Division 2 Football: Long Road To Safety For Clare
Clare denied victory by extra-time equaliser. Read the full match report and see the Division 2 table here
Clare 3 – 3 Long Road
In a match filled with controversy a last gasp equaliser denied Clare a shock victory over Long Road. The result ends Long Road’s 100% record in the league and gives Clare another precious point in their quest to stay in Division 2.
Whilst clear cut chances were at a premium, the game was not short of excitement and this began almost straight from kick off, with the Long Road captain lucky to stay on the pitch after a moronic challenge.
The horrendous conditions were never likely to be conducive to excellent football and so it proved in the first twenty minutes, with both sides manoeuvring the ball well but little end product.
Long Road’s first goal was hotly disputed and against the run of play; a high ball played into the box was pushed onto the bar by Clare keeper Matt Rose and to the surprise of both players and spectators a goal was given. Despite the protestations of the Clare players and a five minute debate the goal stood.
Clare reacted excellently to going behind and soon found a well deserved equaliser. After good work from Will Mardle on the right flank, striker Dom Sedgwick fired an outrageous 30 yard screamer into the top corner to restore parity.
The goal rattled Long Road and wild challenges began to fly in from both teams as the game progressed towards half time.
The second half began with a snowstorm that forced both sides off for a 20 minute break until the conditions improved. When the game resumed the bad blood of the first half continued, with several dangerous challenges coming in from both teams leading to handbags.
Long Road deservedly took the lead after lax defending allowed their winger to chip the ball over Clare keeper Rose.
However Clare looked dangerous on the counter attack, and moving centre back Andrew Pinnington up front gave the side more shape.
This paid dividends as an excellent ball from Justin Armitage into Pinnington saw him evade two challenges on the half way line before sweeping the ball across to Tobi Ayorinde, who calmly lifted the ball over the Long Road keeper to make the game 2-2.
Clare believed they could get the three points their performance deserved and after more excellent link up play from Armitage and Pinnington, Armitage rounded the keeper with ease and ran the ball into the net to give Clare an unlikely lead.
Bookings came thick and fast as both teams indulged in some gamesmanship with time running out. The referee added on 8 minutes for various stoppages, and this proved to be Clare’s downfall as an innocuous through ball was slotted home.
Neither side will be happy with a point but it appeared a fair result in a full-blooded match. Clare still find themselves in the relegation zone on goal difference, paying the price for their dire early season form, whilst Long Road will still be confident of claiming the Division 2 title after winning four and drawing only one so far.
Queens’ 2 – 1 Churchill
King’s 3 – 3 Darwin