Home league match played on 02 March 2013.
Kicked off at 10:00 AM


This important League fixture saw fourth placed Swinefleet take on second placed Epworth Town, with both teams chasing League leaders College Wanderers, and both still in with a strong shout for the League title.

The opening 25 minutes belonged to the home side, as they pressed their opponents at every opportunity. Swinefleet were particularly strong down the left flank, with Ryan Whitlam using his pace to threaten the Epworth defence and link up quickly with the strike force of Niall Barker and Cohen Vause. It was a combination of two of these players that resulted in the home side taking the lead on 11 minutes. Whitlam playing a quick one-two with Barker, to then side foot the ball past the Epworth keeper. Four minutes later a Whitlam corner struck the far post, and two minutes after this a strong run and shot from Cohen Vause was turned away by the Epworth keeper. Barker also nearly got on the score-sheet with a rasping shot on 21 minutes that just sailed over the bar. With 24 minutes gone, Liam Cooper, Danny Nicholson and Regan Allen combined, this time down the right flank, to line up Aaron Raymond for shot, but his powerful shot hit an Epworth defender and rebounded to safety.

If Swinefleet were dominant in the first 25 minutes, then the last 20 minutes certainly belonged to Epworth Town. On 28 minutes keeper Jamie Ward had to smartly turn away a strong shot, but on 31 minutes a good run from midfield by Epworth’s Morgan saw him release a shot that flew into the top corner of the net. Epworth were pressing more and more and the Swinefleet centre-backs of Will Sparkes and Archie Stephens were having to be on top of their game, to prevent the visitors from going ahead.
The second half became more and more difficult to separate these two good teams, as both sides were competing for every single ball, and both were creating a number of half-chances. Both defences looked on top though, and neither side were unable to create that clear-cut chance that could possibly settle this game. On 63 minutes, Swinefleet made a double substitution with Scot Jackson on in central midfield for Nicholson and Keir Vause on for Allen. Vause came on at left midfield with Whitlam switching from left midfield to the right.

On 69 minutes, a chance for Swinefleet to win the game looked likely as Cohen Vause was hauled down in the Epworth penalty area. The Swinefleet penalty taker, left-back Gareth Welsh grabbed the ball to place on the penalty spot, but referee Michael Wills after consultation with the Epworth linesman, decided it was outside the box. The resulting free-kick from Barker was saved by the Epworth keeper. At the other end, a sweeping move from Epworth nearly gave them the winner, but the shot just went wide of Jamie Ward’s post. With 17 minutes left, on came Dale Noon for Whitlam, Barker dropping back into right midfield. Barker immediately started to supply the long ball from right to left, looking for the pace of Vause up front. One such ball on 76 minutes found Vause, but after beating two men, his shot just went narrowly wide of the Epworth post.

With 9 minutes of time remaining a strong Epworth attack down the left resulted in a ball played across the face of the Swinefleet goal, but the ball tragically for Swinefleet, hit the outstretched leg of the 16 year-old Keir Vause, to give the cruellest of deflections past keeper Ward and trickle into the far corner of the net.
This end result was a little harsh on Swinefleet, as the home side deserved something out of this match, but it would also have been harsh on the visitors if they had come away from this match with nothing. All in all, a draw would have been a fair result. This result was a dent for Swinefleet’s title hopes, but there are still plenty of matches left to play, and as we all know, football never fails to surprise you.

The Billy Burns sponsored Man of the Match Award went to Gareth Welsh. Next week Swinefleet are again at home V BBM. All players to meet at South Park at 2.00pm

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