BEC and Elim both came into this fixture on the back of wins in the league; Elim edging CLM 3-2 in a close fought derby and BEC dominating the score line against Fishers Firsts in a great 4-1 display. This was BEC’s 3rd game of 8 in back to back weeks up until 21st November after making the semi-final of the National Cup and just missing out on the final last week. This was Elim’s first game away from the Saracens Stadium and the road trip led them to Rugby with the referee for this fixture Kallum Cornish.
Baldwin was rested as precaution after suffering a dead leg last week, against CLM. Hurry was a straight swap with all the other 10 players unchanged. Hughes and Watkins due to work commitments couldn’t make the 14 but Elim welcomed back last seasons top scorer Dirna to the squad with a place on the bench alongside Kirugi. Elim, kept their 3-5-2 formation hoping for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2006 with Baldwin stepping in as temporarily Manager.
Elim in there promotion winning green from last season got the game underway kicking off game week 6. It was BEC that started on the front foot, dominating possession in two thirds of the play but unable to utilise it in the third that really mattered. BEC having a lot of joy down the right hand side, found themselves with 9 corners in the first half with Reid and Moroney winning all headers to protect Betancourt in goal. J.Smith would have Elim’s first real chance trying a cheeky chip to beat the BEC keeper but the shot not cute or accurate enough to create the opener. Moroney has a great chance for an opener too, racing down on goal but just dragging his shot wide.
With the game getting more and more intense first half, tackles kept flying in keeping the ref on his toes. Elim found themselves with a free-kick 20 yards out. C.Smith would whip a shot round the wall but the BEC keeper just as even to it with two hands parmed off for a corner. BEC kept the pressure on, getting into more and more advanced positions but D.Smith, Reid and Hurry just as equal to anything chucked at them clearing lines. The half time whistle was blown, being the 4th out of 5th game Elim had kept a clean sheet in the first 45 minutes, with Hope the only team breaking down the back line.
Baldwin made a double change at half time, to protect the defence and balance out the squad. D.Clark and Dirna made their way into the squad for Richards and Hurry. Elim opting for a 4-5-1, Titman pushed to left back and Dirna to the left wing. The game if anything got feistier second half with every other tackle leaving a foot in from both teams, scrapping for everything. The ref earning his £32, awarded a free-kick on 51st minute. Moroney whipping the ball in for BEC to head to the edge of the box finding D.Smith. The failed NBA superstar from last season took a ‘Ginola’ like touch on the chest and volleyed into the bottom left hand corner showing he was just as cool up top as at the back.
Reid had a great chance on 68th minute to put the game to bed, towering about his man from a Titman corner to greet the ball but dragging his header off target. 3 minutes later Elim would be punished by a ‘controversial’ penalty decision. BEC broke into the box and with the player running away from goal to the right wing, the ref adjudged Reid had took the man then the ball. Elim protests went unheard and the away team were punished with Betancourt finding a hand to the ball but not enough to stop the equaliser.
Kirugi was brought on last 18 for C.Smith with Dirna pushed up top. The Elim’s talisman scored to put the Eagles back up, chipping the keeper but to his despair seen the flag raised and heard the whistle go for the goal to be ruled out. Tackles kept flying in and Cornish must have forgetting his cards as there was a few players that could of seen yellow but the ref definitely had a ‘lenient’ ruling on proceedings. B.Clark and Sampson kept battling and breaking play up to give Elim a much more controlled hold on the game. However, the ball hitting Sampson on the top of the arm give BEC a free kick in a dangerous area, thankfully for the home side to hit high and off target.
With 8 minutes on the clock Sampson was replaced with Richards with Elim and BEC both hoping to steal the points. Tom in goal for BEC even went up for a corner with minutes to go, however with a game intense from the start. There was mild scuffles after the game, with both teams given it everything even after the whistle. Elim’s captain Ben even had time to carry out his big brother protective duties, not happy with a late challenge on Daniel.
However, two teams came for 3 points and ended the game with one a piece. Elim having a strong October picking up 4/6 points from established division one teams. A massive congratulations to Dean Smith for Elim’s man of the match and first goal of the season. Also a massive congratulations to Kai Watts who was sent out on loan for CLM, helping them win 6-2 at home to Christ the King. Finally thoughts and prayers are with Marvin Hurry, who after the game was taking to hospital for a unrelated football health condition. Marv is doing well and hoping to back with his family mid-week. The half term break has come for Elim now, with the Eagles starting prep for a busy November with Coventrians, Meredith and ARYPT.