Saturday, October 1, 2011
Northern Counties East Premier
Long Eaton United 1
Following on from their midweek FA Vase replay success three days earlier at Lincoln Moorlands, United made the journey to the Rotherham area to meet in-form Parkgate for an NCEL Premier clash on Saturday.
But the Yorkshire side proved too good on the day, playing some very attractive football at times and deserving their victory.
The home side started well from the outset and United’s defence were put under some early pressure as two well-worked efforts resulted in shots just clearing the bar.
After weathering the early storm United began to drive forward themselves and Matt Weightman was closed down after a promising run before Will Mellors-Blair began to endure what was an uncomfortable afternoon when he was brought down for the first of many occasions after cleverly cutting inside his marker.
Midway through the half Mellors-Blair and Weightman both had further attempts on goal in quick succession and Ross Whalin kept United intact with a couple of good saves from dangerous crosses when under pressure.
However, after 23 minutes Parkgate went ahead when target-man Ashley Worsfold took advantage of a loose ball wide on the right and despite the close attention of Gary Breach he was able to forge goalwards and fire in a low shot from a tight angle that eluded Whalin.
The home side almost increased their lead within a minute but Whalin again produced a good save to palm the shot over the bar.
For the final five minutes of the half United were in the ascendancy but they were unable to convert the opportunities that came their way as Weightman, Michael Martin and Kelvin Mushambi all set their sights on goal.
There were moments after the interval when it appeared United may have the resolve to get themselves back into the game but they also continued to have lapses where they lost possession cheaply.
After 56 minutes United almost gained reward for their best move of the game involving Mellors-Blair, Jimmy Hunter and Jacob Webster, who sent over an incisive cross into a congested Parkgate area. Elliot King rose well to meet the ball but his headed effort produced a superb save from the home ‘keeper.
Ten minutes later Parkgate stretched their lead at a crucial point in the contest after Whalin parried a powerful effort from the edge of the box only to watch on helplessly as Chris Wood was on hand to knock the ball home with United’s ‘keeper grounded.
The goal spurred the home side further and some resolute defending was required before Parkgate added a third in the 83rd minute after a run into United’s box ended with Keir Hannity having the simple task of prodding the ball home after rounding Whalin.
Credit must be given to United for not capitulating completely and they pressed forward in numbers in search of consolation as the game drew to a close.
They gained some reward when Dean Whiley teed up a diagonal pass following a free-kick for Michael Armstrong to calmly slot his strike into the Parkgate net with a minute of the game left.
In the dying seconds substitute Zakk Hilton almost got his name on the scoresheet when his shot was blocked by the onrushing home ‘keeper after a surging run but, at the final whistle, the three points were deservedly won by Parkgate.
United: Whalin, Webster, Breach, Whiley (c), Armstrong, Hunter, Martin, Mushambi (Hilton 66), Mellors-Blair, Weightman (Ganderson 73), King
l United’s 4-1 FA Vase win at Lincoln Moorlands Railway last Wednesday came courtesy of goals from Michael Armstrong, Elliot King, Will Mellors-Blair and Shaun Rickford.
They will now travel to Arnold Town in the first round proper on October 22.
l Long Eaton host Tadcaster Albion in the league on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.