After a fine couple of days the rain returned before kick off. Your trusty match reporter getting a soaking whilst wearing another hat (Unfortunately with no actual hat) on the gate!! Esh came into the game after a good away victory against Jarrow, Easington off the back of a defeat at Willington. The reverse fixture up there with the most disappointing performances of the season with a 6-2 defeat for Esh.
A quiet start to the game with both teams struggling with finding a final ball on a slick surface, the first chance of note was a contender for miss of the season. After good work down the left wing by Easington’s Liam Adamson he puts a superb cross in to an unmarked David Vincent all alone at the back post, 3 yards out and looking for all the world like he is going to score his composure suddenly deserts him at the last minute. He somehow manages to handle the ball into the ground rather than nod it in with his head, a free kick being awarded.
Another chance fell the way of Easington quikly. A superb bit of work by a winger, this time on the right, puts in a lovely floated cross to Adamson at the back post unmarked six yards out, this time it’s his turn to fluff his lines and heads the ball up and over the bar.
25′ Goal – Esh Winning 0 – 1 (Adamson) Easington Colliery
With the likely goalscorers being in the Blue of Easington, it was no surprise that a perfectly weighted ball by Michael Cooke was played into the path of Liam Adamson. With the Esh Winning defence caught out he found himself one on one with Matty Soulsby, beating him for pace he hits a strong effort that Mark Fish can only get half a glove on and divert it into the net.
The rest of the half descended into a drab affair, Easington struggling to break down a resolute Stags defence looking to regroup following the set back.
HT: Esh Winning 0 – 1 Easington Colliery
The game swung to Esh from half time onwards, the first chance fell to left back Sean Johnson marauding forward from his defensive position he meets a lovely ball through to him on the left corner of the box. Kyle Donaldson in the Easington goal charges out to narrow the angle, leaving Johnson to attempt to go up an over him. Unfortunately for Johnson he can’t get enough elevation in the attempt and it is saved by Donaldson.
Saturdays Hat-trick hero Daniel Kent started to come into his own, bullying the Easington defenders he cuts back onto his favoured right foot from 20 yards out he hits a viscous effort that Donaldson can only parry. The quickest to react its Kent who picks up his own pieces on the corner of the 6 yard box, managing to force the corner.
Chances come and go for Esh. An effort from Jonathan Swift forcing a decent save from Donaldson, followed by a superb driving run from Dan Mann down the right wing and a low cross that substitute Connor Halpin could only find the finest of touches on with the goal gaping, the ball just slightly too far in front of him.
With the first half miss being close to miss of the season, Esh’s Dan Mann missed a similarly guilt edge opportunity. Max Stoker opening up the play and finding Sean Johnson on the left wing, Johnson looks up and attempts to put a cross in. The right back manages to get a boot on it, with the ball looking all of a sudden really dangerous the entire Easington back line stop to watch it loop into the goal. Somehow however the ball hits the base of the post and comes out to Mann on the edge of the six yard box, his composure letting him down as he blasts a ball up and over the netting behind the goal and into the forest!
With the game entering the last 15 minutes Esh having all of the ball and opportunities but struggling to find an opening. What looked at the time to be a guilt edged chance well saved by Donaldson fell to Kent after more good work from Halpin to flick the ball on. Kent driving into the right hand side of the box hits a low effort that nearly sneaks under Donaldson but the keeper gets enough on it and does enough to keep his team ahead.
81′ Goal – Esh Winning 1 (Kent) – 1 Easington Colliery
Within 60 seconds of the earlier miss Callum Boakes sends a ball forward through to Daniel Kent, with the defender looking the favourite to cut the ball out he air kicks the ball and sends Kent clear through. Donaldson charging forward this time Kent opts for power and blasts the ball giving Donaldson no chance at all this time for a deserved equaliser for the Stags.
With Esh looking more and more dominant but no chances created the possibility of being caught on the break all of a sudden emerged, the only thing Easington could do with the opportunity was find the commanding back line of Johnson, Summerson, Soulsby & Wilkinson in superb form to see off any attack.
90+2′ Goal – Esh Winning 2 (Swift) – 1 Easington Colliery
A decisive goal looking unlikely Esh managed to force the throw in. Max Stoker taking it is met at the near post by a lovely flick on by Connor Halpin. The ball hitting an Easington defender before sitting up to Jonathan Swift 4 yards out, he smashes the ball right footed into the waiting net to send the home dugout into raptures and claiming a hard fought victory for an Esh side not giving up.
FT: Esh Winning 2 – 1 Easington Colliery
A victory clinched in the last minute is the best feeling in football, hard to take for Easington however who’s players and committee where magnanimous in defeat and a credit to the Northern League. The three points takes up to 46, some 18 points better off than last season with 3 games left to go, a solid season that we look to finish off in the next 3 games.
Final word, for the second game in a row credit must go to the officials, Paul Burt letting the game flow and managing it well. No silly bookings despite being assessed which is a joy to see. Both Paul and Dan from Saturday are both in their first season refereeing at this level (I believe) and look to be a real asset to the league.
EWFC XI: Fish, Mordue (y), Johnson, Stoker (c), Summerson, Soulsby, Mann (Wilkinson 68′), Wigley (Halpin 56′), Kent (g), Swift (g)
Unused subs: Robinson, Stewart, Forster
Easington Colliery: Donaldson, Barrow, Goundry, Metcalf, Ball, M. Cooke, Green, Wood (c), Adamson (g), Vincent, Talbot
Subs: L. Cooke, Smith
Referee: P. Burt
Assistants: V. Davison, S. Parnaby
All views are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the club.