Historic first Hellenic game ends in two-goal win
By John Anderson
Stone and West see Holmer home
The Greens handed starting debuts to Alex Partridge, Michael Duffy, Jamie West, and Luke Rhyll. Jonathan Cox came on a as a late substitute to make it 5 first appearances for the Club. All this in Holmer’s first ever Hellenic game. United have been at Step 4 as recently as five years ago, and have been at Step 6 since then. But they were expected to prove a tough test for The Greens, and they did indeed show that they will probably be in “the mix” further into the season.
Despite the dry weather, Neil Gardner had ensured a good surface to play on. The lurid green ball used in the new league provoked plenty of comment, but didn’t cause any obvious problem. The first 45 minutes were fairly tame. Pawel Kotwica was fouled in midfield within the first five minutes, pretty innocuously in most spectators’ opinion. But he had to be replaced with young Adam Riley. A shot by Duffy from a chance set up by Matt Wooster proved to be the home side’s first real chance. On 42 minutes another Wooster pass found Dean Powles. He executed a smart turn and got a firm shot off. The visitors’ ‘keeper saved low at the expense of a fruitless corner. In between these incidents United had a loud shout for a penalty, but the well-positioned Referee was unimpressed. HT 0-0
With the game evenly balanced, Holmer went ahead when on 50 minutes a forward pass on the left wing, which appeared to be going for a goal-kick, rebounded off the corner flag. Although a defender got there first he was under sufficient pressure, from Wooster, to make his pass back to the ‘keeper within the penalty area along the goal-line need a perfect first touch. The ‘keepers’ touch didn’t look too bad, but before the ball came back down to volley Wooster was on it and was tripped by the custodian. Curtis Stone stepped forward with the opportunity to score The Greens’ first-ever Hellenic goal. His effort was saved at full stretch, but the ball merely rebounded to the centre of the goal where Stone scored from “open play”. On 58 minutes Holmer extended their lead. West ran on to a through ball and physically held off two defenders as he drew the ‘keeper out. He deftly flicked the ball across the goal into the far corner. Almost immediately an Abingdon effort was inadvertently deflected goal-wards by Martin Lancaster. However Partridge flung himself across the home goal to preserve the two-goal cushion.
United would have 4 opportunities between now and the end of the game to score from a corner. With only one centre-half (Dean Munday) available out of six signed on, The Greens were vulnerable to such situations. But the home team as a whole always got someone in between the header and the goal, unless it was misdirected under pressure anyway. Both Powles and West
had opportunities to increase Holmer’s lead, but failed to test the United ‘keeper. A couple of further home substitutions stiffened The Greens’ resolve, and they saw out four minutes of stoppage time.
Team: Partridge, JJ Jarrott, Duffy, Lancaster, Munday, Rhyll, Wooster, Stone ©, West, Powles, Kotwica.
Substitutes Used: Riley, Anthony Tyson, & Cox.
Report by John Anderson