Saturday, September 24, 2011
Blue Square Bet North
EASTWOOD TOWN 2
Josh Burge 45
Jason Bradley 70pen
Scott Spencer 31
Danny Hall 90+1
by Andy Cope
Eastwood saw a morale-boosting victory cruelly snatched away in the final minute of an enthralling encounter at Coronation Park on Saturday.
The dismissal of winger Jake Sheridan after a moment of ill-discipline added precious minutes to the allocated injury time, and the league leaders took full advantage.
The pre-match fortunes of the two clubs couldn’t have been more different.
Hyde arrived at Coronation Park boasting the league’s only 100 per cent record. Eastwood, on the other hand are in crisis and talks last Friday to resolve the silent protest failed with numerous fans opting to stay outside the ground.
Those who were inside saw the Badgers open brightly and they should have taken the lead in the sixth minute through an Anthony Gregory header.
Danny Elliott’s turn and shot from the edge of the box went close and Sheridan should then have done better when well placed.
Ryan Crowther, the Hyde winger, was starting to cause problems down the Eastwood right and he made the first goal when his pinpoint cross was headed home by Scott Spencer.
The impressive Daniel Broadbent then unleashed a 35-yard shot that cannoned off the post as it looked like the leaders were about to run riot.
Adam Griffin and Andrew Pearson both went close for Hyde but it was the home side that levelled with a goal out the blue right on the stroke of half-time.
A long ball into the box was only half cleared and Steve Istead picked up the loose ball and found the unmarked Josh Burge to score from the edge of the six yard box.
The second-half started in much the same vein with Broadbent’s shot finding keeper James Severn back at his best after his midweek howler against Bishop’s Stortford.
The Badgers had centre halves Gavin Caines and Sam Benjamin to thank for staying on level terms midway through the second half.
First Caines headed over Spencer’s shot in front of goal and then Benjamin blocked Adam Birchall’s goalbound shot with the Hyde fans appealing for a spot -kick.
Severn was again to the rescue when Broadbent burst through on goal, the keeper saving well at the feet of the Hyde striker.
The Badgers started to claw their way back into the game, led by captain Istead who went close with a shot from just inside the box.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 70th minute when Griffin upended Sheridan just inside the box leaving the referee with no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Leading goalscorer Jason Bradley made no mistake from the spot for his fourth goal of the season.
Eastwood’s joy was nearly cut short seconds later with Matthew Berkeley meeting Michael Aspin’s cross but steering the ball inches wide.
Things went from bad to worse for the league leaders as Pearson was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Sheridan in the 72th minute, and the Badgers pushed to kill the game off but Hall did well to block Jarrod Westcarr’s shot, surviving a goalmouth scramble in the process.
Aspin had a couple of shots saved for the leaders but it was all Badgers with Westcarr and then his replacement Aaron Cole looking threatening.
Then, in stoppage time and with whistles ringing out amongst the Eastwood fans with Sheridan having been dismissed, Hall won a corner and the Hyde management gambled everything, sending the keeper up and leaving just one solitary defender back.
Eastwood fans breathed a sigh of relief as the ball was cleared but Spencer returned it to the unmarked Hall on the far post and he headed past Severn to earn a share of the spoils.
Eastwood: 1 James Severn 2 Steve Istead (c) 3 Paul Riley 4 Gavin Caines 5 Sam Benjamin 6 Josh Burge 7 Jake Sheridan 8 Anthony Gregory 9 Jason Bradley 10 Danny Elliott 11 Jarrod Westcarr (Aaron Cole 84)
Subs not used: Jake Want (GK), Jevaise Christie, Alex Troke, Aaron Mitchell
Ref: R Johnson
Best Badger: Josh Burge