Sports started the day in 15th spot, clear of the drop zone but, with a few games in hand on many above them, looking to move into the top half with a few wins. Daventry, meanwhile, came into the game just six points outside the play-off spots. The reverse fixture, back in September, had been a rollercoaster affair. Easington led 1-0 at the break, Daventry then went 2-1 up before Easington equalised, only to concede a 98th minute winner from Nabil Shariff. Coincidentally, my first game of this season was Daventry's trip to Wellingborough Town, a game they lost 2-1 as well as being reduced to nine players just before the end (Paddy's Piledriver Sinks Double Red Daventry). Today's Daventry side bore little resemblance to the team that took the field at the Dog and Duck in August, in fact there appeared to only be two names on the team sheet that were in the squad on that opening day. In contrast, Easington were celebrating a couple of appearance landmarks prior to kick-off. Joe Eyre became the club's joint leading appearance holder (alongside Joe Rose), his 220th game in red & white. Striker Luke Swann was making his 150th appearance for the club. An impressive total for a 21-year old. Congratulations to both Joe and Luke.
Of course, when a team is beginning to get on top they can sometimes get caught out at the back and that's exactly what happened on 27 minutes. A long clearance from Myatt was flicked on by Howards into the path of Josh Wynne who slid the ball under Tom Carter. 1-0
The goal changed the complexion of the game. Sports now looked the more confident and were in search of a second goal. They came close to it after 36 minutes when Callum Convey's free-kick took a large deflection, looping over everyone but dropping narrowly wide of the far post. From the resulting corner, the ball clipped the top of the Daventry bar before being cleared.
Having steadied their ship after conceding, Daventry began to push for an equaliser towards the end of the half. One dangerous delivery into the box was bravely dealt with by Myatt, flying off his line to punch clear and colliding with Little into the bargain. Both players took a knock but were soon back up and ok to continue. Then, in the lats minute of normal time, a moment of some controversy when Daventry had what, to me, looked a nailed on penalty denied. The tackle came in from behind the attacker and there didn't appear to be any contact with the ball. However, the referee waved paly on and the assistant, who was closer than me, didn't flag. The Daventry players and bench were not happy, and you could see why. As they left the pitch for the break, Daventry's coach made his feelings clear to the referee and one or two Easington players.
HT Easington Sports 1 Daventry Town 0. After an initial period of sparring, Daventry looked to be getting on top but were caught by a route one goal. That changed the game and gave Sports the upper hand. However, Daventry should have had a penalty right at the death. All set up for an interesting second half.
That was the 54th minute. On the stroke of the hour, Daventry were back in it, and what a lovely goal it was too. Connor Furlong, who had looked a treat all game, curled a stunner into the top corner, giving Myatt no chance. 2-1.
Daventry were now the team in the ascendancy and had a golden opportunity to level it just a mionutes later when a cross from the right was met first time by Sharifff, only for his drive to whistle just past the post when he probably shoudl have hit the target.
Shortly afterwards, with the match descending into a stop/start affair and frustration rising for the visiotrs, Daventry had another penalty shout. Thsi time I did not have a clear view of the incident, but certainly the Daventry team and bench were convinced, as too were a group of Easington supporters nearby. The referee was now struglging to keep control over the game. Theer were a number of incidents happening all over the pitch as Easington slowed the game down at every opportunity, adding to the frustrations of the Daventry players.
After the final whistle there were handshakes all round and it seemed that the edginess of the second half had dissipated. However, it suddenly got a bit heated in the middle and the referee issued at least one red card, seemingly aimed at the Daventry coach and possibly a hangover from the first half dispute.
FT Easington Sports 2 Daventry Town 1. A good win for Easington but a little harsh on Daventry, who should definitely have had one penalty, maybe even two. On the balance of play, a draw would have been a fairer result. However, take nothing from Easington. After Daventry pulled a goal back, the home side managed the game really well. Slowing it down at every opportunity, defending resolutely and generally frustrating their opponents. Easington move up a place in the table. Daventry remain six points outside the playoffs but have now played two more than Aylestone Park, who occupy the all important fifth place. They have an opportunity to close the gap again on Saturday when they welcome bottom side Leicester Nirvana to Elderstubbs. Daventry won the reverse fixture 3-0. Easington, meanwhile, make the trek East to face 17th placed Godmanchester Rovers, who they have already beaten 5-0 earlier in the season.
Easington Sports: Myatt, Watkin, Humphreys, Barton(c), Kinch, Swann, Convey, Wynne, Champkins, Watts, Howards. Subs: Eyre, White, Doak, Fuller, Mercer
Daventry Town: Carter, Magagada, Singh Bahrey, Brown, Jackson, Dallas, Fulton, Lashley, Little, Shariff, Furlong. Subs: Masumbuko, Childs, Reeves, McIlvaney, Cerga
It's been over six years since I last visited Addison Road. That day they also won 2-1, beating Headington Amateurs in a Division One West clash (Clan Edge Out A's). From what I can see, not that much has changed in the intervening years. Parking at the ground is very limited. However, there is plenty of space available at the adjacent Blessed George Napier School, with marshalls directing traffic to parking areas. It's only a 2 minute walk to the turnstile from the school car park. Entering through the turnstile you find yourself behind one of the goals. Immediately to your left is the clubhouse, snack bar and, further down, players and officials changing block. To your right there is a covered single step terrace (this may not have been there 6 years ago). On the right-hand side of the ground there is a covered seating stand and the dugouts. The opposite side is hard-standing with no spectator cover. The far end of the ground is not accessible to spectators. The pitch has a slight slope from the clubhouse end towards the opposite goal.
Ground Number: Re-Visit