Murray’s effort just mint as 'Scholars' leave it late to beat Heybridge Swifts
Neil Metcalfe at the Pakex Stadium
Michael Murray hit a trademark free-kick deep into added time to snatch three valuable points for Potters Bar Town in a 3-2 win over 10-man Heybridge Swifts.
The two teams looked to be heading for a point each in the Bostik League North Division clash when the referee awarded the Scholars a set-piece to the right of the penalty area.
That was in the third of a minimum four added minutes and Murray did what he so often does by whipping the ball up and over the wall and into the far corner.
Before that Potters Bar had to come from a goal down on two occasions.
Matthew Price had got both for the Swifts, the second four minutes into added time at the end of the first half.
That added time was mainly due to a flashpoint in the corner which saw Heybridge centre-half Jack Cawley shown a straight red card.
But the Scholars, who hit the woodwork an incredible four times during the game, kept fighting back, first from Ben Ward-Cochrane and the second from Lee O’Leary before Murray wrapped things up.
The win lifts them up to fourth, ahead of Haringey Borough, but still behind Canvey Island who also won tonight, on goal difference.
The match had been in doubt for most of the day but such was the work put in by the small band of five supporters that come kick-off, bar a small sanded area in front of one penalty area, the pitch was in fine shape.
A kit clash seemed to cause most consternation with Swifts’ red shirts and white shirts deemed too close to Bar’s maroon and white by the referee. That forced Heybridge to wear yellow shirts borrowed from the hosts.
But neither side settled and it was really the first attack that brought the goal.
And it was a misplaced pass across the Bar half that caused the problems. Kreshic Krasniqi had the first chance, which was blocked, but when it ran loose Price curled it beyond Berkley Laurencin.
But Bar levelled when a cross from Sandro Costa was flicked on by Ward-Cochrane over the head of Jake Jessup.
The game then seemingly had its pivotal moment. It was difficult to see exactly what happened as the play went into the corner, shrouded from the view of the press box by the crowd.
But the furious reaction was enough for you to know that something had happened, and with the linesman right on the spot, the referee ordered Cawley off.
George Nicholas bounced a header off the top of the bar from an Andrew Lomas cross but then suddenly Heybridge were ahead deep into added time.
Bar failed to clear a corner and with the defence shouting for a handball, Price kept going and getting swept in the loose ball.
The second half saw Bar slowly crank up the pressure although their luck seemed to be out in the space of three incredible minutes.
First Murray flicked the ball up before turning and volleying it goalwards, Jessup having to tip it over the bar.
From the corner the ball was cleared but only as far as Chris Doyle who thundered a shot off the underside of the crossbar. It bounced down and out and although players and supporters called for a goal, there was no way the referee or linesman could have seen it.
And then a minute later O’Leary hit another one from distance which cannoned off the inside of the post.
But six minutes later O’Leary did find the net with a shot across the goalkeeper and into the corner.
They even hit the bar two minutes later after a James Budden header from the corner but from there the game seemed to be heading to stalemate, until Murray popped up with the winner.
Potters Bar: Laurencin, Doyle, Lomas, O’Leary (Casey 80), Brown (Buddon 46), Grace, Nicholas, Lawal, Murray, Ward-Cochrane, Costa (Baird 90+6)
Goals: Ward-Cochrane 32, O’Leary 64, Murray 90+3
Heybridge: Jessup, Ramon, Cooney, Griffiths, Baker, Cawley, Godbold, Abdulla, Price (Smith 85), Krasniqi, Ashford (Gardner 68)
Subs (not used): Siligato, Chatting, Sambridge
Goals: Price 20, 45+4
Red Card: Cawley 38
HT: Potters Bar Town 1 Heybridge Swifts 2
Referee: Michael Smith