Hinckley deepen Badgers’ despair

Eastwood's Ross Gardner came closest to scoring for the Badgers but ultimately it was another frustrating day.
Eastwood's Ross Gardner came closest to scoring for the Badgers but ultimately it was another frustrating day.

EASTWOOD conceded three goals in the last five minutes as fellow strugglers Hinckley took all three points in Warwickshire on Saturday.

Blue Square Bet North

HINCKLEY UNITED 4

Andy Gooding 12

Danny Newton 85

Paul Lister 89, 90

EASTWOOD TOWN 0

by Paddy Farrell

EASTWOOD conceded three goals in the last five minutes as fellow strugglers Hinckley took all three points in Warwickshire on Saturday.

The result leaves the Badgers 11 points from safety in the Blue Square Bet North - with sides immediately above and below them possessing games in hand.

In easily the most one-sided game I’ve seen this season, Eastwood’s only real performer was goalkeeper Ian Deakin, but even his impressive resilience vanished in the closing minutes.

From kick-off Eastwood proved poor competitors to a rejuvenated home side whose attack was superbly organised around outstanding loan debutant Craig Farrell.

Wing-back Sam Belcher had a long-range shot diverted dangerously but Deakin, athletically, touched the ball behind for what proved to be the first in an apparently unending series of corners.

In isolated advances, Josh Burge shot wide and a promising run by Jevaise Christie was ended by a cynically executed scything hack from Mark Dudley who gratefully accepted a lenient yellow card.

Hinckley’s opening goal was fathered by a bad error from Mitch Hanson which allowed Lloyd Kerry to cross enticingly from the right. Eastwood, who struggled all afternoon to win any aerial contest, failed to challenge the incoming Andy Gooding who headed past a stranded ‘keeper in the 11th minute.

Almost immediately, Farrell was held back by Ross Gardner’s border-line illegal attentions but Mr Yates waved away clamorous penalty appeals.

Burge, like most of his mates, had been largely anonymous but a typically flamboyant run and measured pass set up Franny Green whose attempted chip-shot hardly inconvenienced a badly under-worked keeper Denham Hinds.

With half-time approaching, the almost intuitive rapport between Farrell, the provider, and Andre Gray, the would-be finisher, flourished with the latter, three times in as many minutes, forcing corners from diving saves by Deakin.

On the interval whistle, Gardner almost made the scoreline ludicrous when his near-post flick made perfect contact but Hind’s legs denied him an equaliser.

The hosts’ impressive corner count steadily climbed in the second-half as Deakin defied the home side with his one-man heroics.

After the introduction of Jason Bradley and Alex Troke, the steady onslaught was unabated but with just five minutes left Deakin was still the hero after a string of fine saves.

Then Farrell claimed another heroic Deakin block but the rebound fell to Newton who tapped in.

Something in the build-up upset the Eastwood keeper and his anger – and understandable – frustration fuelled an unwise rant at the officials, cue a yellow card!.

In 89 minutes a left-side corner fired across by sub Tom Byrne was completely missed by Deakin and Paul Lister found time to chest down and shoot home, before the same player headed his second in injury-time to complete the Badgers’ misery.

Best to draw a veil over this display although I doubt the coaching staff will be as passive.

Relegation – apart from the usual administration-related issues – seems increasingly likely and it would be futile to argue that we deserve any better.

Hope springs and all that so with 18 games left, all we need is a finish like last season. Semper Fidelis!

Eastwood: 1 Ian Deakin 2 Markel Bailey (Alex Troke 72) 3 Paul Riley 4 Ross Gardner 5 David Haggerty (Sam Benjamin 45) 6 Kallum Keane 7 Jevaise Christie 8 Mitch Hanson (C) 9 Francis Green 10 Peter Knox (Jason Bradley 65) 11 Josh Burge Subs not used: Danny Elliott, Richard Cooper Att: 408

Best Badger: Ross Gardner