Hamersley Held by Stubborn Whitfords
20 September 2013
Whitford City 2:2 Hamersley Rovers
A Ryan ‘Razor’ Sochanik penalty and a late Michael ‘El Gringo’ Garcia strike, both of which put Hamersley ahead, weren’t enough to secure all three points in Sunday’s away trip to Whitford City.
Hamersley started the game with intent, Ricky Andrews causing trouble after just 3 minutes as he whipped in a dangerous corner from the right that set off concern in the Whitfords defence.
And it was Andrews involved again on 7 minutes, the wide man being brought down inside the box for a clear penalty, which Sochanik stepped up to take. The latter struck the ball low and hard to his right, and though the keeper got fingertips to it the outcome of the kick never looked in doubt.
Hamersley continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession throughout the first half though were occasionally guilty of losing the ball cheaply, which invited pressure in the form of a couple of close range strikes, though these were either dealt with comfortably by Ian Norgrove or struck woefully wide.
An Asa Nicholson effort aside, that was just intercepted after a good Dan Willis run, the half lacked any real chances for either side, and the visitors entered the break worthy of their lead though desiring of more chances on goal.
Chances came for both sides early in the second, as Norgrove closed down a Whitford effort that was nearly put in from the follow up play, while at the other end a Nicholson run found Dave ‘Fingers’ Howell who laid back for Andrews to rifle on target. The effort was blocked, and the rebound fell for Garcia, who in turn struck well but struck Shaun Gibbons on its way to goal.
On 59 minutes a fine cross picked out Garcia at the far post, who rose well but put his header just wide.
As the half progressed Hamersley began to create more but again conceded possession, and were ultimately undone on 70 minutes as pressure brought on a corner which was whipped in from the right and bundled in.
A few more worrying moments came from Whitfords in the following few minutes, though Hamersley had chances of their own as a Dan Scudder one-two with Dan Guggisberg saw the former chest and volley at goal, though his effort was held on to by the home side’s goalkeeper.
And on 89 minutes Hamersley appeared to have won it through a Garcia strike, after a fine Declan Peters pass sent Ben Matthews away down the right, whose cross found Gibbons running in on goal. Gibbons caught the effort well but the keeper managed to block the effort to Guggisberg, who played across to Garcia to drill home under the goalkeeper.
The goal restored Hamersley’s lead, and few could have argued with the result if Hamersley had seen out the game from here, but a Whitfords free kick, three minutes into injury time, was flicked on at the near side of the goal into the net at the far side, to secure a draw for the home side.
To lose some of the points so late on was frustrating for Hamersley, though it was an afternoon where the Hamersley brand of free flowing possession football was not on display to its finest extent, and is something the players will work to put right in the remaining fixtures of the season.
Whitford City Reserves 2:2 Hamersley Rovers Reserves
The earlier fixture had produced an identical scoreline to first team game, with two late goals allowing City back into the fixture and frustrating the visitors.
Hamersley played into the wind in the first half and were made to work hard by the home side, though had found themselves two goals up through a Jon Knoche finish after a good ball from Dan Fowler, and through a cool Chris MacMichael penalty after a blatant if somewhat unfortunate handball incident from a Whitford defender.
As half time arrived Rovers felt as if the victory was theirs for the taking if they continued to apply themselves in the second half.
The story seemed to be going according to the script for the visitors as they found themselves in the Whitfords half for long periods, though perhaps lacking the final ball to create any meaningful chances, and were ultimately made to pay late in the half for their failure to further extend their lead.
Into the last 10 minutes an innocent looking run through the middle and straight ball put a striker through to finish low to Alec Glass’ right, and seconds after the restart the fixture was level as a mistimed header allowed a striker to volley home from inside the box, leaving minutes remaining with Whitfords carrying the momentum.
It was Hamersley who nearly took the three points however, as a Steve Kruit pass from the by-line deflected off the keeper and bobbled agonizingly slowly across to Jordan Dean, allowing a defender in to block Dean’s close range effort.
The game ended all square, which will have frustrated Hamersley’s reserve side but which still leaves the chance for second place in their own hands as they enter their remaining fixtures.
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