Holland 3 Barkingside 2
Thurlow Nunn Division One South
Saturday 31st July
The brothers Cowler – Harvey and Reuben – were the talismen that helped Holland open their season with a 3-2 win. Clinical finishing from set pieces and a header gunned down a Barkingside outfit who had perhaps deserved a point from their endeavours.
It was a dream start for the hosts, a complete nightmare for Barkingside though, as within the opening minute one of their defenders had fouled Harry Finch in the box leaving the referee with no option but to award a penalty. Reuben Cowler stepped up and thumped the penalty home to give the Tangerines an early lead.
But Barkingside went on to equalise with a wonder goal in the 10th minute. A ball played to James Peagram saw the Side forward control it with his right foot, before hooking the ball into the bottom corner of the net. And four minutes later it was Barkingside’s turn to be awarded a penalty after Reece Simpson was hauled down. Peagram duly despatched the penalty home to complete a turn-around. Amazing action – with only a quarter of an hour played!
However the game then saw chances dry up, although the hosts did have more of the possession. But other then a Harvey Cowler header and a Keelan Sorrell free kick to contend with, Duncan Smith the Side keeper was not made to do too much work for the rest of the half. Holland almost found a way through towards the end of the half, but heroic defending by Naseer Ishanzadeh prevented Scott Sloots firing a shot off from close range.
The hosts started the second half in buoyant mood and were back on terms within four minutes. Barkingside again gave away a cheap foul in a dangerous position and were again punished as Reuban Crowler bent his free kick into the top corner of the net.
Now that they were level, the Tangerines now put their foot down and within minutes had a slew of chances, with Ryan Mahon’s dinked shot just missing the target followed soon afterwards by a Josh Rutter shot that cannoned into the side-netting. And the Side defence also had to withstand a string of Holland corners. So one sided had the action been, that it wasn’t until the 67th minute until Barkingside could make a foray forward. However Archie Hammond placed his shot over the cross bar.
The visitors then had a little spell of dominance, that started in the 70th minute when a free kick was headed goalward by Elliot Scott which was cleared off the line. A Shaquel Foyewa cross shot was deflected for a corner, with Luke Avenell then having to produce a top class save to tip a Simpson shot over the bar. Avenell also palmed away a Simpson cross in the 84th minute.
The game then swung back in Holland’s favour when they won a corner in the 87th minute. The resulting corner was met by a powerful Harvey Cowler headed which sailed past Smith to hand Holland the lead.
But even then the points were not secured as a minute later Scott went close with a header for the visitors, who then had a final chance to level the scores in injury time but Scott could only head Simpson’s accurate cross onto the bar.
Both sides had battled hard but Holland had perhaps shaded it in terms of possession, and of course were clinical with set pieces which ultimately saw them win a tight game.
Holland: Luke Avenell, Kieran Michaels, James Williams, Toby Harms, Harvey Cowler (Capt), Ally McInnes, Josh Rutter, Keelan Sorrell, Scott Sloots (Ben Dixon 87′), Harry Finch (Ryan Mahon 46′), Reuban Cowler.
Scorers – Reuban Cowler (1’p, 49′)
Barkingside: Duncan Smith, Naseer Ishanzadeh (Jordan Cornelius 57′), Osas Umaru, Jay Jones, Shaquel Foyewa, Elliott Scott (Capt), David Etcheri (Grant Francis 67′), Archie Hammond, James Peagram (Ishmael Raymond 80′), Reece Simpson, Quincy Warner.
Scorers – James Peagram (10′, 14’p).