Nailsea United edge out Shirehampton in thriller
By elpresident | Saturday, February 09, 2013, 18:07
Nailsea United 2 Shirehampton 1
On Saturday Nailsea entertained an in form Shirehampton side that had not lost a league match since mid September. With United losing their last two games they needed to be on top form to keep the rampant Bristol side at bay. Returning to the home side were keeper Scott Kendall and mid field general Ellis Wilmot.
Nailsea started the better of the two sides with Ryan King whipping in a cross from the left that the Shire defence bundled out for a corner. On 10 minutes good approach play saw the ball at the feet of Jim Lee who made space before unleashing a shot that cannoned off of the crossbar with the Shire keeper well beaten.
The visitors then began to show why they have such a long unbeaten run by taking the game to the home side. This pressure paid off on 20 minutes following a mix up in the Nailsea defence, Shire took the lead with an opportunistic goal. Play became very open with both defences playing well. The equaliser came on the half hour mark. Jim Lee won the ball well to play it wide to Ryan King on the left, a deft pass found Matt Long who kept his composure to rifle the ball past the Shire keeper.
Both sides entertained the crowd with good football with Nailsea coming the closest to taking the lead a minute before half time. An Ellis Wilmot free kick was fed to Mike Rowcliffe on the edge of the box, his powerfully hit ground shot beat the Shire keeper but was kept out by two defenders on the line.
The scoreline at half time of 1 – 1 was a good reflection on the first half with two very well matched sides.
As at the start of the first half, Nailsea were quickest out of the blocks to nearly take the lead on 50 minutes. A flowing move started on the right flank by Matt Long saw him set Steve Lester away, his dangerous cross fizzed across the Shire goal area to Ryan King whose shot was well saved by the advancing Shire keeper.
Shirehampton then had their second wind forcing Scott Kendall to save at full stretch on 55 minutes. With a swift counter attack the visitors struck the Nailsea cross bar with the ball rebounding to safety. This was a worrying period for the Nailsea supporters who were grateful to Scott Kendall for pushing another goal bound shot around the post. The game continued to sway one way then the other with Nailsea replacing goal scorer Matt Long with Chris Lawrence with 10 minutes to go. Immediately Nailsea scored what turned out to be the winning goal. A cross from the left by Ryan King was bundled into the Shirehampton net by Steve Lester assisted by Chris Lawrence.
Further substitutions then took place with Ryan King and Rob Brown being replaced by Lee Cogan and Liam Lester. The last few minutes saw Shirehampton striving to save the game but the United defence stood firm with Scott Kendall again demonstrating his excellent handling skills.
Finally the referee blew for full time for a well deserved win for Nailsea, even members of the visiting Shirehampton crowd said that United were worthy winners. This win takes Nailsea to fourth place in the league leapfrogging both Shirehampton and Minehead Town. It was encouraging to see Nailsea return to somewhere near their best form against a well organised Shirehampton side. Both sides are to be congratulated on serving up a high standard of competitive football which was a credit to the Somerset County League.
Next week United are home again to Langford Rovers who always provide stern competition. Kick off 2.30pm.