Spirit Down Nine Man Rovers
15 July 2013
Southern Spirit 1:0 Hamersley Rovers
A number of key decisions contributed to the final outcome of the game on Sunday, as Hamersley Rovers went down by one goal to Southern Spirit at Watson Reserve.
Hamersley started the game brightly and enjoyed good periods of possession; Spirit playing their more defensive game and hoping for chances on the counter attack.
On 6 minutes a searching cross from Daniel Scudder saw debutant Matt Thomas leap well and direct a glancing header toward the Spirit goal, though the striker was unfortunate to see his effort denied by the cross bar.
On 20 minutes a characteristically positive run from Asa Nicholson saw him unleash a fierce drive from just outside the box, which was well struck but ultimately just wide of the target.
Moments later Nicholson, enjoying a fine game, combined well with Ricky Andrews down the left and delivered a teasing cross into a dangerous area at the front post, but the keeper was out quickly to eliminate the threat.
As the half progressed so did the chances of a goal, though on 36 minutes a Scudder corner found its way back to the veteran forward, who cleverly feinted to shoot while instead slipping in Matty Emery, the centre back silkily switching the ball to his left foot but curling his effort just wide.
Further chances remained at a premium and the contest hung in the balance at 0-0 at half time.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half bore witness to a number of Hamersley half-chances, with Ryan ‘Razor’ Sochanik, Ian Browne and Declan Peters all making the keeper work with shots on goal.
On 64 minutes the first real moment of danger at the Hamersley end presented itself, as a Southern Spirit near post corner squeezed its way through and required an Andrews header on the goal line to keep Rovers’ clean sheet intact. Four minutes later a passage of good play from Spirit eventuated in a shot across goal that keeper Dave Wood did well to keep out at full stretch.
The first key decision to go against Rovers resulted in the only goal of the game on 72 minutes, as a header from a corner looped up and saw keeper Wood leap with the striker to catch the ball, and with what looked like an unfair challenge by the striker the ball found its way into the net. The referee took a moment to consider the decision and then signalled that the goal would stand, to the disbelief of the Hamersley players.
Rovers were spurred into action and almost immediately levelled through a fierce strike from Thomas, though their chances of getting something from the game were reduced when the away side found themselves down to 10 men when another key decision went against them, after Peters received a second yellow for protesting a harsh high feet decision.
Hamersley had to now go for it, and throwing caution to the wind would obviously leave gaps in the defence, which were nearly capitalised upon on a dangerous break away by Spirit, Sochanik producing heroics to get back to the far post in order to keep the score line at just one when it seemed certain that Spirit would score.
Hamersley continued to press and produced further half chances, though it was one of those days where the ball and the decisions just would not fall for them. To add insult to injury a further decision went against the away team in the closing moments as Ben Ashton was dismissed after receiving a second yellow for a simple challenge in which he seemed to have clearly won the ball.
The result was a disappointing one, but Brad Brooks’ side can take several positives from the game, including a strong performance from Thomas on his debut, fantastic runs from Nicholson, a strong work ethic from all of the players, and from the way the away side dominated and threatened in spite of a numerical disadvantage.
Hamersley Rovers will now be certainly looking to reverse their fortunes in the next round.
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