A disappointing night saw Elite narrowly lose their first match of the season 6-7 to Connor Salmon FC.
Lively opening exchanges saw the woodwork get a battering at both sides of the pitch. A flurry of saves from Chris Podolchuk and Connor Salmon’s keeper, and the goal-frames, kept the game all square, despite some impressive tekkers from Dan Abbott and a slip from Alex Gilfoyle which was pure comedy gold.
But it was plucky playmaker Pete Duxbury who opened the scoring with a wonder goal, struck superbly from is own half on 10 minutes.
Unfortunately Elite’s joy was short-lived, as Connor Salmon used an unpenalised handball to gain an unfair advantage and drew level on 12 minutes.
Elite were then their own worst enemy and were caught napping as CS made it two less than a minute later.
A sweet right-footed effort from Gilfoyle restored the balance but again CS found the net due to Elite ball-watching and failing to communicate.
A lovely goal from in-form Josh Nicholls had Duxbury exclaiming “That’s some FIFA shit that lads!” from the sidelines, and when Abbott combined intricate footwork with his trademark power-shot to make it four, Elite looked to be back on track.
Thanks to yet another low save from Podolchuk it was 4-3 to Elite at half time.
Half-Time: Elite FC 4 Connor Salmon FC 3
But it Connor Salmon who came roaring out of the traps as the second half got under way, scoring three goals in quick succession and forcing a host of saves and some important blocks/clearances from Duxbury.
Duxbury hit the post and Elite continued to try to produce a comeback but CS made it seven with a flukey goal on 30 minutes.
Fouls were ignored on both sides, but Paul Brunton showed good strength not to go down under an illegal challenge from CS which did rouse a warning from the ref.
Dirty play from CS was frustrating the Elite players, but in truth a lack of team play and concentration made the home side their own worst enemies. And though Gilfoyle did pull a goal back on 32 minutes, and Duxbury scored his second of the match and Elite’s sixth on 34 minutes, the comeback came too late and Elite couldn’t salvage a point.
Full-Time: Elite FC 6 Connor Salmon FC 7
Man of the Match: Podolchuk came close but Duxbury’s two goals and decisive defending make him worthy of the honours.