Maghull 2 - 1 Ashville
Monday 15th April 2013
A glorious spring evening greeted the teams out onto the pitch. An immaculate minutes silence was held prior to the engagement (you only need the date, 15th April) and away we went with Mr Blue Sky in attendance, together with a decent crowd.
A fiesty start saw both sides come out of the blocks quickly. No clear cut openings, but did give the promise of a tasty encounter to come. And we where not disappointed.
The first half was edged by the hosts, with the better chances going their way. But always needing to be on their guard at the back. Ashville had problems and couldn't really cope with Maghulls two lads up front, Steve Williams and Chris Nation, who caused no end of trouble for the visitors defence.
Sometimes a tad sloppy in possession, was the only criticism of Maghull in the first half. A ruthless streak was needed instead of looking for the killer pass each time. Saying that, the half may be remembered for a brilliant first time Hollywood pass by John Eastoe and a terrible ruthless moment. On the stroke of half time, Maghull where awarded a penalty for handball. It looked a little innocuous, but not many complaints came from the Ashville players and it is always nice to be on the bonus end of a referees decision. Terry McDonald stepped up and his effort was a danger to passing satellites.
The resulting goal kick brought the half to an end. Half time and still goaless.
The second half began pretty much similar to the first. Maghull having the better of things, but Ashville (with an ever increasing wind behind them) being a nuisance on the break.
Rob Dutton, who had had a decent first half without getting much joy, picked the ball up midway inside the visitors half. He ran at the defence, drifting wide amid screams for him to lay it off. He knew better. Beating a couple of defenders before clipping a ball into the box for Chris Nation to put us one up. A fair reflection on the state of play.
An intense passage of play saw Maghull push for the killer second goal (well, if a two goal lead is a safe one in this league) but it didn't come. Maghull took their foot off the gas and Ashville found some impetus. It may have been a breather, who knows, but soon the score was level.
The big number 11 found himself in acres of space in the middle of our box, while our defence stood ball watching and diverted it past Mark Mawdsley. A shame he didn't give us a replay of his miss in the away cup tie earlier in the season.
Maghull reacted as needed. They upped the tempo, the passing became crisp and once again the two lads up front started causing mayhem in the Ashville defence, who played very flat.
Chances came and went and only some last gasp, panicking defending kept the scoreline level.
As the dark rain clouds came swooping across the pitch and the weather becoming increasingly gloomier, along with our agitation at the second goal not coming, we where not exactly dancing in the moonlight, there was no light at all. To get such a good game, especially with the now none existent light, was a credit to both sides.
John Eastoe, 10.1/2 stone dripping wet, made me a very happy man, when he threw himself into a cracking 50/50 tackle. Winning the ball well and the thud caused complaints from the locals to keep the noise down. A real football tackle, no quarter given. This seemed to rattle the visitors and give us the impetus for that final push for victory. Rob Dutton was having (in John Motsons words) an inspired time. Taking on defenders and making the Ashville defence worried at every opportunity. Rob, if you read this, you have the ability, now get the belief, you can do this more often.
Ten minutes from time came the winner. After beating the offside trap on numerous occasions, only for a scramble to keep the ball out, a lovely one two between Jack McDowell and Steve Williams saw Jack push to the byeline and hitting a pass into the six yard box. It was knocked home by a retreating defender, trying to stop Chris Nation (who won everything in the air all night) from tapping in.
The referee managed to add on five extra minutes, possibly due to yours truly (amongst others) not exactly retrieving any balls that where kicked into touch as far as possible, to keep the battling visitors at bay.
Ashville, who came with nothing really to play for, certainly made a game of it. Albeit mainly with efforts from a distance, but nonetheless did not turn up, just to make up the numbers.
Three more points in the bag and that worry at the bottom of the table looking less and less a concern. But the job is not done yet lads. A minimum of three points still needed, before we can feel really safe.
A cracking game to watch, sun, rain, wind and all the English weather could throw at us, just made the win all the more special. A very, very good performance and 5-1 would not have flattered us. Steve should be proud of his lads.
Frankie Valli ??? Oh what a night, of course !
Next game : Hale away Wednesday 17th April kick off 6.30pm (I think) see you there.
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