A mild yet windy Saturday afternoon greeted the two teams who both find themselves in the top half of the table for Christmas.
The game started at a frantic pace with Hebburn making the most of some lacklustre defending of a team coming off a long period with no league football, with a cup defeat against todays opposition also playing on their minds.
8′ Goal Esh Winning 0-1 (North) Hebburn Town
Making the most of the wind blowing across the pitch the long throw from the right was predictably met by the towering Channon North with a header up and over the helpless Mark Fish in the Esh Winning goal.
10′ Goal Esh Winning 0-2 (Chow) Hebburn Town
With The Stags still reeling from the early setback and with recent heavy defeats in mind the defence opened up all too easily for North running on to a long through ball, left back Alex Hird the man to try and keep up with him, he slides and gets a foot onto the ball, sending the ball through to the man in an offside position in other circumstances Paul Chow, who rolls the ball into the empty net. With the assistant referee flagging for offside it was down to referee Mr Hargrave, to make the correct decision and award the goal to Hebburn. That was Chows third goal in two league games against us this season.
With Esh 2-0 down it would be understandable to think that would be the end of the game and a possible cricket score being put up by Hebburn given recent games. Not today however, and despite being two down the balance of play shifted towards Esh. Jonathan Swift striking a ball hard and just over the bar and Nick Marley hitting the bar with a dipping shot after good work by Gav Brown sparking signs of life.
26′ Goal Esh Winning 1 (Marley) -2 Hebburn Town
With the dominance of possession starting to show the hard working Swift on the left wing was brought down 40 yards out in line with the Esh dugout and 6 yards infield. Shaun Reay whipping a superb free kick onto the penalty spot and Nick Marley delivering the diving header the ball deserved to halve the deficit
31′ Goal Esh Winning 2 (Marley) -2 Hebburn Town
In football it is so important to take advantage of any momentum and so it proved again today. Another free kick awarded in the corner was put across by Gav Brown, the defenders failing to clear the ball fatally bouncing on the edge of the six yard box. Nick Marley reacting quickest and smashing the ball into the net with Hubey helpless to stop it.
The final two chances of the half both fell to Paul Chow, a free header from the penalty spot should have restored Hebburns lead. However, the easier chance was after a cross beat the entire Esh defence, Chow found himself unmarked with a header at the perfect height for him. All Mark Fish could do in the Esh goal was make him as big as possible charging across the goal, Chow heading back from where Fish had come from missed the net by a yard with it looking easier to score.
HT: Esh Winning 2-2 Hebburn Town
The second half saw both teams a little more cautious, not helped by the wind making good football difficult on a heavy pitch.
The first chance fell to Esh on the 55th minute, Matty Soulsby finding space 35 yards out struck a curling effort just going wide of the left hand post.
With the game becoming slightly stretched Kanda danced through 4 Esh defenders and to the edge of the box, losing composure he blasts a left footed effort high over the Esh goal.
The main talking point of the second half was a disallowed goal for Hebburn, Paul Chow finding himself unmarked in the box, as he slides the ball into the net the flag goes up to rule Chow offside, as I was not in a position to see the line it is hard to be conclusive my gut reaction was he looked offside, albeit that is clearly an Esh Winning point of view. However two Hebburn fans inline with the incident said he was level, either way it was close!
The final 20 minutes arguably belonged to Esh, after good work from Swift, Shaun Reay holds the ball up well in the Hebburn penalty area he then lays the ball off to Alex Hird 25 yards out. Hird smashes the ball some 20 yards over the bar, clearing the netting behind the goal, he claims later that it hit a huge bobble.
The final two attempts came from Max Stoker long throws, the first finding Nick Marley looking for his third lurking on the six yard box. His glanced header goes just wide.
The final chance of the game in the 90th minuted saw Stokers throw glanced on by Marley, Matty Soulsby getting a glancing head on it beating the keeper and hitting the underside of the bar before going to safety.
FT: Esh Winning 2-2 Hebburn Town
A fair result on the day I think, both teams will be happy with the point at the end of the match. Albeit it with Hebburn in control early on and Esh rueing missed chances at the end of the game.
All that is left to be said is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and we hope to see you on Wednesday night as we take on Brandon at home with a 7:30 kick off.
EWFC XI: Fish, Wilkinson, Hird, Stoker (c), Brown, Summerson, Allison, Soulsby (y), Marley (2), Reay, Swift
Unused Subs: Robinson, Watson, Boakes, Hewitson, Gill
Hebburn XI: Hubey, Toward, Shaw, Bickerstaff, Bramley, Donaghy, Wightman, Kanda, Chow (g), North (c) (g), Jones
Subs: Myers, Feasey, Robinson, Douglas, Blackburn
Referee: Mr. G. Hargrave
Assistants: Mr. I. Frostwick, Mr D. Matuszek
Match Reporter: Adam Wilding
All views are my own and do not represent those of the club or any other person.