Easton 4 Hoveton Wherrymen 3
First Team come from behind twice to dent Hoveton's title aspirations.
Firstly, apologies for the lack of recent reports (blame moving house and BT.)
Entering the last week of the season we welcomed Hoveton Wherrymen to the college today. Hoveton had only lost one league game since we beat them 3-1 away all the way back on September 3rd which in itself is a remarkable achievement and with Aggy, Raffa, Ian and Luca all missing from the match day squad we were only able to name 11 recognised first team players. Hoveton themselves are still very much in the title picture so we knew a tough day awaited us and given the absentees we name Mitch, Matty and Archie who have been standouts for the reserves this season on the bench.
The visitors got us underway on a chilly day on the 3G and both sides had opportunities in the opening 10 minutes with Hoveton testing Taylor's handling with an early shot before some neat play saw an Easton effort flash narrowly wide. Hoveton were growing into the game in the early stages and deservedly took the lead on 20 minutes when a cross from the left found a visiting player who teed up his teammate and he found the bottom corner. The away side then rattled the crossbar from close range with the ball bouncing down onto the line and away saving us from a two goal deficit.
This finally sparked us into life and we came into the game straight from kick off with a spell of pressure but we couldn't find a way to goal until some quick passing found Hayden on the right and his perfect ball into George's path was rolled past Fisk in the Hoveton goal to make it 1-1. We then had our best spell of the first half but parity didn't last long as an innocuous looking free kick from deep evaded everyone and despite Taylor touching the ball onto the post saw the rebound bundled in to make it 1-2 10 minutes before half time.
Hoveton then upped the tempo for the last 10 minutes of the first half but couldn't extend their lead thanks to a couple of important saves from Taylor and some brave last ditch defending.
We knew the next goal was going to be crucial and we were given the chance to get back on level terms less than 2 minutes into the second half when neat play between George and Hayden saw the latter clipped in the area and the ref pointed to the spot. George made no mistake from 12 yards as he buried the ball high into the top corner giving the keeper no chance and it was game on.
With a breeze now in their faces Hoveton's direct style was a little less successful as time ticked on and with an hour on the clock we hit the front for the first time. A back pass was left short boy the Wherrymen right back Zelos and Hayden seized on it before firing under the onrushing keeper to make it 3-2 and turn the game on it's head.
We now had our tails up and a couple of half chances came and went as George and Rob both struck straight at the keeper and we had the ball in the net again when Lewi headed down for George to tap in but the linesman adjudged the ball to have already gone out of play. With their title hope fading Hoveton were throwing men forwards and after forcing a couple of corners a ball broke loose to a visiting player who struck a fierce shot against the post and despite Alex's best effort on the line the ball was forced home to make it 3-3 with 20 minutes or so to play.
Hoveton now knew they needed a goal and started to commit more and more men forward in search of it. Taylor had to be alert to make a stunning one handed save from a shot from 20 yards but the first clear opportunity to win the game fell our way as Matty Fell was set free by George but the keeper was off his line quickly to stop the danger and then Hayden found himself 1v1 but again Fisk saved well.
Easton hearts were then in mouths as a cross struck Matty's hand on the byline in the area but the man in the middle had seen the ball go out of play before the delivery saving the defenders blushes. With time ticking down we forced a couple of late corners and after a good knockdown the ball found Captain Norm who steadied himself with a touch before arrowing a strike into the bottom corner to send the home team and sidelines into rapture and break Hoveton hearts in the third minute of added time. There was still a minute or so to contend with but we could have actually extended our lead just before full time as a poor clearance found Rob in the centre circle with an empty goal to aim at but his effort sailed wide.
To a man everybody played their part today and fully deserved the three points at the end. Hoveton will likely still be playing senior football next season but it shows we're not far off. 2 games to go before a well earned break starting at Poringland on Wednesday night.