ESSEX & SUFFOLK BORDER FOOTBALL LEAGUE
HARWICH & PARKESTON FC: 3 GAS RECREATION FC: 4
Date: Tuesday 29th August 2017. Venue: The Royal Oak, Harwich
Another evening game quickly followed after a Saturday game this time it is Gas Recreation visiting Harwich and Parkeston for a Premier Division match at the Royal Oak where the pitch looked in excellent condition with rain forecast but probably as unreliable as the form of teams at this early stage of the season. The new look home team were led out for the “Respect” handshake by their youth team wearing their brand new football kit, nice to see them stay and watch the early part of the game.
The match officials tonight were Richard Baker who was assisted by Connor Hodgkins and M/s Gemma Gardiner and I must say the new, agreed, change of colours for match officials looks very smart but will no doubt cause a few raised eyebrows, however it is what referees have elected to wear as an alternate to black and as a colour that no team would wear.
Right, the lights are on, who has got a camera or who had a camera as within twelve minutes of frantic action we witnessed five goals! Harwich kicked-off and took the lead on two minutes, Hughes played the ball into Geen who swept it out to SAM THOMPSON who took on and rounded Dadds before sliding the ball past keeper Reid, who had signed on for Gas before kick-off. A minute later and Harwich scored again, MATTHEW GEEN picked up the ball mid-half and drifted past both West and Dadds before beating Reid in a similar fashion, and like my fellow scribe we wondered who had written the script for this match! Straight from the kick-off Gas got a reprieve, Gregory linked up with Goodyear who put the ball inside to Dillon who suddenly went to ground, still not sure who committed the foul, local sources said it was not a penalty but from my seat in the stand there were too many bodies in the way but a penalty kick was awarded with ELDON CRAIG despatching the penalty with ease. And the goals kept coming, as on seven minutes when a long throw-in by Smith, for Harwich, was fumbled by keeper Reid, under pressure from Geen, the ball dropped invitingly to NEVILLE BARRETT who stooped to head home from six yards out.
With play settling down both teams continued to attack Barrett fouled Craig, an interesting dual this one, and from the free-kick Richardson for Harwich cleared up-field to Geen who held off West before trying a long range chip which just cleared the cross-bar. On twelve minutes Gas reduced the deficit, Gregory and Girling worked the ball forward to Goodyear who momentarily lost possession but ASTEN FIRKENS reacted quickest to sweep the ball home past a static keeper, who in fairness probably did not see the ball, so well was it struck. Dillon dived into a heavy challenge on the half-way line, with Edwards, who limped gingerly away with no foul being given and as play switched Edwards was fouled by Dillon with Edwards being spoken too for comments about the earlier non-infringement! Firkens was injured in a fifty-fifty challenge with Lamb to receive treatment. On twenty-five minutes Gas, keeper Reid denied Geen with a fine save after Geen had held off West but delayed his eventual shot. The Edwards, Dillon dual continued with Edwards diving into a rash challenge just outside the penalty area and receive a just caution however JOSH DILLON powered the direct free-kick past the home keeper who to me had incorrectly set his defensive wall up as he was comfortably beaten on his side of the defence.
Now back in the game Gas pushed on, Firkens played in Craig who was caught off-side, Thompson struck a shot that Dadds cleared with his keeper well beaten, this from a fine pass from Geen who was relishing this game. Barrett received a caution, rather unlucky I thought, as Gregory seemed to run across the midfielder raised boot after he had cleared the ball and it was then that we had a short sharp shower. Edwards put in another telling challenge on Dillon at the expense of a corner but as the kick came over Girling was correctly adjudged to have fouled Thompson inside the six yard box. West had to defend against Geen with seven minutes to half-time and with only five remaining until half-time Johnson chased a forward ball only to be seemingly clattered just inside the penalty area by keeper Reid, the whistle blew, I thought, penalty but the referee awarded a free-kick against Thompson for his challenge on the keeper and Thompson subsequently needed lengthy treatment and was eventually stretchered off the field of play to be replaced by Akinola. West fouled Geen in a central position just on the “D” of the penalty area, Smith drove his free-kick high and wide and in a final first half flourish Goodyear chased down an under-hit back-pass with home keeper Turner forced to hastily clear aided by a deflection off Goodyear.
