Easton 3 Stalham Town 1
Back to winning ways for the First Team as they retake top spot.
After last weeks late defeat away at Bungay there were again changes to the squad for the day. Baz returned to the starting XI after serving his one match ban and Swatty took his place his place up front after missing last week. We were however still without Lewi (suspension), Matty and Ian (holiday), Raffa and Wheeler (injury) so 12 fit players were ready and raring.
Stalham came into the game top of the league after a strong start to the season following their relegation from the Premier Division last year with their only defeat coming against title favourites Mundford on the opening weekend of the season.
It was a rather grim day at the college with the autumnal conditions really starting to set in so the decision was made to use the breeze in the first half and try and establish ourselves in the game. A cagey first 15 minutes saw both sides trying to work each other out with no clear cut openings to speak of and neither keeper having to make a save however Baz was the busier of the two as he collected a couple of high free kicks from deep.
With 20 minutes gone the first clear chance of the day brought the first goal and it was Easton who took the lead. A pin point ball from Danny found Matty who's run from deep wasn't tracked and he unselfishly squared for Swatty to open his account for the club and make it 1-0. The joy was to be short-lived though as straight from kick off a clipped ball forward could only be flicked on by Hayden and after cutting inside Aggy the Stalham front man's deflected shot dipped over Baz into the net just over a minute later.
The game was a hundred miles an hour at this point with both teams intent on breaking quickly in possession. We forced several corners in a row and the Stalham goal was leading a charmed life with efforts cleared off the line and the keeper making a couple of good stops. With half an hour on the clock we were back in front. Hayden fed Rob out on the right and his ball through to George found the Easton man in on goal and just like last week he lifted the ball over a stranded keeper to make it 2-1.
Moments later we had the ball in the net again as Swatty got away down the left before squaring to George who then fed Danny and after getting the ball back only a superb save denied George before Swatty slammed home but the linesman's flag cut the celebrations short.
The second half was a different affair with us having the lions share of the ball and Stalham trying to break when possible. The opening 15 minutes of the second half though was played almost exclusively in midfield with both sides fighting for a grip in the game. Stalham forced a couple of corners and despite good deliveries the Easton back line held firm.
The game was starting top open up as the visitors went in search of an equaliser and we were starting to have some chances of our own. Swatty first cut inside before striking his effort straight at the keeper before Matty did the same. Jahi saw an effort from distance flash wide before a stunning stop from the away keeper denied Danny.
It was starting to feel like we would be made to pay for missed chances for the second week in a row as Stalham were still a threat on the break but their best opportunity was spurned when a free kick from 20 yards troubled the corner flag more than Baz in the Easton goal.
With time running out Beanie finally put the game to bed when he collected a pass from Sags before steadying himself 20 yards from goal and unleashing a trade mark, dipping left footed effort that flashed high past the Stalham keeper. Outstanding from a player that has it all!