EGHAM TOWN 2 FLEET TOWN 2
By Tempest Ward
Two goal lead slips, lead extended and playoff place assured!
EVO-STIK SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL
TUESDAY 12 APRIL 2016
EGHAM TOWN 2 (2)
CALLUM WEBB (29), CHRIS MOORE (42)
FLEET TOWN 2 (1)
BEN WHITE (45 + 5), LIAM GILBERT (90 + 3)
In the end the point Egham added to their total tonight may be enough, but how much more useful would three have been? With two of the other title contenders each winning comfortably this was a night when Egham rode out a difficult start, built a 2-0 lead with two classy goals and then, deep into injury time in both halves allowed Fleet to breach their defences. However, it was an historic night for the club as they are now guaranteed a place in the play-offs at least. For this achievement everyone involved in the running of and playing the team must take a huge amount of credit, and the grateful thanks of the supporters.
The match started badly for Egham as influential midfielder Wes Daly was crocked in the first minute, just as Aaron Morgan had been in the 1-2 loss at Calthorpe Park. On came Callum Webb, which meant that Bajram Pashaj was pulled into the middle of the park, and not out on the wing where he can more damage. Egham were shading possession but the first penetrating move took 21 minutes to arrive when Chris Henry dinked in a curling pass towards the penalty spot where, as Chris Moore closed in, Fleet’s keeper Ryan Price collided with his skipper Simba Mlamba. Both needed treatment, which had repercussions. The Sarnies were now playing some incisive football and went ahead just before the half hour as Hassan Sulaiman’s free kick was nodded on by skipper Luke Neville for Webb to hit a wonderful half volley just inside the right post. Ryan Parson’s excellent tackle on Mlamba prevented an equaliser, and in the 42nd minute Egham were rewarded for clever and patient build up play by Goldy Capela and Webb by the left corner flag before Webb’s excellent low cross was met by Moore at the left post. The experienced striker controlled, turned and hammered the shot in past Price. Two minutes later, as Egham looked like taking Fleet apart, Pashaj lobbed a shot that hit the crossbar. It was crucial. Five minutes into the injury time added for the injuries to Daly, Price and Mlamba, from a bog standard cross the like of which Egham had been clearing previously without any problems, Ben White was free to score.
The goal gave the Hampshire side a lift and, to be fair, they dominated possession in the second half. Two minutes from the restart Brendan Matthew replaced Capela, and just past the hour mark Ryan De Battista, who had not featured for a little while, came on for Chris Henry. Initially De Battista’s presence made a difference as Egham looked more lively, and Webb was only denied a second by an excellent save from Price. Pashaj looked as if he would repeat his second goal last week against Royston but wanted a touch too much and the chance was lost. De Battista fired a cross shot just past the far post with a quarter of an hour left, and thereafter most of the play was in the Egham half. Other than having to turn one shot over his bar Egham, and former Fleet, keeper Jamie Norris was well protected by his defenders until finally the pressure told. With one last corner it looked as if Egham had dealt with the danger and secured a valuable win until Liam Gilbert, out on the left, hit a well struck shot into the far side of the Egham net.
The title contenders mentioned earlier are AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Royston Town. The Diamonds will visit the Runnymede Stadium on Saturday, no doubt supported by a large contingent of fans eager to see their side avenge the 1-0 Egham gained on their turf just before Christmas. The last game is at Royston. The end to this exciting season could hardly be more nerve shredding.
EVO-STIK SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL – RESULTS - TUESDAY 12 APRIL 2016
AFC Rushden & Diamonds 4 Barton Rovers 0
EGHAM TOWN 2 Fleet Town 2
Northwood 2 Hanwell Town 0
Royston Town 4 Potters Bar Town 1
Aylesbury v Aylesbury United pp – waterlogged pitch – played Thursday