SWINEFLEET FC 3 LIMESTONE RANGERS 2
Two goals in injury time for Swinefleet gave them a deserved victory and maximum points from this absorbing League match.
Swinefleet started the match at a breathtaking pace and the visitors from Kirton Lindsay were fortunate not to be 3-0 down after only 10 minutes played. A stunning pass on 3 minutes from midfielder Regan Allen, put Cohen Vause through down the left, and the shot from Vause beat the keeper hit the far post, and then was hooked off the line by a Limestone defender. Two minutes later a strong run from Ryan Whitlam beating two defenders produced a shot that clipped the far post. On 7 minutes Niall Barker cut in from the left, beat two defenders and hit a right foot shot that just sailed over the bar, and a further shot from Vause was again blocked on the line on 10 minutes.
Swinefleet were really looking impressive this first half, displaying top quality passing and movement, and playing the game at a quick tempo, with the visitors finding it difficult to get hold of the ball. The Swinefleet centre-backs of Scot Jackson and Gareth Welsh were quickly snuffing out the Limestone attack and playing the ball either wide to the full-backs Liam Cooper and Chris Barker, or finding the feet of central midfield players, Aaron Raymond and Danny Nicholson. The good link up play down the left between Chris Barker and Ryan Whitlam caused the visitors problems all match, with the pace of Whitlam a constant thorn in their side.
Swinefleet got their reward for their dominance on 21 minutes with a fine team goal. Scot Jackson won the ball at the back for Swinefleet, played the ball sideways to right back Cooper, who fed Allen on the right. Allen picked out the run of Vause on the edge of the area, and the shot on the turn from Vause sailed past the keeper into the bottom corner of the net. This goal seemed to spurn Limestone into action and from a corner kick on 26 minutes, they rifled in the equaliser. Swinefleet nearly replied in kind on 33 minutes with N.Barker laying the ball backwards into the path of Raymond, but his powerful shot was deflected way for a corner-kick.
With a half-time score of 1-1, Swinefleet were left wondering what else they had to do to win this match, as for virtually all of the first half, keeper Jamie Ward had been a spectator. The second half was to be a more closer affair. Limestone started the half showing some of the qualities that had made them League Champions 2 years ago and Swinefleet were now finding it difficult to break down a stubborn Limestone defence. Swinefleet keeper Jamie Ward had to make a fantastic double block on 57 minutes to prevent the visitors from taking the lead, and despite a change in personnel by the home side on 60 minutes, bringing on Keir Vause up front, and N Barker dropping to right midfield, Limestone took the lead on 64 minutes after Swinefleet had failed to clear their lines from a corner-kick.
A double substitution on 70 minutes bringing Sam Nicholls in centre-midfield for Nicholson and Dale Noon up front for C. Vause seemed to breathe new life into Swinefleet. On 81 minutes a pass from N. Barker put K Vause’s pace against the Limestone defender and his shot across the keeper just eluded the outstretched leg of Noon coming in from the left. Swinefleet’s Jackson saw his goal-bound header from a corner cleared off the line on 85 minutes.
With the 4th official indicating a maximum of 5 minutes injury time, time was running out for Swinefleet. But the game was not finished yet! With 91 minutes on the clock, a Niall Barker corner was powerfully headed in at the near-post by Aaron Raymond to equalise. And then with just seconds remaining of the 5 minute injury time, a foul on Vause on the edge of the area on the right resulted in a free-kick to Swinefleet. Barker floated in the free-kick and with bodies jumping for the ball, it was the head of a Limestone defender who made contact and the ball flew into the top corner of the net. With two goals in injury time for Swinefleet, the 30-strong home support went wild with joy at the end for the three valuable League points that Swinefleet richly deserved.
The Man of the Match award went to Chris Barker.