Smithswood Firs 4 Leamington Hibernian 3
Smithswood Firs Goals: Sam Hulme (2), Aaron Anderson, Jordan Wade MOM: Michael Crawford
Leamington Hibernian Goals: Joseph Wright (3) MOM: William Pendred
Subs: Dale Hewitt, David Raore, Martin Crawford, Jordan Wade,
Bank Holiday Monday saw last season’s fellow promoted side Leamington Hibernian visit the Glades for their league encounter. Those watching were treated to a seven goal thriller in the blazing sun as the game went back and forth as both teams contributed to an entertaining game.
Manager Paul Ryder had a few missing but still lined up with a very good side and was confident his team could get their second win of the weekend.
The home side came out firing and Curtis Thomas and Aaron Anderson both shot wide within the first two minutes of the game as Smithswood put Leamington under some good early pressure. The away team could only hold out for fifteen minutes as the home side took the lead. Ash Weeks moved out of defence to win the ball and put a wide ball out to Troy Baker. Baker crossed low to Sam Hulme who controlled it first time, spun away from the defender and fired in off the bar.
Leamington hit straight back within a minute as they beat the off-side trap well and slotted under the keeper to frustrate the Smithswood defence.
The game was end to end and the teams were only level for five minutes. Michael Crawford won the ball back in midfield and played in behind the defence for Sam Hulme who bullied the centre back and slotted the ball under the keeper to make it 2-1 to the home side.
Ash Weeks thought he had scored immediately after when he connected with a header from Michael Crawford’s free kick but it went agonisingly wide. Crawford was bossing the midfield and showing how good he is in the engine room, winning the ball back and spraying passes all around the pitch.
It was 3-1 five minutes later with Michael Crawford the provider again from midfield as he won the ball back and dinked a lovely pass over the defence for Aaron Anderson to run on to and he buried his shot inside the keepers near post.
Leamington could easily of crumbled but they battled back and were back in it on the half hour mark. They played a lot of long balls in the game which had Nathan Leek and Ash Weeks constantly on the back foot and they were getting some joy with it which led to their goal as they got one on one with the keeper to make it 3-2. They were in again shortly after but Jake Woodward made a great save to keep it at 3-2 going in at half time.
The second half wasn’t quite as end to end as the first but both teams had their chances. The first team to take one was the away side just after the hour as one of their players found himself unmarked in the box from a free kick and headed home to make it 3-3.
The goal seemed to give the home side the kick up the behind they needed and they pushed Leamington back as they went in search of their fourth goal which came shortly after following a great move down the right. Cam Knight skipped past the full back and picked Anthony Short out just inside the box. Short didn’t connect fully with his shot but there was enough to direct it goal wards and Jordan Wade was there to pounce on it and slot it past the keeper for his first ever goal for the club.
Both teams had great chances to increase their goal tally before the end of the game but neither could convert them and an entertaining game for the neutral finished 4-3 and gave the home side the six points they wanted over the bank holiday.
Man of the Match was a close run thing. Aaron Anderson was impressive again for the second game running, Anthony Short was also excellent in his first full game back from injury while both Sam Hulme and Henry Donaghey worked tirelessly but after consulting a few of the supporters, it was given to Michael Crawford who bossed the midfield in the first half and created two of the goals.
Next up for The Lions is a repeat of last season’s Les James Cup Final as we travel to Alvis Sporting Club on Saturday 3rd September