HALF-TIME: 3 – 3
Gas restarted this finely poised match and immediately attacked the road end with Lamb clearing as Firkens threatened but Harwich just as in the first half worked the ball forward through Geen and Hughes to Barrett who strode past Craig but in delaying his shot the Gas defence did their job conceding a corner. Smith took the corner, long to Geen at the far post and from his header back into the six-yard box Gas cleared up-field with Thompson receiving an injury in the goalmouth scramble. Gas replaced West with Murray on fifty minutes but Harwich were guilty of some poor defending to gift Gas the lead, Firkens worked his way behind the Harwich defence but his cross fell behind both Goodyear and Dillon but with keeper Turner flat-footed it allowed BEN GIRLING to steal in at the far post to scramble the ball home. Goodyear was caught off-side in the next attack from Gas and on fifty-five minutes, with the game already stopped, the referee issued a second yellow card, this time for dissent, to Edwards, who, having already been cautioned, was sent from the field of play.
A long ball from Turner fell to Akinola who controlled the ball in his path and ran on at speed but shooting wide of the left hand post with the Gas defence trailing behind and from the resultant goal-kick keeper Reid was cautioned for time-wasting. The pace of Akinola certainly livened up the home attacking threat but Harwich, probably precautionary, replaced Barrett with Neale who slotted into defence to numerically replace Edwards who had actually played well up to his departure. A long ball forward from Murray found Dillon running through but keeper Turner was quickly out at the feet of the forward to deny a goal-scoring opportunity. On sixty-five minutes Gas replaced Dadds with Hooper and five minutes later Minter was replaced by Bulmer and the game became a bit scrappy with some heavy challenges being put in by both teams. Murray forced a corner off Lamb, who had been outstanding for the home team with Turner catching the cross just under his cross-bar.
With just over ten minutes remaining substitute Akinola was himself replaced by Eldridge, but Dillon kept up the pressure on the home defence with a typical marauding run, beating two defenders before firing over the cross-bar with only the keeper to beat. Two minutes were left when Hooper fouled Thompson on the corner of the penalty area, Geen took the free-kick but did not trouble the keeper but he kept chasing forward to reach a long ball from Townend to force a throw-in, then a corner taken by Smith with Murray heading out for another corner which this time was cleared by Firkens and the game was completed as the ball passed the half-way line.
FULL TIME: 3 – 4.
This entertaining game was a close affair, both teams battled throughout, Harwich will rue the fact they were two goals clear on two occasions but allowed the Gas to get back into contention before half time. The second half was also evenly contested, a scrappy goal eventually gave the Gas a winning edge but perhaps the dismissal of Edwards was a turning point just afterwards.
Now, for my Man-of-the-Match selection, for Gas it was more of a typical team effort with four players sharing the goals whereas Harwich had three different goal-scorers but in defence skipper, Lamb, led by example with a whole-hearted defensive display.
HARWICH & PARKESTON FC: Colours: Black & White Shirts, Black Shorts and Black Socks.
Dan Turner., Rhys Townend., Bradley Smith., Jake Richardson., Ollie Lamb (C)., Curtis Edwards., Harry Johnson., Neville Barrett., Finlay Hughes., Matthew Geen., Sam Thompson.
Manager: Glen Eldridge.
Used Substitutes: Jake Neale., Alex Akinola., Billy Eldridge
GAS RECREATION FC: Colours: Blue Shirts, Blue Shorts and Blue Socks.
Aaron Reid., Liam Dadds., Luke Taylor (C)., Jack Gregory., Ben Girling., Dean West., Eldon Craig., Josh Dillon., Shane Goodyear., Craig Minter., Asten Firkens.
Manager: Simon Hayward
Used Substitutes: John Bulmer., Jack Murray., Scott Hooper
Referee: Richard Baker (Colchester).
Assistant Referee’s: Connor Hodgkins (Colchester).
and M/s Gemma Gardiner (Holland-on-Sea).
Man of the Match: Oliver LAMB (HARWICH & PARKESTON FC)
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