Cliffe Football Club once again were on their travels this time to a windy early evening Eastrington the 06/07 holders of the Division 5 title that Cliffe will be challenging for this forthcoming season.
Cliffe began the match at a fast pace too fast for Eastrington and could of, and maybe should have had a 2 goal lead within the first few minutes. Cliffe would later rue these chances.
Cliffe continued the pressure non the less in the first half with Dave Heron and Marc Holder being a threat down the flanks. Jamie Sedman forced a fine save from the home ‘keeper and Heron rattling the crossbar. Cliffe’s pressure was aided by play by Scott Birch and Lee Faxon with both battling well in the midfield.
This meant that the hosts were restricted to counter attacks, forcing two good saves from Ally Harris. But again Cliffe were punished, much like against Thorpe, for their errors when a throw-in was allowed to bounce between Cliffe’s makeshift centre halves Tom Hogg and Paul Fenton which Eastrington’s centre forward easily volleyed home from 12 yards for the first goal. A second for the home side followed when Cliffe’s ‘keeper seemingly was caught in no-man’s land and beaten by a low shot. Cliffe went in a half-time 2-0 down.
Keith Tiplady mouthed some positive words and made changes, introducing Steve Hullah and Rob Wood. Cliffe began the second half where they left off in the first and dominated, with Eastrington providing minimal threat allowing Cliffe to push forward. Cliffe were rewarded for all the pressure, when a clearance from Hogg confused the home defence and Sedman showed his pace to get clean through and calmly shoot past the ‘keeper for his first Cliffe goal. Cliffe would then equalise within two minutes of their first when Heron produced good work on the right and allowed Scott Birch to fire home from under 10 yards, stealing the shot from substitute Andy Kirkham’s foot.
After this Cliffe maybe should of pushed for a third, as the game settled and very little apart from few substitutions in the settled last 15 minutes.
Many positives can be drawn from the game, one being Cliffe’s squad strength in depth, not forgetting solid individual performances from Matt Birch, who kept Eastrington’s number 7 largely under wraps for the duration, Lee Faxon and Jamie Sedman who all stood out as did, Captain for the match, Tom Hogg and Scott Birch who was the referee’s man of the match.
The game finished all square at 2-2.
A. Harris, N. Summers (Kirkham), P. Fenton, T. Hogg, M. Birch, M. Holder (Wood), L. Faxon (Hullah), S Birch, D. Heron (R. Tiplady), J. Sedman, A. Tiplady(B. Summers)
Sedman, S. Birch