Sporting Khalsa 2-0 Shepshed Dynamo
Dynamo penalised for profligacy
By Lucas Monk
Shepshed Dynamo fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to promotion rivals Sporting Khalsa on Tuesday evening.
Sean Williams and Liam Armstrong scored the decisive goals in the second half.
The defeat leaves Shepshed in sixth place in the Midland Football League table. Khalsa have risen to third and are a mere point behind Walsall Wood, who occupy second place.
Dynamo boss Damion Beckford-Quailey made three changes to the starting lineup that drew against Coventry United last time out.
Karl Whymark, Liam Hurst and Josh Thomas replaced Celson Patrocinio, Dexter Morris-Clarke and Pearson Mwanyongo.
The hosts made the more enterprising start to the match.
Their star striker, Dan Westwood, fired a shot wide on two minutes. Minutes later, Williams cut infield and surged toward goal before he also lashed the ball off-target.
Shepshed responded. Hurst seized upon a through ball after making a good run from inside the left channel. Khalsa 'keeper Sam Arnold did well to force him wide before the home side cleared the danger.
Shortly thereafter, Hurst drew an attentive save from Arnold with a low, rasping strike. This followed a spell of good build-up from Dynamo.
The visitors then registered another effort on goal. From a throw-in on the left, midway inside the Sporting half, Josh Thomas found Chris Acott. He drove toward goal in impressive fashion. He chanced his arm from range, but Arnold did well to parry the effort clear.
It was soon Khalsa's turn to do the attacking again. Williams found Josh Thomas with an excellent cross-field pass. He burst into the box and pulled the trigger. Brandon Ganley beat the shot away. Carlo Franco then sent a cross-cum-shot wide.
Sporting then came close to opening the scoring - and in spectacular fashion.
As Khalsa built from the back, Leon Miles passed laterally to Tesfa Robinson. He spied a good ball forward to Westwood, who trapped it well. Sporting's top marksman then spun away from his marker and sent a screaming shot whistling past the post.
Khalsa would have their best opportunity to break the deadlock shortly before the break.
Acott committed a clumsy challenge on Thomas inside the area, and the referee awarded a spot-kick to the hosts.
Alex Woodhouse assumed the responsibility, but Ganley dived low to his right to push the penalty away.
Shepshed almost went in with the advantage themselves when Matt Melbourne drew another good stop from Arnold. Hurst had played him in on goal.
After the break, the early exchanges of the second half were tepid. It was not until the hour mark that the next chance came.
Melbourne dropped deep to receive the ball in midfield. He then played an excellent through-ball into the onrushing Moore, who blazed over from a narrow angle.
This sparked the second half into life. Acott was next to attempt to open the scoring. He let fly from outside the box. An excellent save from Arnold kept out his sumptuous strike.
Searching for that elusive first goal, Shepshed continued to probe. Hurst played through Melbourne, who bore down on goal. The striker, under pressure, could only drag his shot wide of the mark.
Dynamo were soon to rue this raft of missed chances. Khalsa soon had a second penalty of the match. Thomas felled Franco in the box, leaving the referee with no choice but to award the spot-kick.
Williams stepped up, sent Ganley the wrong way and rolled the ball into the net with aplomb.
Shepshed had just over 15 minutes to respond. Time was not their friend; it was their most inimical enemy. With this in mind, Beckford-Quailey introduced Mwanyongo from the bench.
The substitute almost made an instant impact. Shortly after coming on, he embarked on one of the venturesome, darting runs that are so beloved of him. He skipped away from two defenders and cut the ball back. Jake Betts could only fire wide of the post.
As Dynamo committed more men forward, they were susceptible to counter-attacks. Khalsa capitalised upon this frailty with five minutes of normal time remaining.
The visitors failed to clear their lines. The ball fell to Armstrong on the edge of the box. He unleashed a venomous shot that kissed the crossbar and thundered into the net. It was a great strike. It sparked exuberant celebrations. The Sporting coaching staff ran down the touchline.
That moment encapsulated the importance of the match, but it could have had a starkly different conclusion.
Dynamo will rue missed chances and slipshod defending at critical moments. Both cost them dear against a talented Khalsa team who are firm contenders for promotion. They can take heart from their overall play in this match. They must, though, be far more ruthless when mid-table Lye Town visit The Dovecote on Saturday.
Dynamo: Ganley, Wakeling, Pheasant, Betts, Acott, Moore (Mwanyongo 75’), Whymark (Patrocinio 82’), Prenderville, Hurst, Thomas (Roome 83’), Melbourne.
Unused substitute: Morris-Clarke, Day.
Khalsa: Arnold, Franco, Miles, Robinson, Woodhouse, Perry, Meese, Armstrong, Westwood (Holdercraft 82’), Thomas (Kinch 79’), Williams.
Unused substitutes: Beckley, Boothe, Turton.