Badgers hold Bucks in entertaining clash

Man of the match Matt Rhead's header makes it 2-1 to Eastwood.
Man of the match Matt Rhead's header makes it 2-1 to Eastwood.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The two league current form sides produced an entertaining game which could have gone either way, as both teams created but ultimately wasted some very good chances.

Eastwood could have opened the scoring as early as the second minute when Paul Riley’s deep cross found Matt Rhead 12 yards out and the striker’s header was only a foot or so over the bar.

Stuart Whitehead then just beat Lee Stevenson to Lindon Meikle’s teasing cross with both sides sizing each other up in an open start to the game.

Telford’s Derby loanee Greg Mills had his first run and shot in the eighth minute but Danby was equal to the effort and from the resultant corner the ball was only cleared as far as Shaun Newton who fired inches wide.

The Badgers had the ball in the net in the 12th minute from a free-kick awarded just outside the box. Stevenson stepped up to beat the wall with a stinging shot that keeper Ryan Young could only parry into the path of Meikle who scored, but he was adjudged to have been offside.

Three minutes later it was Telford’s turn to go close when Andy Brown broke clear. Danby saved his initial shot and Mat Bailey was on hand to clear the follow up from under his own bar.

Moments later Jon Adams latched onto Bailey’s mis-timed header and played Adam Proudlock through but he fired over with just Danby to beat.

The Badgers opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Rhead showed great vision to pick out an unmarked Stevenson with a delightful 35-yard crossfield ball. The free-scoring midfielder held off the attentions of a Telford defender to fire across Young and into the corner of the net.

Spurred on by the opening goal it was Telford that went on the attack and Brown rolled the ball the wrong side of the post.

On 31 minutes, the Badgers broke again and Stevenson picked out the unmarked Rhead whose drive was fumbled by Young at the feet of Jon D’Laryea, but the referee blew for a foul despite there appearing to be no contact made.

Andy Todd then whistled a drive just past the post and in reply Mills delightfully turned and shot on the edge of the box bringing an equally good save from Danby.

When the goal came, it did so in controversial fashion. In the 41st minute, Newton’s high ball into the box saw Danby and two Telford players collide going for the ball which ended up in the goal off the head of Andy Brown.

As the whistle was heard, the majority of the crowd expected the game to restart with a free-kick. However the referee pointed to the centre circle and the crowd celebrated.

Not thrown out of their stride, the Badgers still managed to get the ball into the net for a third time before half-time. Michael Simpson’s free-kick was flicked on by Bailey for Adie Hawes who picked out the unmarked Rhead. His shot flew past Young but the offside flag was raised again.

The second-half started at a blistering pace. Stevenson and Rhead combined to unpick the Telford defence and the former, bursting into the box, only had to put the ball either side of Young to score but under pressure he toe poked it too close to the keeper.

That miss looked costly just 60 seconds later when Proudlock headed on for Adams to race clear. Danby spread himself well to block the initial shot but the rebound fell kindly to Mills who steered the ball into the unguarded net.

Telford’s lead only lasted a matter of four minutes as following a throw, Hawes’ cross came off a Telford head and fell fortuitously to the unmarked Rhead who guided the ball past Young and into the corner of the net.

Carl Rodgers then whistled a 35-yard shot wide for the hosts but the Badgers really should have reclaimed the lead in the 63rd minute. D’Laryea played through Meikle whose shot was well saved by Young. The loose ball fell to the one Eastwood player you would put your shirt on scoring, but on this occasion Stevenson lifted the ball over the goal.

Danby easily saved Newton’s well struck free-kick and Adams did brilliantly to pick the ball up in midfield and take it around Danby but David Haggerty was in the right place to clear from in front of goal.

There was still time for Meikle to beat three players before shooting wide but ultimately a point was the deserved outcome for a fine Badgers performance.

Eastwood: 1 John Danby 2 Mat Bailey 3 Paul Riley 4 Michael Simpson (c) 5 David Haggerty 6 Adie Hawes (Russell Cooke 83) 7 Jon D’Laryea 8 Lee Stevenson (Anton Foster 87) 9 Lindon Meikle 10 Matt Rhead 11 Andy Todd

Subs not used: Markel Bailey, Chris Shaw, Adam Muller

Att: 1,689 Ref: Richard Bartlett

Best Badger: Michael Simpson