Kirkley 2 Haverhill Rovers 2
The opening quarter of the game was a scrappy affair as each team ruled each other out through the midfield battle but eventually the home team began to look the bigger threat in front of goal as they forced a number of corners and with Kirkley physically looking the bigger side, this was always going to cause problems for Rovers and it was from one of these corners that Kirkley opened the scoring when defender Lewis Flower won his header and steered the ball past Archer in the Rovers goal.
Kirkley then nearly doubled their lead and again it was from another corner when a six yard box scramble resulted in Archer making a superb point blank save with his feet the keep Rovers in the game. Rovers began to get a foothold in the game as they got the ball out wide to Kicks and Alleyne who started to cause the home fullbacks problems with their pace. Tyler Kemp then tested the home keeper who did well to keep hold of a dipping shot from the young Rovers fullback. Riki Baker then went close when he headed just over from a corner, and with Rovers now on top they saw a penalty appeal waved away after Alleyne was brought down in the box for, what looked to be, a challenge where the defender got more of the player than he did the ball.
This only spurred Rovers on as again it was wide areas where they were able to cause problems as this time Kicks made a good run into the box and again was bought down in a challenge that gave the ref no choice but to point to the spot. This saw Rovers awarded a penalty for the third league game running and again it fell to Perry Moody to step forward for the kick that he duly slotted the ball past Reynolds in the home goal to give Rovers a deserved equaliser. With Rovers finishing the half well on top they nearly then took the lead right on the stroke of half time when Weaver fired a cross from the right that Alleyne just failed to make a good contact with only the keeper to beat.
The opening stages of the second half was a pretty quiet affair with little action as neither side were able to build any possession but Baker, Gardner and Shinn began to get the better of the midfield battle for Rovers before Kirkley were then reduced to 10 men when Flower lost his head during a challenge with Weaver and stamped on the Rovers striker directly in front of the ref who had no choice than to give the Kirkley defender his marching orders.
Rovers now with the extra man were well on top as they enjoyed good possession and forced a number of corners before a good ball to the right saw Weaver breakthrough however Reynolds did well to make a great save as the Rovers striker tried to round him. Kirkley worked hard with 10 men and then turned the game on its head when, against the run of play, they were able to exploit some slack Rovers defending as they took the lead with a well taken goal from Matt Brown.
This gave the home side confidence as they enjoyed a good spell as Archer was again brought into action when he saved with his feet in a one on one and Brown caused problems when he cut in front the left and shot just wide of the Rovers goal. With the Rovers’ goal under pressure the ball was picked up by Tyler Kemp who then burst down the left to make a great run before being brought down deep into the Kirkley half to earn Rovers a free-kick. A great Shinn delivery from the resulting free-kick found skipper Farrant who met the ball with a powerful header to give the home keeper no chance and brought the scores level again.
Rovers thereafter went in search of the win as they made the extra man tell and looked the sharper team as Gardner just headed over from a Shinn corner before Weaver nearly claimed the win when he cut in from the right but shot just wide of the post to see the points shared in another entertaining Rovers game.
Team: Archer, Moody, Kemp, Shinn, Farrant, Wilderspin, Gardner, Baker, Weaver, Alleyne, Kicks
Unused subs: Stevenson, Shulver, Jebb
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