Larkhall Athletic 3 Fleet Town 1
In a game made more difficult by the wet weather, Fleet gave another fine performance, playing good football but ending up without any reward. The first chance fell to the home sides Geraint Bater, when play opened up in front of him, he let fly, but his effort flew wide. Fleet were soon down the other end, a fine team build up saw interplay between Kofi Halliday and Callum Abraham-Barlow on the left got the ball into the box for Ronan Silva and Harryson Wickens to set up the opening for Abdul Rajab to shot, but his effort also flew wide. Larkhall had a spell where they were on top, helped by getting a lot of dead ball situations from free kicks given for the inevitable contact with players sliding and falling on the wet surface, one such free kick taken by Mason Winter, found the head of Josh Jones within the six yard box, but he was denied by another fine save from Brendan Norris who reached the ball to turn it round the post. Larkhall took the lead after a quarter of an hour when a low ball was fired from the left wing and got touched in by new signing Mitchell Page at the near post. After the goal the game settled with most of the action in midfield and balls forward running off the wet surface giving defenders time to clear any danger, Sam Williams and Brendan Norris being very strong at sweeping up the loose balls. Brendan being the busier keeper, but Shaun Semmens was called into action at the other end, when Kofi Halliday played the ball to Layton Avenell on the right, young Layton had time and space to get his shot away forcing keeper Semmens to come across and make the save. Larkhall’s Harry Hope had the best chance to double the lead before the break when he ran through the Fleet defence line only to fire his shot well over the goal.
Fleet suffered a setback in the opening moments when Layton Avenell took a knock after making a defensive clearance, he tried to limp on, but could not continue and was replaced by Danilo Cadete. With Larkhall finding it difficult to get through, they were forced to shoot from distance, their defender Mason Winter got forward and found the space to shoot from the edge of the box, the ball flew high over into the trees behind the bottom goal. Fleet made another change on the hour, introducing Enow Ojong into the game and a minute later it was Abdul Rajab getting the ball on the left he took the ball forward and into the box, seemed to take an age to get away from keeper Shaun Semmens and slide the ball home for the equaliser. The goal lifted Fleet all over the pitch and they dominated the match, with Danilo Cadete opening up Larkhall time and again, one move saw him play in Kofi Halliday who laid the ball back to Billy Oram to shoot, but his effort flew over the bar. Danilo’s next probe got the ball to Abdul Rajab, but he also shot over. With Fleet in charge, the home bench got more and more agitated screaming and shouting at their players to do better, which only seemed to make their players more aggressive in their tackles, some not always picked up by the officials or dealt with in the way a minor contact was the other way as conditions worsened in the rain. Against the run of play, Larkhall’s Wayne Nderemani burst through on his right, he shot low across goal past Brendan Norris into the net, to put the home side back in front. With a quarter of an hour left, there would have been time for Fleet to look for a second leveller but only a minute after the goal, Larkhall were given a Penalty by the (Lady) Referee, when a Larkhall player appeared to just fall over the ball, after a lot of heated argument against the decision, Matt Britton placed the ball and fired a great Penalty into the net, to make it 3-1 to the hosts. Fleet battled on but could not find a way break through again, which could have made the end of the game even more exciting.
With this being Larkhall’s last home game before Christmas, they held their annual raffle, they had been collecting for all year and Fleet supportters/committee winning at least two of the prizes, not everyone went home empty handed.
Fleet Town : 1 Brendan Norris, 2 Joe Wilson, 3 Callum Abraham-Barlow, 4 Ronan Silva, 5 Stuart Derry, 6 Sam Williams, 7 Layton Avenell, 8 Billy Oram, 9 Kofi Halliday, 10 Harryson Wickens, 11 Abdul Rajab.
Subs : 12 Danilo Cadete (On for Avenell 50 mins), 14 Daniel Framp (on for Rajab 90 mins), 16 Enow Ojong (on for Wickens 60 mins)