'Scholars' off to dramatic winning start
Last minute winner
The 'Scholars' return to the Bostik League saw a tight fought game decided in our favour by the latest of winners to snatch a well earned victory.
Five players made their debuts for the club, and early signs of the difference in styles between the Southern League and the Bostik League were apparent as opponents Witham Town chose a direct approach to test the visitors defense early on.
Very few goalmouth activities occurred in a first half that saw contrasting styles cancelling each other out with neither goalkeeper really tested.
For the 'Scholars' new left back Andy Lomas - one of three summer signings from Harrow Borough - influenced the best of the visitors attacking down the left but even after an impressive run his last attempt to get a shot on goal was cleared for a corner.
Half time arrived with the scores level. The second half opened brightly with several end to end moves but it was the home side who took the lead in the 49th minute. As the ball dropped to Billy Adcock just outside our penalty area there looked little danger but an apparent foul went unpunished and as the ball got played forward into the 'Scholars' penalty area the defensive pairing of Steve Browne and Will Wambeek for once hesitated and Usman Adeniji slotted home for the home team.
This woke the visitors up and a series of attacks saw more opportunities created. As the ball got cleared for a corner another debutant Billy Lobjoit took the kick and his near post ball found the head of Will Wambeek and as players and supporters celebrated the ball agonisingly hit the underside of the angle of crossbar and post and was scrambled clear.
The visitors stepped up their game as another new signing midfielder George Nicholas found himself at the centre of most attacking encounters and Evandro Delgado on his return to the club will be disappointed he failed to test the keeper after being played into a good position just outside the penalty area.
But the equaliser arrived in the 62nd minute, Another set piece from Billy Lobjoit this time a free kick from the right was intelligently dropped short towards the near post and Eoin Casey’s run saw him meet the ball on the half-volley and rifled it powerfully into the roof of the Witham net.
This spurred the 'Scholars' on but always had to be at their best to quell any threat that the quick counter attacks that the Home team threatened. Femi Ogunsola joined the action and nearly scored with his first touch of the ball. Andy Lomas made another surge down the left and his delightful cross dropped invitingly for the youngster but he couldn’t sort his feet out and saw the ball fly off his chest and just wide of the goal much to the home keeper relief. But Femi’s pace began to trouble the tiring defenders and as he broke down the left cut back and laid the ball into the path of George Nicholas who saw his shot well saved.
The home team will feel they might have done better when a quick counter found the centre forward on the edge of the penalty area but his shot flew over the crossbar not testing 'Scholars' keeper Berkley Laurencin.
As the game entered the fourth minute of injury time the visitors gained a throw in on the right near the corner flag. Will Wambeek’s long(ish) throw was flicked on by Sean Grace and as the ball fell to Femi Ogunsolahe was fouled in the penalty area, but still managed to lay the ball back to George Nicholas who’s goal bound effort deflected the opposite way off Sean Grace and into the back of an empty visitors net for a dramatic winner.
MoM: Will Wambeek
Team: Berkley Laurencin, Billy Baird (Sub Sean Grace 63 mins), Andy Lomas, Lee O’Leary ©, Steve Browne, Will Wambeek, Billy Lobjoit, Billy Adcock, Eion Casey, George Nicholas, Evandro Delgardo (sub Femi Ogunsola 75mins)
Subs Unused: Tommy Boxer, Michael Murray, David Sota