ECU 18’s score late to beat League Leaders

ECU 18’s score late to beat League Leaders

Posted on May 12, 2011 in 'Reports'

ECU v FLOREAT ATHENA MAY 7 2011 (by Trevor Chapman)

A vastly improved ECU performance resulted in a thrilling 3-2 win for the boys against league leaders Floreat Athena.  The return of Henry Durr and Jordan Lyden added some much needed experience and energy to the team, particularly in the midfield area, and this brought out a positive response from all of the team.  The defence looked very strong with Jamie Blue stepping in for the suspended Cameron Burgess and Alex Sallery replacing a flu-stricken Alex Davies early in the game, enabling Durr to move into a preferred midfield role.

Such a positive performance looked highly unlikely in the fourth minute when Floreat went ahead from their first meaningful attack.  Breaking swiftly after clearing an ECU attack, Danny Tran went on a surging run down the right before delivering a beautiful cross to the far post for a simple tap in for Floreat. Not the start new keeper Ellis Compton wanted given he had not touched the ball at this stage.

ECU responded immediately with some great moves down the right flank with Durr, Davies and Hargreaves linking well and one surging run from Durr resulted in a fine low cross to Gareth Hamilton, who had his shot well saved.  Floreat responded with another great move down the left and a cross to the far post with Tran driving in a fierce low drive, which was excellently saved by keeper Compton. Then it was ECU on the attack again this time Durr linked with Jordan Lyden and his low cross was met by Danny Dixon, only to see his shot blocked.

Henry Durr was causing all sorts of problems for Floreat with his direct running into the box and on 39 minutes a fine through ball from Hargreaves saw Durr get to the by-line before pulling the ball back to the oncoming Hamilton, who drove into the net to level the scores at 1-1.  The same players repeated the move two minutes later only to see the shot blocked this time. Floreat were also helping make this a very entertaining match and were exceptionally quick on the break and very direct in their style of play.  They had several chances late in the half but were thwarted by some excellent defending by Chapman and Blue in the centre of the ECU defence, ably supported by a tenacious performance from Jack Strachan, who looks more and more comfortable in his new role of Left Back with each game. Ellis Compton also had a fine debut with a string of good saves and a commanding performance in his own penalty area.

Hamilton had a good chance early in the second half but his shot went just wide of the post.  On 58 minutes a beautiful defence splitting pass after good work from Lee James found Hamilton clean through on goal, with only the keeper to beat, but the distinguished midfield schemer got stage fright in a rare moment of one-on-one with the keeper, and shot straight at him.

Minutes later ECU were awarded a free kick on the 25 metre mark and Declan Hargreaves stepped up to drive a superb strike past the despairing Floreat keeper to put ECU into the lead.  ECU pushed for a third goal to try and seal the game but Floreat countered at every opportunity.  In the 65th minute ECU again needlessly conceded a free kick on the edge of their own box, and a neatly taken free kick from Floreat saw a low drive somehow go though nine ECU defenders and half a dozen Floreat players in the ECU box and past a helpless Compton.

With the score locked at 2-2 both teams went in search of a winner but both were wary of taking too many risks.  In all honesty the game looked like ending in a 2-2 draw, perhaps a fair result on the day, but ECU mounted one final attack in the 89th minute.  Liam Chapman broke up another Floreat attack and drove a fine long through ball into the path of Lee James.  As the keeper came out to the edge of the box James calmly lobbed the ball over him and into the top of the net to seal a thrilling 3-2 win for ECU amid wild celebrations from the ECU boys.