A week of nothing but rain put the game in severe doubt until the pitch passed an inspection at 11:30. The afternoon however was a lovely mild spring day and in the end the pitch held up fairly well, although the chunks of pitch missing in patches will take some repairing for Thursdays game. Esh Winning missing several big players to suspension, illness, work and family concerns respectively made five changes from last weeks victory against Tow Law
Thornaby came into the game still with an outside sniff of promotion and showcased their ability with a dominant first 15 minutes. Good chances from Lewis Murphy and Kurtis Howes after decent runs where brilliantly denied by blocks from Soulsby and Allison respectively.
The best chance for Esh fell to Dan Mann, a botched clearance from keeper Oliver Simpson saw the ball land at Mann’s feet some 30 yards out, with no real pressure on him his pace would have taken him clear. Unfortunately he decided to shoot from 30 yards, snatching at the chance and the ball rolling harmlessly wide with the goal gaping.
Straight from the goal kick a long ball was flicked on to Lewis Murphy, running at the defence he eventually lays it back to Daniel Chapman who strikes an effort towards goal, looking for all the world like it would nestle in the bottom corner a black boot attached to Max Stoker suddenly appears from nowhere to completely change the course of the ball back past the other post and to safety.
In an uneventful first half the last action saw a lovely knock down by Esh’s Daniel Kent into the path of Matty Allison charging in to the edge of the 6 yard box, rushing out quickly Simpson manages to make himself big enough to block the effort and put the ball out for a corner.
HT: Esh Winning 0 – 0 Thornaby
48′ Goal – Esh Winning 0 – 1 (Hannah)
The second half started in much the same way as the first half did, pressure from Thornaby. After good work on the edge of the box the striker was alleged to be felled by Matty Soulsby. The player tasked to take the free kick was substitute Kallum Hannah, who steps up and hits a good left footed effort evading the grasp of Robinson in the Esh goal.
The best chance of the half for Esh, and a potential game changer, fell to Gav Brown. Matty Allison nipping in on the edge of the box following good work from a throw in gets to the by line, pulling it back to the penalty spot Brown meets it with a well struck shot. Unfortunately for Esh the ball is just to the keepers right, Simpson gets down and makes a block, the resulting corner amounting to nothing.
Two big chances for Thornaby put the visitors firmly in control, good work from Hannah saw two big quick fire saves from Robinson to keep the Stags in the game. This was followed by what looked to be a stone wall penalty after a late tackle from Mykel Summerson went unpunished by the referee.
The man of the moment Kallum Hannah began to show why he is nailed on to score over 20 league goals this year, receiving a long ball into the box he eases Stoker off the ball in what was an obvious push in the back. Reacting to the surprise of being allowed to play on he spins on the ball and hits a left footed effort across the face of the goal, somehow the ball stays out after hitting the inside off the post before looping back across the goal line to the welcome arms of Carl Robinson. His second effort came shortly after, latching on to a through ball and beating the offside trap he gets one on one with Robinson, sliding the ball past him and glancing the outside of the post on its way out of play.
75′ Goal – Esh Winning 0 – 2 (Hannah pen) Thornaby
They say things even themselves out in football and if the earlier penalty shout was stone wall the second was anything but. A long ball through to Daniel Chapman who looked to be in an offside position was met with a burst into the box from him. Taking on Matty Soulsby he decides that he has done enough and clearly takes a dive with Soulsby nowhere near him. With the referee not in a good position to see the dive he awards the penalty without hesitation, Kallum Hannah stepping up and giving Robinson no chance hitting the inside of the side netting to make the most of the opportunity.
The next 10 minutes or so descended into a scrappy niggly affair, the player that won the penalty Chapman picking fights with most Esh players on the pitch much to the annoyance of his own teammates and manager telling him to calm down, a lucky boy not to see a card after leaning his head into Stokers face. In the Premier League you would see Stoker fall over claiming all sorts of atrocities, luckily in the Northern League there is less of this and the players sorted the issue out themselves and returned to the football.
The last chance of the half fell to last weeks hero Daniel Kent, this time being unable to force an effort on the corner of the 6 yard box past Simpson and into the net.
FT: Esh Winning 0 – 2 Thornaby
A game settled by two set pieces saw a tired looking Esh Winning succumb to defeat, next up is Chester-Le-Street in an unusual Thursday night fixture due to the ongoing fixture congestion.
Esh XI: Robinson, Summerson, Johnson, Stoker (c), G. Brown, Soulsby, Mann, Allison, Kent, Swift, R. Brown
Thornaby XI: Simpson, Morrison, Graham, Marshall, Simpson, Rone, Crainey, Wilson (c), Chapman, Murphy, Howes
Subs: Hannah (2), Posthill, Scaife-Wheatley
Referee: D. Quigley
Assistants: A. Breeze, D. Hewitt
Match Reporter: Adam Wilding
All views are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the club.