WARE 2 EGHAM TOWN 1
By Tempest Ward
Four losses in four but still third
EVO-STIK SOUTHERN DIVISION ONE CENTRAL – SATURDAY 26 MARCH 2016
WARE 2 (0) Kieran Bishop 2 (61 pen, 90+3)
EGHAM TOWN 1 (0) Reece Yorke (55)
The most remarkable thing about this result is that, even after four straight defeats, Egham Town are still handily placed in the play-off shake-up in third place. The only change in the top six was Royston Town, whom Egham have to play twice in their last half dozen games, swapping top place with Kings Langley. Whether the Sarnies remain in the top five repeating duff performances like this one (and its three predecessors) is open to doubt. As at Fleet Town, who come visiting on Easter Monday, Egham played the first half downhill on a markedly sloping pitch, did not do enough with to open up their hosts and paid for it in the second period. That the winner at Wodson Park came deep into injury time was perhaps cosmic payback for the number of times that Gary Meakin’s men have done this against other sides this season.
In a very interesting interview with Clive Youlson of the Surrey Advertiser the Egham boss said that “we have Ware next, who owe us one, and Fleet again on Monday although that will be a different game at our place”. Of the first Fleet game he said that “they play down the hill very well. So we knew what was coming, and it’s alright knowing that but you still have to deal with it.” The incline at Ware is not as pronounced as at Calthorp Park, so it might have been any combination of the bumpy pitch, the swirling wind or the team changes that saw Egham shaded by a workmanlike Ware side determined to gain revenge after seeing a 2-0 half time lead turn into a 2-3 loss at the Runnymede Stadium on 16 February. To everyone’s surprise Bajram Pashaj was on the bench. To no-one’s surprise Jamie Norris was back in goal, even though James Reading had done nothing wrong at Fleet and his wonderful save just before their winner will stay in the memory for some time. Aaron Morgan, on dual registration with East Thurrock United, would probably have been with his parent club if not for the injury he picked up at Fleet.
Aaron Morgan @Morgz_23 Mar 23
Gutted to be out for the rest of the season and miss a massive period for both @1EastThurrockFC @EghamTown devastated
Luke Neville was the Egham man to catch the eye, uncharacteristically dithering on the ball by the half way line before being dispossessed by Dernell Wynter, who would have been surprised by the Egham skipper’s speed of recovery and perfect execution of his covering tackle. Egham’s first threat on the home goal came ten minutes in, Norris’ punt upfield being nodded back by Brendan Matthew for Jake Cass to hit, but the shot was off target. When Jack Hutchinson fouled Matthew after 24 minutes Wes Daly’s free kick was headed over the bar by Reece Yorke. Matthew was injured when bundled over as he chased Hassan Sulaiman’s lofted pass. Daly won a corner kick, taken by Mitchell Gutteridge; as the ball curled towards the back post all it needed was someone with determination enough to head it in, because the defence was all over the shop. So was Egham’s soon after when Jack Mace and Jack Hutchinson combined for Khali Da Costa, whose rising shot was flipped over the bar by Norris.
Pashaj and Gutteridge swapped places on the bench five minutes after the restart. Five minutes later Egham were ahead. Mace flattened Matthew and Chris Henry lifted in an exquisite free kick that found Yorke running in to steer the ball over the line with the inside of his right boot. If the goal had a “scuffed” element about it, it was no less welcome. Matthew had taken a battering and went off, Callum Webb his replacement. Ware had barely threatened Norris other than that one first half save. Surely the Sarnies would not crumble again? Then Yorke committed a foul in the box, seven minutes after giving his side the lead, and Kieran Bishop trundled the spot kick past the Egham keeper. Alright, the first away draw of the season would see us five points clear of fifth placed AFC Rushden & Diamonds, busily playing out a goalless home draw with Northwood. In response Jake Cass broke from midfield to win a corner for Egham, Henry shot the ball was cleared and Egham were still in need of some inventiveness, spark, zip… Pashaj tried to do just that, a good solo run and a pass to Chris Moore (just on for Daly) setting up Cass for a shot that flew wide. Egham were not doing themselves any favours with Henry being caught offside at regular intervals, notably to the despair of Cass. Three minutes into injury time a Ware corner was mopped up by Da Costa and knocked into the box. The imposing figure of centre forward Bishop was on hand to turn the ball past Norris.
Before this match Mr Meakin shouted out to me “We’ll try to put the wheels back on.” I didn’t actually say they had come off, but clearly the chances of them doing so have increased. With all the remaining six games potentially difficult the hope is that the season doesn’t fall flat.
EGHAM TOWN: Jamie Norris, Hassan Sulaiman, Mitchell Gutteridge, Reece Yorke, Luke Neville (Captain), Ryan Parsons, Kurtney Brooks, Wes Daly, Brendan Matthew, Jake Cass, Chris Henry. Subs: Callum Webb (Matthew, 57), Ollie Jones, Bajram Pashaj (Gutteridge, 50), Chris Moore (Matthew, 75), James Reading.
28.3 FLEET T
2.4 PETERSFIELD T
5.4 ROYSTON T
9.4 Chalfont St Peter
16.4 AFC RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS
23.4 Royston Town