Sam Jackson marked his first start at the Sir Halley Stewart Stadium with a goal but we were hauled back by Pinchbeck United as a high-energy clash ended all-square at 1-1 on Saturday.
It was a typical blood and thunder league fixture with Jackson hitting the target, but the hosts had the better of the action. We appeared to have weathered that storm and created chances of our own as we sought to make it 2-0 in the opening period, only for the home side to hit back again and finally equalise through Alex Beck on 47 minutes.
That’s how it stayed and we enter the Easter weekend as champions of the United Counties League Premier Division with our unbeaten away league record still in tact.
The game got underway at a frenetic pace with both sides enjoying early counter-attacks, meaning you simply could not take your eyes off of the action. Taylor Orosz led the charge from the front, hassling and harrying the Pinchbeck back four at every opportunity, while at the other end Ross Harris got to grips with Jordan Nuttell.
Despite the blistering start, chances remained at a premium in the early stages as the game was poised on a knife edge.
Oli Maltby brought the best out of Lustin Cerga in the opening eight minutes of the half with a volleyed effort from the edge of the box.
Cerga made his best save with 11 minutes on the clock when he showed lightning fast reactions to palm away a firm strike from Nuttell.
Slowly but surely the home side started to enjoy more of the possession, but we had our first chance with 22 minutes gone when Kieran Fitzgerald saw his close range shot blazed over for a goal kick.
The passage of play seemed to give us more of a footing in the game as we retained the ball better and pushed United back towards their own goal.
It’s an old cliché that you need to score when you are on top and sure enough Jackson fired us in front on 28 minutes. Fitzgerald was in fine form in the opening 45 minutes, regularly seizing possession in key areas and leading the charge going forwards, won a free kick on the edge.
Jackson lashed a dangerous out swinger around the face of the Pinchbeck wall which eventually beat the outstretched Dan Gorman, at his near post.
We were winning the midfield battle with Adam Confue in particular impressing with his power and anticipation.
We might have doubled our advantage shortly afterwards when Jackson galloped down the left but he squandered a great opportunity to find either Confue or Rico Alexander unmarked with a cross.
Pinchbeck regained control and Beck shook the woodwork in the closing stages of the half with a low drive on the angle, after good work from Maltby.
We carried our lead into the interval and Parkinson would have been delighted with what he had seen in the opening period.
Pinchbeck started the second half much like they did the first but this time grabbed a leveller. Beck sprinted behind the Daventry defence and from Matlby’s headed flick on, prodded the ball past Cerga.
We responded well, though, and Taylor Orosz wriggled through soon afterwards and was not far away from resorting our lead, but his shot was blocked.
Back came Ian Dunn’s side, Luke Wilson shaking the side netting with a sliding effort as the game swung from end to end.
Cerga was tested when Jordan Orosz hesitated in possession allowing Jason Field to pick his pocket and play a long ball over the Daventry defence, but Maltby spurned is his first time effort into the palms of the keeper with Beck lurking.
Tom McGowan made way for Phil Cassidy with 27 minutes to go and the midfielder received an ovation from the away support for his tireless performance.
The momentum seemed to be back with the home team who started to enjoy more of the ball but chances continued to come our way, as Taylor Orosz dragged a shot wide that he would have been disappointed not to score with.
Taylor was a thorn in the United’s defence as the game progressed, running in behind and turning them around time after time with his trickery. The forward nearly won a penalty after being brought down on the box by Kofi Ross, but the match official deemed that foul started before the line. Fitzgerald blazed the set piece into the wall.
Pinchbeck were getting closer and looked a threat as substitute Tyler Wright squandered a great opportunity from a long throw when he fired over with ten to go.
We continued to battle right up until the final whistle, though, our defence were drawn into the thick of the action in the closing stages as United pushed for the winner, notably allowing Lee Beeson to somehow over from close range with 3 added minutes gone.
Pinchbeck: Gorman, Wilson, Cartwright, Ross (Jackson 72), Field, Vince, Beeson, Maltby (c), Nuttell (Dunn 75), Beck, West (Wright 65). Substitutes (not used): Shipley, Lovelace.
Town: Cerga, Childs, Lukeman, Harris (c), Alexander, Confue, Fitzgerald, McGowan (Cassidy 63), Jackson (J Orosz 52), Stanbridge, T Orosz. Substitutes (not used): Merrill, Emery, Creaney.
Goals: Pinchbeck – Beck 47. Town – Jackson 28.
Yellow cards: Town – McGowan (Foul) 45, T Orosz (Foul) 67.
|Pinchbeck United FC||Draw|
|April 20, 2019||3:00 pm||United Counties League||2019||90'|
|Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field|