicked up and over him on the corner of his 6 yard box, twisting sharply Robinson manages to get a sliver of a finger to the ball and just tips it onto the outside of the post and out for a corner with the Lawyers striker waiting for the tap in, a fantastic recovery.
45+1′ Goal Esh Winning 1 (Swift) – 0 Tow Law
The last action of the first half saw a smash and grab for the Stags. A way ward cross from the Esh right wing swerved all over the place and deceived Tom Orton in the Lawyers goal, crashing into the bar. Connor Halpin managed to keep the ball in play exceptionally and lay the ball off to left back Jonathan Swift, 12 yards out on the left hand side of the box, he powerfully slots the ball in at the near post making no mistake and not giving the recovering Orton much chance.
HT: Esh Winning 1 – 0 Tow Law
The major news at the start of the second half was the substitution of Esh goal keeper Carl Robinson, to be replaced by Mark Fish. With both keepers being of a number one calibre the depth of the Esh bench was evident and an impressive tribute to the management in assembling the squad.
Esh had the first chance of the half, the goal in the first half helping the Stags find their feet in the game after a robust rearguard action, Shaun Reay swivelling quickly 30 yards out and unleashing a snap shot, again swerving all over the place Tom Orton did well to make the save look routine.
Shortly after this was a superb flowing move from the Stags, culminating in a lovely lay off by Reay to a charging Matty Allison some 20 yards out, striking the ball as sweetly as possible he looks to beat Orton up high and it glances off the crossbar out of play. The referee deemed it to have taken a touch from Orton and awards the corner, making it a superb save.
The Lawyers best chances fell in the 70th and 74th minutes, the first a double chance. Thexton breaking into the box forces a superb low save from the 6’5 frame of Mark Fish. Getting up quickly he reacts, this time with his feet, to make the double save and retaining the Esh lead. The second chance came from a cross, a strong header looking destined to level the scores until a right palm of Fish making use of his stature appears through the crowd of players to divert the ball to safety.
77′ Goal Esh Winning 2 (Swift) – 0 Tow Law
The match was settled by a set piece that given the size advantage of the Tow Law side looked more likely to be scored in the opposite net at the start of the game. Callum Boakes putting in a superb corner was met by the salmon like leap of Jonathan Swift, up for the corner from Left Back showing the ambition to attack even at 1-0 up, six yards out with no defenders really challenging him he nods the ball down past Orton and into the net.
The final 10 minutes where fairly comfortably seen off by Esh, the only real danger was after a cross from the left wing, Stoker met the ball with a defensive header aiming to send the ball over the bar for a corner. His header crashed off the bar and just over much to the relief of Esh Winning.
FT: Esh Winning 2 – 0 Tow Law
A superb victory by an Esh Winning side that few on social media fancied before the game. The most pleasing aspect from my point of view was the clean sheet, two exceptional performances from both keepers and a brilliant rearguard action managed by a vocal leader in Max Stoker, ably assisted by Summerson, Wilkinson, Swift and Mann proved that we are not just an attacking force.
We currently sit 7th in the league, albeit having played more games than those around us, at the halfway point in the season. The development has been unbelievable the players and management deserve all the credit, the atmosphere around the club is a marked difference on previous seasons and it appears the local community is buying in. Long may it continue.
EWFC XI: Robinson (Fish 46′), Wilkinson, Swift (2), Stoker (c), G. Brown (y), Summerson (y), Mann (Grant 82′), Allison (y), Reay, Halpin (Wigley), Boakes (y)
Unused Subs: Hird, Johnson
Tow Law XI: Orton, Knowles, Oldfield, Ord, Kemp, Caygill, Parnaby, Teasdale, Thexton, Whitworth
Subs: Harbottle, Hirst, Smith, Brown, Pattison
Ref: K. Freeth
Assistants: M. Katoroz, T. James
Match Report by
All views and opinions expressed in this report are my own and do not represent those of the club or any person other than myself.