LAST GASP EQUALISER DENIES TOWN
By David Hollingsbee
A FAVERSHAM Town squad stripped to the bare bones earned a highly creditable draw in East Surrey against The Leafe.
However, there's a but. The words "highly creditable draw" were so nearly something much more extraordinary from the big book of football hyperbole. Notwithstanding the fact that Town were only able to muster a squad of 12 today, this was, and should be remembered as a fine result on the road. A very decent point. But once again, Town succumbed to that worrying recent trend of conceding late and ultimately snatched a draw from the jaws of victory.
In terms of territory, Whytleafe have the better of the early exchanges. But it's a ten minute wait until their territorial advantage delivers a chance. Josh Adusei's 22 yard strike bounces awkwardly in front of Simon Overland, but it's well held by the Town keeper diving low to his right.
Faversham respond with a decent passing move. Chris Barnard wins good possession in right midfield and exchanges passes with Dan Carrington before releasing Harry Stannard who gets to the byline and delivers a low centre into the area. With Luke Griffiths arriving, the keeper does well to claim before the Town midfielder can make a decisive contact.
At the other end Leafe attack down their right. Lanre Azeez cuts inside Matt Bourne and lays it into the path of Vance Bola who drills a low shot across goal and wide of the right hand post. Overland does well to make it difficult for the Leafe forward, but a glorious chance spurned by the home side.
Faversham Town and Whyteleafe continue to trade chances.
From the Faversham left, a quickly taken throw along the touchline releases Griffiths who takes it on, looks up and pulls a ball back for Stannard in the area. Perhaps with more time than he thought, Stannard sidefoots the strike a couple of feet over the bar. Town's turn to spurn a very presentable chance.
Whyteleafe finish the half with a couple of decent chances.
A Town move breaks down in midfield, the ball finds it way quickly to Azeez in the area, but his angled drive is well gathered by Overland diving to his right.
Again Azeez is released into the area, a ball from the right invites the shot, but a full-bloodied block by Ryan Cheek ensures the Town goal remains unbreached.
0-0 at H-T.
Chances prove difficult to come by early in the second half.
Barnard's quick throw releases Stannard down the left. Stannard cuts inside Joseph Debayo who brings the Margate loanee down. After 15 minutes, a free-kick in a decent position - some 25 yards out. Danny Walder's free-kick cannons off the wall. Barnard's subsequent cross into the area is cleared for a corner.
A ball from midfield releases Griffiths down the right. The subsequent ball into the area is met on the bounce by both Stannard and Leafe's Luca Wrightman challenging for what seems a 50/50. Post challenge, the referee awards Wrightman a yellow and Town a penalty.
Walder accepts the penalty-taking responsibility and slams a perfect penalty into the furthest reaches of the right hand side of the net. The Whyteleafe keeper admits defeat and gives up on his dive at the point he realises he's going in the wrong direction. (0-1 after 69 minutes).
Whtyeleafe attempt an immediate response. Sam Clayton's low, drilled strike from 22 yards safely gathered by Overland who gets everything behind it.
Whyteleafe push forward. A quick break finds Clayton left hand side of the area, a snap shot and again Overland gets down to make the save and retain the ball-vital with attackers arriving in numbers.
A long ball is spread wide right for Azzez. The cross into the area strikes the upper side of the Faversham bar and away to safety.
Faversham stem the Whyteleafe flow. Carrington gets a toe in to nick the ball and finds Griffiths and then onto Stannard in the area. Just as the trigger is about to be pulled, a Whyteleafe toe pokes it away for a corner. Walder's deep corner to the back stick is somehow cleared for a corner, just denying Bourne as he shapes to make contact.
With two minutes remaining on the clock, Griffiths is forced off injured. Toby Greenfield comes on as replacement.
Leafe still push forward in search of the equaliser.
A cross from the right into a busy area. Overland punches, but only with height not distance. As the ball comes down, Debayo heads over from close range.
And deep into injury time as heroic victory beckons, Town concede a free-kick down the Whyteleafe left. Clayton drills a free-kick into the area, Azeez reacts quickest and forces it home from close range. (1-1 after 92).
1-1 at F-T.