|North Greenford United||2|
Against Beaconsfield SYCOB on Saturday, following the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a much needed win at Northwood on Bank Holiday Monday, North Greenford went one better to secure all three points after a hard-fought, well-deserved and crucial 2-1 victory over the side currently lying third in the Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central table.
Despite again having to survive a lengthy period of injury time at the end of the game, Greenford held on to the lead Zak Joseph had given the Blues early in the second period after the first half had ended all square, with both teams having scored from the penalty spot.
United’s penalty was awarded within the opening three minutes when Joseph was brought down after dribbling past two defenders into the Rams area. Named as captain for the day, Blues striker Ricky Pither took responsibility for the spot kick and made no mistake, driving the ball low and hard into the corner to notch up his fourth goal in five games.
Beaconsfield’s equaliser came as the game was approaching the half hour mark. Up to this point United had coped well with the threat posed by the Rams pacey forwards as well as posing questions of their own in their opponents’ half.
With both Jamie Diston and Nick Turner unwell, Danny Bennell and new signing Liam Hind were doing an excellent job in the centre of the Greenford defence, well supported by full-backs Nathan Fearon and Sean Roberts, with the hard-working midfield and forwards playing their part in closing down their opponents in all areas of the park.
On twenty-eight minutes a powerful strike from outside the box struck Bennell on the arm and referee Guy Poynter had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. As Pither had done earlier, Rams striker Lee Barney kept his composure to level the score with an accurate low drive that gave Blues keeper Aaron Bufton no chance.
Beaconsfield, fired up by the goal, tried to raise their game in what was developing into an intriguing contest, but were met by continued dogged resistance from a determined Greenford side that was also continuing to threaten on the counter attack. Neither goalkeeper though was seriously tested and the score remained at 1-1 up to the interval.
United’s confidence had clearly been lifted by whatever had been said to the players in the dressing room at half time, as the side began the second period prepared to take the game to their opponents and playing what was easily their best football in recent games.
Just five minutes into the half, midfielder Sean Hillier played a through ball to Joseph out on the left who, as he had regularly done earlier in the season, took on the defence as he drove into the penalty area before firing a shot across Rams keeper Mike Power-Simpson into the far corner.
From then on, if anything, the workrate of the Greenford team was even greater than it had been in the first forty-five minutes as each and every player continued to press and close down their high-flying opponents determined to protect their lead as well as looking for opportunities to extend it.
Inevitably the side had to survive periods of intense Beaconsfield pressure as the home side tried to get themselves back on level terms, but they were doing so more comfortably and with greater confidence than in their recent equally hard-fought drawn games against Ashford Town, AFC Hayes and Northwood.
When Mr Poynter finally blew his whistle to end the contest the entire Greenford contingent – players, management team and supporters – realised the significance of this win, the side’s first in the league since beating Bedfont Town back in November. Even though the need to keep feet firmly on the ground is recognised by all concerned, the signs for the remainder of the season look extremely promising.
On Tuesday United face a long journey to play Bedford Town in the Third Round of the Red Insure Cup. Next Saturday the club is at home to Biggleswade Town with the three times rearranged home fixture against Marlow scheduled for the following Tuesday (17th).
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