Shepshed Dynamo 2-0 South Normanton
Moore at the double as Dynamo’s run continues
By Lucas Monk
Shepshed Dynamo maintained their unbeaten run with a 2-0 win over South Normanton at The Dovecote. Sam Moore's superlative display was the catalyst for their success.
The visitors went into this midweek match bottom of the table. And yet they belied their lowly league status with an impressive showing.
But a clinical Dynamo took their opportunities when they arose. An excellent goal from Moore in either half settled the affair. The win takes his team up to sixth position in the Midland Football League table. They are now 13 games without defeat.
Damion Beckford-Quailey made one change to the side that defeated Highgate United at the weekend. Jake Betts returned to heart of defence in the injured Jordan Wakeling's absence.
The opening exchanges were tight and competitive and the visiting strugglers held their own.
And they would enjoy the first opening of the match when a shot from distance bobbled into the path of John Guy with 13 minutes played.
He burst through and fired toward goal, but Brandon Ganley's low save kept the two sides level.
The home side mounted a swift response. Moore received possession on the right and chanced his arm from range.
Normanton 'keeper Curtis Hall had to be attentive in tipping the effort over the bar.
Moore then saw another effort blocked on the edge of the area as Shepshed sought that crucial first goal.
Liam Hurst was next to try his luck some 15 minutes later when he latched onto a good through ball from midfield.
He struck a low effort toward the bottom corner only for Hall to deny him with another good save.
The away side then saw efforts from Benjie Robinson and Josh King saved - before Dynamo broke the deadlock.
On the counter, Moore passed to Hurst on the right.
Hurst returned the ball with an impudent flick back inside.
And Moore ran onto it and rifled a brilliant shot across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
That goal gave his team a slender advantage at the break. But not before Evan Garnett rattled the aluminium of the post with a fierce strike from range.
Shepshed almost enjoyed a perfect start to the second half.
Guy's foul on Hurst handed them a free-kick in a threatening position.
A frenetic scramble ensued, with Betts turning the ball into the net from a few yards out - only to see the goal ruled out for offside.
This was a ding-dong battle. The Shiners responded as Guy's volley drew a flying, parried save from Ganley. Moore then stung Hall's palms with a powerful strike from range.
With time beginning to run out, the visitors upped the ante. Garnett's deep free kick to the back post found Ollie Cox, who headed over. Garnett and King had further efforts off target.
Normanton kept plugging away. They did not relent. But this was to no avail. Shepshed substitutions and their own needless fouls prevented them from building any momentum as the clock ticked down
The game had gone flat. For a good few minutes it resembled a glass of pop one has left out for too long. It was still. No crackle of panache, no flicker of inspiration, nothing to excite. And then this period of calm gave way to a frenzied finish.
The last minute. Moore gains possession on the left. He cuts infield and soars past a defender with a burst of vigour. He beats one, two, three, goodness knows how many, defenders. He is inside the box. A last defender? Another nimble change of direction. A chance. A composed shot. A goal. His second. Artistry.
Erstwhile Dynamo defender Evan Cawley had now had his fill. Rage had built up inside him and come to boiling point. A little like the warm air in greenhouses. The urge to unleash it was clear and too great.
He launched himself into a crude, cathartic challenge on Zach Hill. Referee Ricky Brooks had no choice but to show him the red card. He then issued an inexplicable yellow to Hill, which one presumes was for his reaction to the abhorrent tackle.
The full-time whistle followed shortly thereafter. As was the case on Saturday, this will not go down in history as one of the team's finest triumphs. But they did enough to get the job done, the acclaim of the supporters and the points in the bag.
South Normanton played well. They belied their lowly league position. Dynamo's chances were few, but they took them with abundant aplomb. A sprinkling of skill and good game management were the difference.
Shepshed will now look to extend their fine unbeaten run even further on Saturday. They visit Loughborough University, who lie in 17th position. And with confidence high they will fancy their chances of making it 14 matches without defeat.
Dynamo: Ganley, Hill, Pheasant, Betts, Acott, Hurst (Doy 87’), Whymark, Prenderville, Thomas (Mwanyongo 81’), Moore, Patrocinio (Melbourne 60’).
Unused substitutes: Day, Phillips.
S. Normanton: Hall, Leigh, Nadine, Cox, Cawley, Garnett, Guy, Tyson, King, Fell (Crosby 70’), Robinson (Paul 56’).
Unused substitutes: Butcher, Strzyzewski, Mitchell.
Booked: Fell, Paul (S. Normanton). Whymark, Hill (Dynamo).
Red carded: Cawley (S. Normanton).