February 23, 2013 by Matthew Bradley
Two early goals condemned Greenalls PSO to a 2-1 defeat against Middlewich Town on Saturday afternoon.
The game started with Jack Hynes playing in an unfamiliar role in the central defence with Paul Dobson injured, and Scott Owen starting at right back.
Greenalls started slowly, with Craig Clare’s smart save keeping out a Sam O’Sullivan strike early on. In the 10th minute Middlewich went ahead, Craig Millington picked the ball up with room to run into, and the prolific marksman dinked the ball over Clare to put his side into an early lead.
The home side, despite the start, troubled Middlewich, Lee Hughes’s opted for a low driven free kick which was parried away by makeshift goalkeeper Dean Burgess, and Ben Slater shot over from long range. It would be Greenalls picking the ball out of the net next however, when Matthew Herd scored in the 23rd minute. The number 11 wasn’t picked up outside the box, and his low shot met the corner of the goal with precision.
34 minutes in and Greenalls got a goal back. Ben Slater was the scorer, meeting a corner kick with a header. The goal featured a massive error from keeper Burgess, who appeared to catch the ball before letting it slip through, into the goal.
Half time came with no other action of note, and the second half was largely similar. Greenalls were without doubt the better side in the second half, as Middlewich attempted to cement their lead by playing on the counter attack. Despite controlling the game, Greenalls struggled to create clear cut chances, as Middlewich’s defence stood firm.
Corner kicks were proving to be Greenalls most dangerous weapon, the constant balls into the box putting Burgess to the test. 84 minutes in Rob Hanley produced a lovely touch and turn inside the opposition box, but the finish couldn’t produce a goal, which would have capped a lovely move.
The second half might have in general lacked action, but the dying moments certainly did not. Gareth Johns attacked Middlewich constantly through the second half, and in the 90th min it appeared his persistence had paid off when he was brought down in the box. No penalty was given, despite it appeared a clear cut incident, to the dismay of the Greenalls coaching staff and fans. This was to be the last incident in the game.
The Greens next test comes in a week’s time as Rainhill pose the final hurdle on the road to the Guardian Cup Final.