NUFC OILERS 1 - 2 SCFC
By Cliff Lovett
Injuries mar the result as County make it through to round 2 of the LOB Senior Cup with another hard fought win.
NUFC Oilers 1 - 2 SCFC
County travelled to Hounslow to face Oilers from the SAL. After a Friday night selection hell! Saturday morning cry on's saved the day. A game that was easily defined by the wind and injures but County came out on top, when Stef Shamlian thwarted Oilers from the spot and with Neil Spackman scoring the winner.
County started slowly with a 4-4-2 formation and kicking off right to left.
Playing against the wind we were soon on the back foot. On 4 minutes some flat footed defending from Luke Kelly allowed their chubby centre forward through but a fine finger tip save from Stef Shamlian kept the scores even.
10 minutes and a real disappointment. From a simple arial challenge Cameron Wallis landed heavily on is shoulder, unable to continue Ayub Nabongo, making his first appearance of the season replaced him. (Later, after a visits to hospital news feed back to the clubhouse that he had broken his collarbone and will be out until the NY - Huge blow)
A quick shift in personnel and we tried to get back into the game.
We were finding the half so tough. The wind was causing mayhem and we were just encamped in our own half. Oilers had 6 corners on the trot, with some dogged defending, a few Stef Shamlian flaps and a Damo Proto goal-line clearance we still managed to keep them at bay.
Our forays forward were limited. One of the few times we did manage to get behind them saw Tony Sayers out pace his marker and through 1 on 1. Rather than square the ball, he decided to take the chance himself but only found the nearside - side netting, whilst trying to curl the ball around the keeper.
Our injury jinks then hit us again. Chris Westwood pulled up with a calf injury and was replaced by Ricky Ghoudelbourk.
We had battled through a tough half but injuries had forced our hand and left us with no options on the bench.
Second half we reshaped - Going our with a 3-5-2 formation and the wind behind us.
Within 3 minutes of the re-start we took the lead. Tony Sayers let fly from 35 yards. Wind assisted it flew over the stranded Oilers keeper. 0-1
We began to put Oilers under constant pressure. A couple of quick corners led to a Luke Kelly header that look destined for the back of the newt but an Oilers defender cleared of the line.
Straight up the other end and how things can quickly change. A 30 yard free-kick saw Luke Kelly not track his man and allowed an easy tap in from 5 yards. 1-1
Chances at either end ensued. Stef Shamlian saved well from 3 yards and from our numerous long throws better anticipation could have seen us go in front.
Then on 74 minutes we took the lead. With the corner count mounting, another back post delivery found Neil Spackman 1 on 1, rising and beating his marker he floated the ball back over the keeper and into the far corner. 1-2
Buoyed we began to threaten. Steve Young was put through, out pacing his marking and beating another he was 1 on 1 but having done everything right he then blazed over.
Damo Proto had a shot well saved on 84 minuets.
With the clock ticking away Tony Sayers blundered. After not getting an obvious foul he lost his head and bundled the Oilers forward over. Penalty, 86 on the clock, what a gutter.
The chubby forward stepped up. Putting the ball down, he then placed the ball into the bottom right hand corner. No match for Stef Shamlian, diving to his left and one-handed pushed the ball clear. Cracking save.
Last action of the game
A fine win in awful, windy, open playing field conditions. Kept on running and showed that cup winning mentality needed. Soured by the growing injury list, with Cam Wallis in particular, joining Steve Fahey on the long term list.
MoM - Stef Shamlian - A couple of class saves + the penalty save kept us in the game.
Donkey - Tony Sayers - Moment of madness - Gave the penalty away with minutes to go
County (4-4-2): Stef Shamlian, Neil Spackman(c), Tony Sayers, Luke Kelly, Bradley Doherty, Jules Cinotti, Chris Westwood (Ricky Ghoudelbourk 42), Glen Farley, Damian Proto, Steve Young, Cam Wallis (Ayub Nabongo 10).
Referee: Andy Demetriades
MoM - Stef Shamlian - A couple of cash saves + the penalty save kept us in and ahead
Donkey - Tony Sayers - Moment of madness - Gave the penalty away with 2 minutes to go
County (4-4-2): Stef Shamlian, Neil Spackman(c), Tony Sayers, Luke Kelly, Bradley Doherty, Jules Cinotti, Chris Westwood (Ricky Ghoudelbourk 42), Glen Farley, Damian Proto, Steve Young, Cam Wallis (Ayub Nabongo 10)
Referee: Andy Demetriades