Much-changed Holmer team puts on good performance.
By John Anderson
12th place confirmed. Last gasp equaliser moves Cockfosters above The Greens.
The final match in what has seemed a long end to the season saw Holmer return to Cockfosters for the second midweek running following the storm and tempest that caused last week’s fixture to be abandoned before kick-off. Chris Allen had trouble fielding a side last week and despite Porcelli returning in goal to thwart Gary Lines’s chances of making Woy’s third goalkeeping spot in Brazil, this occasion was no different with eleven players injured, some long-term, ten unavailable due to work and none of the FAB lads available as they had a Cup Final earlier in the day. However, a team was fielded which to its credit performed admirably and although both teams had chances galore, Greens were unfortunate not to take all three points, conceding an 89th minute equaliser in what proved to be an enjoyable end of season encounter. It was an entertaining end to end match with both sides looking stronger offensively than defensively, in Greens’ case unsurprisingly given a reshaped back four.
With Des Morris having missed all but a few minutes of the first half at Harefield after getting lost on Saturday, he ensured attendance at the start of this match by catching a lift with Manager Allen. He almost witnessed an early strike when from the start Blackburne, who threatened all night with his power and pace, attacked down the left and fired just over in the first minute then soon after the same player broke free on the right, but his cross was well intercepted by Little at the expense of a corner. In between, the Greens responded with a driving run by Peddle-James ended with a pass that just eluded Allen in the area. Holmer thought they’d scored soon after when the ever willing Shed chased a ball from Allen, won a throw from which Peddle-James chipped over his shoulder towards goal for Tackley to fire home. Elation turned to frustration as the eagle eyed Assistant flagged for offside to the surprise of the visitor’s followers. Within minutes Brayburne hit a great shot on the turn just past the visitor’s far post and soon after on 18 minutes, the same player created the opening goal. Chasing down a long ball to the by-line, he pulled the ball back across the area for Ansell to fire home with no Holmer player in sight. Despite this setback, the Greens continued to create chances with Shed firing a long range left footer inches wide of the post, then being set up by Derby and Allen, the same player shot just wide of the near post. Then Tackley created chances for Peddle-James and Allen who headed just over, before Shed latched onto a long ball and was unfortunate to see his effort hit the crossbar before being cleared. Holmer were dominating play now and a fine effort from 35 yards by Derby saw Shed’s effort from the rebound saved by the home keeper Neary’s outstretched leg and away for a corner. Holmer had to thank Porcelli for preventing Blackburne increasing the lead forcing the forward to shoot straight at him and the ball was cleared. Two minutes before the interval the Greens should have equalised when Peddle-James made a great run down the middle, fed Allen who tamely chipped into the grateful Neary’s arms. HT 0-1
Holmer almost returned to last year’s failings and were nearly caught cold at the start of the second period when Blackburne hit the crossbar in the first minute with Porcelli beaten. Holmer responded when Peddle-James showed great close control to feed Shed who netted, but was given offside. Then Cockfosters swept forward when Orsi-Dadomo burst through, but Porcelli bravely came out to force a corner. Shortly after, young Louis produced a magnificent double save firstly from Orsi-Dadomo, then Blackburne from the follow-up to prevent the home side increasing their lead. Given all the opportunities they’d had to score it took a bit of luck when the deserved equaliser finally came on 69 minutes. Andy Shed picked up the ball on the left and twisted and turned through several challenges before his left footed cross looped over the keeper and nestled into the far corner of the net. Four minutes later Holmer were ahead when following a free kick into the Cockfosters area, the Referee awarded a penalty for holding and the ever dependable deadball specialist Dean Allen, fired home from the spot.
With Cockfosters showing less and less as an attacking force, it was Holmer who continued to look more likely to score with Allen put through by Derby forcing Robinson to concede the first of three consecutive corners, but a third goal eluded the visitors. With two minutes of normal time remaining, Holmer looked likely to hold on for a battling win, but Orsi-Dadomo had other ideas. His fine effort brought another magnificent save from Porcelli, but with the visitors defence unable to clear the loose ball, Blackburne reacted quickly to shoot home.
Even then it was the Greens who had the last chance when Allen passed onto Shed whose volley from the edge of the area flew just over for the last kick of the game.
The Greens will be disappointed not to have held on for the win, but at the same time would recognise the debt owed to young goalkeeper Louis Porcelli who had probably the best of his 12 matches in Greens colours since joining on loan from Dunstable, making some magnificent saves and showing confidence way beyond his 16 years of age. He looks to have a great future in front of him.
Beating Cockfosters would’ve meant overtaking them in the Final League Table, but as it were Holmer finish in 12th place on 56 points, knowing that if only they could have converted three more of their defeats into draws, they could have finished 8th. Still a great season considering the relegation battles and final positions of the last two seasons and much credit must go to the players and especially to Manager Chris Allen and Assistant Andy Hurley who have apparently now been offered 15 year extensions to their contracts! This is still a relatively young squad with a good team spirit which hopefully they can keep together and with a couple of additions should certainly be capable of a top ten finish next year.
Apologises for this report being longer than usual, but there was so much to write about. Enjoy the summer, a little matter of the World Cup to look forward to as well as interest in who Fulham sign to try and attempt Championship survival following relegation, before pre-season training starts in a few weeks time!
Team: Porcelli, McMullin, Little, Layton, Dulieu, Williams, Peddle-James, Derby, Allen, Shed, Tackley.
Substitute Not Used: Lines
Report by John Ostinelli