Southminster Reserves strong home form continued with a fantastic win against fellow League title contenders Castle, and being disappointingly knocked off of top spot at Christmas, they regained 1st place with this 2-1 victory over Castle United Reserves.
With manager Sean Wilkinson having arguably the strongest squad available to him all season, minster were able to field a very strong side, with David Main
, Chris Scott and Kris Sayers
all coming in from the first team squad.
Many thought that this was always going to be a very even contest and the game didn’t prove otherwise.
It was highlighted before the game that a strong start was essential after a very sluggish one in the home draw against Leigh prior to the Christmas break. Both sides started very strongly.
It was 50:50 all over the park with both sides battling hard to take the initiative.
It was on 24 minutes when Castle United created their best chance when they got in down the Saints left and as the ball was squared at pace, the Castle striker was unmarked at the far post. As Tucker advanced he could only blaze his shot wide of the upright. This was a big let off for Minster.
Although Southminster were limited to only a few chances in the first half, Minster always looked a threat from set plays. Rene Bearman
having the best opportunity of the half heading over the bar from a Luke Wilkins
corner on 30 minutes.
Castle played some very good football, and always looked a threat going forward with their pace. They were however finding Tim Richards in good form, as well as a very strong performance from the centre back pairing of Wilkins and Bearman.
On 34 minutes Castle again broke through but a fantastic last ditch tackle from Luke Wilkins
prevented a one on one and thwarted the attack.
But the Saints were holding their own and playing some great football also, moving the ball quick and breaking at pace with the midfield pairing of Chris Scott & Danny Noble playing well, with Leo King
and Nathan Ruggles offering the pace down both wings.
Neither side were able to break the deadlock prior to the break thus, the games evenly contested first half remained goal-less.
Half time: Southminster 0 – 0 Castle United
The second half continued much as the first did. Not many chances falling for either side.
As the second half wore on, Castle did gain some dominance in midfield and it looked as though Minster were tiring.
On 55 minutes Castle took the lead. Nick Wilson broke down Castle’s left and as he crossed the ball from out wide, the looping cross deceived everybody including Tucker in the Minster goal, and nestled in the top corner.
Intentional or not, it had given Castle the lead.
Minster were still very focused on playing their own game and to their credit did not lose their heads in going a goal down.
After numerous corners Minster got their equaliser from another set play. Dom Whittaker
popped up in the box and finished with a powerful header into the corner to level the game.
Just after the hour mark Mike Everett was introduced to add fresh legs into the defence as well as Kris Sayers
coming on the strengthen the midfield.
On 68 minutes Gareth Jones brilliantly dispossessed the Castle left back and broke into the penalty area. His driven cross across the six yard box, was hammered in by Nathan Ruggles to put Minster into the lead.
The Saints had livened up after their goals and we looking confident enough to see the game out. Birthday boy Charlie Long was also introduced on 78 minutes to strengthen things, and apart from a few half chances and a few corners the Minster defence held strong without problem frustrating the Castle players.
On 88 minutes it was Ruggles again whose mazy run down the left enabled him to break through and round the Castle keeper. He was then brought down by the keeper’s outstretched leg, and to the astonishment of all in attendance, including the Castle personnel and goalkeeper, no penalty was given, and the referee awarded the goal kick.
It made no difference as the Saints held on to a fantastic result, which epitomised the team performance shown from every single one of the Minster players.
The unbeaten home form in the league continues into 2012 as the Reserves reclaimed first place in EOFL Reserve Division 2.
Next week another tough test will come in the form of an away fixture at Springfield in the League, who currently sit 3rd.
GK Tim Richards
LB David Main
CB Luke Wilkins
CB Rene Bearman
RB Tony Hudson
(Mike Everett 65’)
RM Leo King
(Charlie Long 78’)
CM Danny Noble
CM Chris Scott (Kris Sayers
LM Nathan Ruggles
CF Dom Whittaker
CF Gareth Jones
MOM:- Luke Wilkins
– Solid in Defence.