Saturday, September 10, 2011
Northern Counties East Premier
Selby Town 1
Long Eaton United 2
Long Eaton United maintained their unbeaten away record with a hard-fought victory at lowly Selby Town on Saturday.
In a game that saw them reserve their best football for the second half, they came from behind to win the game despite finishing the match with ten men - sub Elliot King heading the winner.
Neither side began particularly well, with passes going astray with some regularity, though Kelvin Mushambi and Will Mellors-Blair linked up tidily in the early stages.
Weightman and Rickford both worked hard to unsettle the home defence but most of their running was in vain as clear opportunities were few and far between.
United’s plans also received an early setback when Michael Martin was forced to retire due to a hamstring problem with the game barely 20 minutes old, enabling Blaine Hancock to have an earlier than expected introduction.
As the game progressed, United were able to produce some moments of pressure when they forced three corners in quick time and Breach almost opened the scoring with a spectacular effort that rattled the Selby bar.
However, shortly afterwards, it was the home side that went ahead when Matt Hanton scored from close range on the 30 minute mark after United had conceded possession on the right.
Ross Whalin, in the United goal, ensured the margin wasn’t greater by producing an instinctive save only five minutes later.
The second -half started as United had ended the first period, with Hancock in a more forward position and Shaun Rickford reverting to a central midfield role.
Significantly, the team-talk at the interval clearly had a positive effect as United were more dominant from the outset, with Matt Weightman in particular causing problems for the home side with some very strong running.
As early as the 47th minute United were on level terms as Rickford crafted a pass to Weightman and the striker angled a precise shot wide of Jamie Barford in the Selby goal from the right hand side of the box to record his first strike for the club.
The equaliser boosted United further, with Mellors-Blair, Weightman and Michael Armstrong all having decent strikes on goal.
Defensively, Dean Whiley was in command, ably supported by the blossoming Jacob Webster and Armstrong.
United’s progress was jolted somewhat with the 70th minute dismissal of Rickford for an alleged elbowing offence, but after a brief period of re-organisation they appeared further inspired after being reduced to ten men.
King joined the fray with barely 18 minutes remaining to replace the injured Weightman and he made himself the hero of the hour when he rose to head home a superb cross from Armstrong with only six minutes remaining.
Jimmy Hunter had a late effort for United and Whalin made a crucial save deep into stoppage time to ensure his team retained their grasp on all three points, though the victory over the 90 minutes was perhaps just reward for a valiant second half performance.
Rickford’s dismissal was the third in successive seasons for a United player at Selby Town..
United: Whalin, Armstrong, Breach, Whiley (c), Webster, Hunter, Mushambi, Martin (Hancock 19, Ganderson 83), Mellors-Blair, Rickford, Weightman (King 73)
This Saturday (17th) United travel to Liversedge for their fourth consecutive NCEL Premier away fixture.