A crowd of 87 on a welcoming early spring Saturday saw a game dominated by the ‘Scholars’ but the points shared.
There was a lack of quality to the early play but the visitor’s had started brightly looking the more threatening and were soon in control of the game.
Omar Vassell and Michael Murray combined to play in Ryan Forde whose effort was deflected away. Then Murray, Forde and Eoin Casey combined to play in Garry Jones whose shot was cleared off for a corner. The corner resulted in a firm header from Casey going over the crossbar.
A Joe Bennett corner was again headed over by Casey then Chris Doyle played in Ashley Nathaniel-George who passed to Murray but his shot was blocked.
A rare home sortie into the visitors half saw keeper Berkley Laurencin make a comfortable save from a header.
Nathaniel-George cut into the box – beating two defenders – and appeared to be brought down and needed the physio on for the resultant injury. Then a Bennett cross was well met by Eoin Casey whose firm header struck the left hand post bouncing along the line and the keeper somehow scrambled the ball away.
Amazingly half time arrived goal less – much to the frustration of the visiting supporters.
The second half continued in the same vain. Nathaniel-George won a corner that saw a firm strike from Will Wambeek well saved.
Finally on 60 min the deadlock was broken. Good play by Doyle fed the ball to Bennett on the right whose low cross was met on the edge of the box by Ryan Forde to strike firmly, with a slight deflection, past the diving keeper.
Then Vassell and Doyle combined to find Bennett but his sot was cleared. Another Forde effort from outside the box was well saved. Then Nathaniel-George went down the left flank and squared for Jones to let fly from the edge of the box but just over the bar.
On 75 mins the scores were level when the visitors were caught on the break with a ball down the left that was centred in for an unmarked Kim Forsythe to head home - against the run of play - yes - their only clear cut chance of the game - yes - but a soft goal to concede.
Nathaniel-George had a mazy run down the left – beating three defenders – putting the ball through the six yard box but no one could get to it.
Then Doyle played the ball to Murray who headed it into the path of Bennett who ran through but opted to try to round the keeper but the keeper recovered to smother the ball.
‘The Scholars’ drop to 8th and are now seven points off the play off places with eight league games remaining.
Team: Berkley Laurencin, Omar Vassell, Garry Jones, Carl McCluskey, Will Wambeek, Ryan Forde, Joe Bennett, Chris Doyle, Michael Murray), Eoin Casey, Ashley Nathaniel-George (Max Holland 82 mins).
Sub unused: Danny Hart, Rob Hastings, Shane Gilsenan.
Man of the Match: Chris Doyle – vital cog in the midfield.
Updated 17:35 - 6 Mar 2017 by Jeff Barnes