COMBINED COUNTIES LEAUGUE PREMIER DIVISION
SATURDAY 28 JANUARY 2012
EGHAM TOWN 3 (1) COVE 1 (0)
Egham Town scorers: Enrico Rossoni
(36), Matt Grave
2 (50, 90+2)
Egham recorded a fine league double over Cove with a win that was more hard fought than it should have been. Playing a team over whom they had earlier triumphed by 7-1, and sitting in third place, there was understandable expectation that the home side would collect three points without any undue trouble. It did not quite work out like that, even though Egham were eventually deserved winners.
Cove began quite brightly with Laurie Walters twice testing Egham keeper Paul Borg
in the opening twenty minutes. These chances had come on the break, their defence standing up well to a series of Egham attacks that almost always ended with the referee's assistant lifting his flag. Before they opened the scoring the closest Egham had come to finding the net was when Cove's Elliott Firth diverted Tom Hedges
' cross just over the bar. Had Kevin Dalrymple put more meat behind his shot with 26 minutes gone the game might have taken on a very different complexion. With the visitors' offside trap working well Egham took to running at the defence from deep and Dale Marvell
twice worked his way into decent positions to threaten Cathal MacLean in the Cove goal before Egham got some reward for their attacking intent. Egham don't do route one very often but Borg launched the ball to the centre circle, Luke Muldowney
flicked the ball on, as did Matt Grave
, straight onto Enrico Rossoni
's right foot, from where the ball was sent fizzing into the net from twelve yards. (Perhaps it was the change of boots from yellow to orange?) The attacks continued, Hedges and Jamie Houghton
linking for Grave to shoot just over, but again Cove could have scored, Vinnie Bond forcing Borg to save just before the half time whistle.
Seconds into the second period Marvell sent in a corner that Dan Hartlebury
headed just over MacLean's bar. Five minutes later the Jungle End net was bulging, Grave outpacing the defence as he collected Houghton's excellent through ball and slammed the ball past MacLean. Cove would not lie down; Bond fired in a powerful cross shot that pulled a superb full length save from Borg. After 58 minutes it was the Egham keeper taking the ball from his net after Walters lashed in a shot from the edge of the box after a corner fell to him. Rossoni gave way to Brendan Matthew
, whose raw pace gave the Cove defence something else to think about. Within a minute of coming on he almost made it 3-1 as Grave flicked on Aarron Taylor-Ives' clearance into his path, outrunning Anthony Millerick before prodding his shot wide of the mark. Grave and Marvell continued to keep the Cove defence busy, the latter almost scoring direct from a 73rd minute corner kick before he went off, Tom Brunton replacing him. Two minutes that substitution looked inspired. Egham finished the match with a superb passage of quick passing started by Hedges and involving Grave and Houghton before Brunton, out on the left side of the box, had the clarity of vision to see that Grave was unmarked on the far post and, with the box crowded, delivered one of the passes of the season right onto Grave's right foot, a yard from goal. The finish was simple, and fully merited.
Egham's next game is the eagerly awaited EL Records Premier Challenge Cup Third Round tie against season-long CCL One leaders Guernsey, who were just down the road, winning 3-1 against Feltham. The tie winners will be facing Staines Lammas at Ashford Town's ground in the next round. Next Saturday Egham place Croydon, who ran the Sarnies far too close for comfort at The Arena in a game the visitors edged 3-2.
The next games will be against Camberley Town (away) on 11 February, Molesey (home) on Valentine's Day and then South Park at the Runnymede Stadium on the 18th.
EGHAM TOWN: Paul Borg
, Dan Hartlebury
, Jake Galbraith
, Aarron Taylor-Ives (captain), Ken During
, Luke Muldowney
, Jamie Houghton
, Enrico Rossoni
, Dale Marvell
, Matt Grave
, Tom Hedges
. Subs: Paul Bartholomew
, Tom Brunton (Marvell, 88), Lee Pasmore
, Josh Henry, Brendan Matthew