Chris Pile's master call leaves West Clewes buzzing at the Hop
It was an early start at West Clewes for the Green Army on Saturday as Welton entertained Keynsham Town with a 10.45am kick off in the first match of the Toolstation Western League Groundhop Saturday fixtures.
Despite the early start and drizzle West Clewes was buzzing with a bumper crowd of 247 spectators and within 4 minutes of the kick off it was the visitors who had taken the lead. A great solo run by Matt Curnock saw him tear through the Welton defence, race on goal and fire in a quality shot that gave Welton keeper Tom Drewitt no chance. This early setback galvanised Welton into action and a glancing header from Lewis Coleman saw Keynsham keeper Matt Dunk palm away the ball at full stretch. A diagonal ball out of defence from Welton captain Tom Smith saw the fall to Francois Allen and his effort was cleared for a corner. Chris Pile delivered a pin point cross that was met at the far post by Smith who bundled the ball into the Keynsham net to equalise for Welton. Welton piled on the pressure and another corner from the left fell to Allen in the mix and in the scramble that followed the ball was cleared off the Keynsham goal line. On the stroke of halftime Welton took the lead when a long range effort from Pile skimmed over the wet surface into the area and Shakiel Green helped it on its way into the Keynsham net. Allen picked up a knock and was replaced by Mallick Jammeh.
The visitors went all out for the equaliser early in the second half and Drewitt saved well to deny Kyle Box. The Welton defence was holding firm despite the pressure. At the other end Welton won a corner with a rare attack and the ball fell to Joe Battrick and his first time effort was headed off the goal line with the keeper beaten. Keynsham continued to press and Craig Wilson broke free, one on one with Drewitt who saved brilliantly to deny the visitors the equaliser. Welton were weathering the storm and on a charge up the pitch were awarded another corner, Piles delivery fell to Smith and his powerful header had goal written all over it until Dunk produced an outstanding save. As the minutes ticked by the pressure was mounting on Welton and a thunderbolt of a strike from Keynsham substitute Ade Harvey rocked the Welton crossbar. Deep into stoppage time Welton settled the nerves of the Green Army when the lively Pile still found energy to race up the left on a solo run, roar into the area and fired in a low cracking shot past Dunk into the net to secure all three points for Welton.
This was a tremendous game with both sides contributing their part, we'll refereed and a credit to this level of football and the ground hoppers had a good start to their long day.