The Won that got away
Crusader's hopes of Won win head South after late leveller
Buoyed by last week's cup route, Crusader's headed into their local derby against South Wonston confident of kick starting their league campaign. However, once again they were forced to head into a match without a recognised keeper, with utility man Guy Bewick donning the gloves for the second time this season.
The game started very openly, with the visitors finding joy out wide whilst Crusader's passing game was often finding Jack Barlow in space behind the two strikers. Despite their experience, a few long clearances that utilised the strong wind and the visitor's pacey forward line began to cause Crusader's problems o the counter attack and from one of these Bewick did well to scramble across his six yards box and block a tap in when faced with a two on one.
Crusaders changed formation midway through the half and began to exert more control on the game, with skipper Jon Vowles and the returning Wayne Barlow initiating a flurry of passing moves that threatened to bring the opening goal. This duly arrived shortly after the half hour when Gav Flye found space on the edge of the box and dispatched a crisp finish into the bottom corner.
The remainder of the half was played out in less eventful style, with the formation change seeing Paul Findlay, Andy Chainey and Lee Hudson exerting greater control over the wide spaces and channelling the visitor's attacks more centrally where Mark Vallance and Loz Wilmot along with the previously mentioned Vowles and Barlow were able to counter them reasonably comfortably.
Despite the more solid end to the first, the start of the second half saw the game open up once again. With the wind now holding up the visitor's through balls they managed to exploit the gap between keeper and defence on a number of occasions. Having squandered a number of half chances, they found the goal they were after on the hour when a shot from just inside the box beat Bewick at his near post. Despite getting a hand to it, the ball trickled into the back of the net.
Worryingly, Crusaders began to look somewhat leggy. To address this, James Boshier came on and Paul Findlay donned the gloves to enable Bewick out onto the pitch. This saw an immediate impact when Lee Hudson got up well to head clear a dangerous corner. The ball fell to Bewick on the edge of the box and his ball up to halfway deceived the defender, allowing a free run on goal for Jack Barlow. Jack held his nerve to slot past the keeper and regain the lead for Crusaders.
This should have been enough for the victory but, despite the changes, Crusaders work rate continued to decline and instead of dealing with a late attack from South Wonston, they twice looked for a non-existent offside, enabling another two on one with the keeper. This time the visiting striker was left with an unexposed tap in for the leveller.
The net two weeks see Crusaders face two tough away trips to high flying Kings Somborne and Sutton Scotney and they'll have to perform for the full 90 mins to some away with positive results.