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Easingworld Town 3 - 4 Pocklington Predators

17 Nov 2013

An action packed League Cup 2nd round away tie at Easingworld had a little bit of everything and would have tested the ink reserves of any match reporter.   Predators were forced into a kit change of yellow shirts and blue shorts, perhaps suggesting that manager Joe Cooney had been building his match strategy from the Copacabana Beaches or Rio de Janeiro Stadium, such was the quality of football his side demonstrated.

The Predators were nearly at full strength for this encounter and gave a début to Sam Jefferson whose sublime performance only demonstrated why he has caught the eye of pro clubs. But it was not only Jefferson who stood tall: Sam Flinton in the Predator’s goal produced two mouth-watering saves and Fraser Hansen gave his best ever performance in a Pocklington shirt wide on the left. 

Pocklington could have scored as early as 10 seconds into the match when Joe Milner carved open Easingworld’s defence and but his low effort went agonisingly wide of the post. Easingworld drove forward themselves, fuelled by the vocal support of a partisan crowd and forcing three corners in quick succession.  The first two were punched clear by Flinton, but a near post flick on the 3rd ended in the back of the net and the Predators found themselves an early goal behind.   Pocklington immediately looked for an equaliser; Jefferson’s effort was blocked and Altin found the side netting. Ben Potter twice lost his marker and was unlucky so see both his efforts thwarted.

Just when it looked like a Pocklington leveller was inevitable, Easingworld broke away and Flinton’s clearance found their midfielder in space whose return lob had to be tipped over the bar in the first of the Pocklington’s keepers outstanding saves of the afternoon.  But two minutes later there was little he could do as a hopeful punt from the edge of the area doubled Easingworld’s  lead and the Predators faced a challenge of their inner strength. The next goal was critical.

It was perhaps therefore fitting that Predators came back into the game with a goal that would have graced any league;  junior of senior. Huw Jones deft control just inside the Easingworld half  gave him time to see Hansen wide left and he threaded the ball inside Easingworld’s full-back. Hansen’s first time cross low along the six yard line was inch perfect and found  Connor Wade’s paradisiacal run and Pocklington were back in the game. Easingworld looked shell-shocked and the Predators stormed forward immediately winning the ball from the home-side’s kick off. Jefferson found Wade who released Milner and his finish meant that Predators went into the break level at 2-2.

In the second half Pocklington looked every bit as strong at the back as Easingworld looked vulnerable.  Stuart Wright was solid at left-back and Harry Crusher and Eric Hogan in particularly uncharitable mood to let Easingworld back in.  Predators too took territorial advantage with a battling central midfield with Elliott Russell, Jones Potter and Jefferson all making strong contributions, the latter’s forward runs in particular causing Easingworld trouble time and time again. Predator’s continued to look slick with their football;  the quick thinking Flinton releasing Hansen in space who found Jefferson and Milner was unlucky not to score at the end of a quick fire move.  

Predators took the lead midway through the second half when Connor Wade collected the ball and pulled the ball back for Jones whose neat finish crept inside the left hand post – a two-goal deficit had been overturned. Could the Predators hang on for a well-deserved victory?  Well, not the easy way anyway as Easingworld came forward again and a clever finish drew them level 3-3.  The referee blew shortly after and signalled that there was no extra time and the match would go straight to penalties.  

Hansen stepped forward first and his left-foot strike was perfect 1-0
Easingworld hit the post 1-0
Sam Jefferson extended the lead 2-0
Easingworld scored 2-1
Huw Jones perfect placement 3-1
Easingworld scored 3-2
Joe Milner lofted over the bar 3-2
Easingworld scored 3-3
Harry Crusher stroked the ball home 4-3
Sam Flinton saved Easingworld’s 5th kick 4-3

Predators thoroughly deserved their trip through to the 3rd round of the League Cup. Next week they face Aviva in the York FA Senior Cup 3rd round.

Jim Hansen

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