A top of the table clash featuring some great goals, a couple of controversial decisions and a late win for the home team – this was a game of local football full of passion and intent.
After a cagey start by both teams, Phang FC opened the scoring after around 10 minutes, putting Elite FC on the back foot. The home side recovered well however and after going on the offensive, were rewarded with an equaliser through Sean Payne, with an assist from plucky playmaker Pete Duxbury.
Dan Abbott had been causing the opposition all kinds of problems with his size and his strength and was unlucky not to give his team the lead with one of his trademark powerful shots shortly afterwards.
Both Phang’s goalkeeper and Elite’s Chris Podolchuk pulled off some impressive saves in what was turning into a real end-to-end game of football, but it was Elite who went ahead from an Abbott Thunderbolt.
The game was getting heated, and Phang capitalised on a loss of concentration from Elite, scoring twice in quick succession to regain the lead.
But as half-time approached Elite pulled themselves together and equalised through lively sub Dave Madeley and were unlucky not to make it four with fantastic saves from the Phang goalkeeper denying Alex Gilfoyle and Paul Brunton.
It was all square at half-time with both teams having scored three goals apiece.
The always industrious Josh Nicholls had been involved in much of Elite’s positive play and grabbed the team’s fourth goal early into the second half with an assist from Gilfoyle.
Gilfoyle almost went one better a few minutes later but saw his shot rebound off the post. But Elite didn’t have to wait too long for their fifth as they were granted a penalty, due to a mistake by the Phang goalkeeper, which was coolly despatched by Abbott.
Once again Phang restored the deficit, despite giving Elite a free kick due to an illegal header, and a flurry of saves at both ends of the pitch kept the scores level until Phang again took the lead.
Phang’s joy was short-lived as great build-up play from Gilfoyle resulted in a stunning goal from Nicholls, taking it back to level pegging.
And things went from bad to worse for Phang after they saw their latest goal disallowed for sliding.
Abbott made it seven for Elite but Phang once again fought their way back and equalised as the minutes ticked down towards the final whistle.
Both teams went flat out in an effort to snatch the win, and it was Elite who were victorious with a last gasp from Dale Hart!
Phang’s usual army of fans were noticeably absent but the players gave credit to Elite’s vocal supporters, going so far to suggest that they gave Elite the advantage.
The result means Phang remain at the top of the table on 15 points but Elite have closed the gap and are just behind on 12.