In-form Long Eaton make it five wins on the bounce

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

NCEL Premier Division



by Ritchie Woods

LONG Eaton recorded their fifth straight league win with victory over a stubborn Selby Town on Saturday.

Selby have been having a torrid time in the NCEL in recent weeks and influential players have departed to pastures new.

But despite the recent form of both sides, Grange Park regulars know that there are no easy games for Long Eaton, whether they meet a leading side or a team experiencing a poor run.

The first-half was not memorable by any means and any threat from the visitors was ably dealt with.

Micky Allsop and Dean Whiley were again in impressive form at the heart of United’s back line and Gary Breach and Paul McGinty, playing his 358th game for the club, used their experience to good effect.

The stop-start nature of the first-half resulted in few chances being created, though Martin Bowles, Michael Martin and Nathan Parker battled tirelessly to fashion an opening. But final passes often went astray.

Moments before the break Kev Mabon dispossessed a Selby defender wide on the left but Shaun Rickford was unable to take advantage as the ball arrowed across the goalmouth in what was possibly the best chance of the half.

After the interval, United pressed more effectively but Selby did have an early chance following a free-kick which ‘keeper Simon Baldwin dealt with simply.

Following a series of free-kicks in their favour, United had headed efforts from both Martin and Allsop and a shot from the effervescent Bowles was blocked by a frantic visiting defender.

The breakthrough came on 56 minutes when yet another free-kick eluded the Selby defence. United ‘war-horse’ Mabon managed to produce a powerful goalbound shot before he was closed down to register his seventh goal of the season, bringing a measure of relief to the home camp.

United were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after Rickford clashed with ‘keeer Jody Barford but it is perhaps indicative of Selby’s current fortune that Barford was unable to continue after the collision.

Moments later a visiting defender was replaced following a nasty clash of heads with Bowles after both players jumped for the same ball.

Adam Campbell went close to increasing United’s lead with a clever volleyed lob but it wasn’t until the final kick that the game was made safe.

Substitute George Morgan demonstrated strength and vision by fighting off the attention of a Selby defender to look up and find Bowles, who had the simplest of tasks to place the ball past the substitute ‘keeper.

United’s victory was well deserved and resulted in the fourth clean sheet in their recent five-match winning run, but again, it was a toil to grind out the necessary performance to take the three points on offer.

The pressure the defence has to endure is due solely to the lack of goals and it is a credit to the rearguard that a maximum 15 points have been won in the last month or so.

On Saturday the team travel to Thackley, who were the last team to defeat United in a league game some six weeks ago.

Long Eaton: Baldwin, Breach, Allsop, Whiley, McGinty, Parker, Bowles, Martin, Campbell (Morgan 86), Mabon (Lord 75), Rickford (Mushambi 71).