What a difference a couple of weeks make, from the rain sodden game at Tow Law to the Riviera that is Jarrow! Possibly the best pitch in the league greeted the players on a glorious afternoon.
After a defeat in the reverse fixture at the end of March, Esh came into the game with a thread bare squad, just reserve goal keeper Carl Robinson taking his place on the bench after a number of late withdrawals.
The game started with Esh on the front foot. Nick Marley, finally back from a 4 game suspension that seemed to go on and on with the cancelations, forcing a superb save from Jarrow stopper Jak Wells.
With Kris Goss who scored twice at West Terrace looked dangerous in the early stages a lovely flick from the big man sending Max Kirkhamm into the box, with Mark Fish making himself as large as possible in the Esh goal his only option is to loft it over him, fortunately for Esh the ball lands on the roof of the net.
The Stags reasserted control, good work from Jonathan Swift powering through a couple of fouls, and taking the benefit of a good advantage played by the referee, threads a superb ball through to Dan Mann nipping in from the right wing. Mann steals in before Wells to round the keeper, taking himself to the edge of the 6 yard box he cuts back onto his right foot and attempts to curl it past the two men on the line. His shot ends a lovely move with a throw in to Jarrow after losing composure and miss hitting his shot.
Yet another chance falling to Esh after a hurried clearance from Daryll Donnelly falls at Daniel Kents feet some 30 yards out, driving forward he drops his left shoulder and cuts the ball onto his right foot. A curling effort crashes into the post before Donnelly atones for his error by nipping ahead of Sean Johnson to clear the ball out for a corner.
Esh looking to take advantage of their chances saw yet another great opportunity slip by, a quick throw from Johnson saw Nick Marley turn and hit a viscous effort. Wells manages to get a hand to it but only succeeds in palming the ball to Dan Mann, who blazes over with the goal gaping.
37′ Goal – Jarrow 1 (Graham) – 0 Esh Winning
With Esh plowing forward the full backs where caught out of position when a hurried long ball clearance was not dealt with by Matty Soulsby, his only mistake of a near flawless display. With Kirkhamm reacting to the weak header, Mark Fish rushes out of his area to attempt a headed clearance. The pitch being in perfect condition the ball bounced higher than he perhaps anticipated and he got less distance on his header than he would have liked. The ball falling to captain Steven Graham who expertly lofted a lob onto the goal line from 40 yards out, the ball bouncing into the roof of the net and giving Jarrow a shock lead.
42′ Goal – Jarrow 1 – 1 (Kent) Esh Winning
As before the goal the Stags continued to play the ball about confidently on the perfect pitch, some good work on the right wing from Chris Mordue and Dan Mann saw the latter attempt a cross. The ball looped over everyone in the box with Gav Brown reacting well to pick it up in the left corner, looking up he puts an inch perfect ball onto the foot of Daniel Kent who makes no mistake from 5 yards out meeting the cross on the volley and equalising for the stags.
44′ Goal – Jarrow 1 – 2 (Kent) Esh Winning
With The Stags firmly back in control and in the ascendancy a second before half time looked more probable than possible. Chris Mordue picking the ball up at right back pinging the ball 60 yards to just inside the Jarrow box. Daniel Kent out muscling Nick Little, taking a touch and sliding the ball past Wells to put Esh deservedly in front at the break.
HT: Jarrow 1 – 2 Esh Winning
A quiet 20 minutes at the start of the second half was exactly what was required to give the lads the breather they required, in the sweltering heat, with no outfield substitutes available. The first chance of note falling to Kirkhamm turning and hitting a strong shot straight down the throat of Mark Fish who was untroubled by the effort.
Esh’s first chance of the half came the way of the lively looking Dan Mann, who reacted well to a Nick Marley flick on rolling the ball past the onrushing Wells from 18 yards out. Unfortunately for him the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the post when it looked in at first glance.
Shortly after Mann almost redeemed himself with an excellent corner finding Max Stoker leaping above the Jarrow defenders to power a header past Wells. With the Esh dugout expecting the ball to nestle into the net a Jarrow defender appears from nowhere to superbly clear the ball off the line.
80′ Goal – Jarrow 1 – 3 (Kent Hat-trick) Esh Winning
A harmless looking ball into Max Stoker with his back to goal 30 yards out, saw Stoker sense a yard of space behind him and exquisitely turn past his nearest man, he then jinks his way past a further two defenders before hitting an effort from 25 yards. The shot taking a slight deflection wrong footed Wells who could only parry the ball out. Who else but Daniel Kent reacting the quickest to return the ball back towards goal bouncing over the stricken Wells and into the net to give the Esh Winning resident a well earned third for his local club.
The goal killing the game as a contest and giving the Stags the cushion they richly deserved, the biggest chance of the remaining minutes fell again to Kent who turned his man from a corner and blasted a half volley into the side netting in a smart looking move. Kris Goss and Kirkhamm unable to test Fish in the Esh goal from distance.
FT: Jarrow 1 – 3 Esh Winning
A superb first visit to Perth Green for a depleted Stags saw the first hat-trick in 3 seasons for Esh was scored by an Esh Winning local on a perfect pitch and a stunning day for football. A word for Jarrow FC who are a great addition to the Northern League and look sure to cement a place in next seasons League. Final mention for referee Daniel Mahmoodshahi who let the game flow, played advantage well for both teams and managed a fairly easy game well to increase the spectacle. Something that a lot of referees could learn from.
Next up is Easington Colliery at home on Tuesday night with a 7:30 kick off, we look forward to seeing you there. I will leave you with a happy manager Tony Boakes enjoying the sunshine before the game.
Esh XI: Fish, Mordue, Summerson, Stoker (c), G. Brown, Soulsby, Kent (3), Johnson, Marley, Mann, Swift
Unused Sub: Robinson
Jarrow XI: Wells, Simpson, Simpson-McGill, Donnelly, Mellish, Little, Allen, Graham (c)(1), Goss, Kirkhamm, Martin
Subs: Elliott, Morton, Collins, Attewell, Watson
Referee: D. Mahmoodshahi
Assistants: A. McDonnell, M. Heskett
MOTM: Daniel Kent
Please note that all views and opinions are my own and as such do not necessarily represent the club