Elite once again came out on top – despite a disastrous start – as they took on long-time rivals Phang at Goals in Chester this evening.
A colossal cock-up from Chris Podolchuk in Elite’s goal saw the home side go one nil down inside the first minute. And when Phang made it two a matter of seconds later it was apparent that Elite would have to get their act together quickly to avoid a heavy defeat.
Fortunately Phang’s next effort hit the post, a let off for Elite which allowed Dave Madeley to take the initiative and bury the ball in Phang’s net with a lovely strike.
End-to-end football ensued, with both keepers being kept busy and Podolchuk was at full stretch to deny Phang on six minutes.
Phang did force their way through for their third on eight minutes, but their joy was short-lived as Sean Payne scored two cracking goals in as many minutes, drawing Elite level on 11 minutes.
Another flying save from Podolchuk denied Phang who, despite having no subs available, were looking very threatening on the ball.
Elite finally took the lead in the 18th minute courtesy of Dale Hart, but Phang equalised again just a minute later and it was 4-4 as the whistle blew for half-time.
Half-Time: Elite FC 4 Phang FC 4
Phang came straight at Elite as the second half got underway, but Podolchuk was equal to the challenge and it was Elite who drew first blood, with a stunning volley from Josh Nicholls.
Frustrations were showing on both sides and there was a particularly painful moment for the opposition when a Phang player found himself the reluctant meat in a wall/Dan Abbott sandwich – ouch!
Yet another Podolchuk save kept Phang at bay before Alex Gilfoyle was denied by the Phang keeper, and then shot high and wide (to say the least).
But Phang were anything but toothless and drew level once again on 30 minutes.
Despite a hit and hope effort from Madeley and some good work from Paul Brunton, Elite were struggling to penetrate Phang’s defence, until a seriously stylish strike from Nicholls literally set the ball rolling again.
Abbott then blasted a thunderous shot home to make it seven on 35 minutes, and Hart rounded off a good night’s work for Elite with his second of the evening on 38 minutes.
Despite looking tired, credit to Phang who played until the whistle, and it took great work from Podolchuk, as well as solid defending from Nicholls, for Elite to see the game out.
Still, Elite might have made it to double figures for the second match in a row had Abbott not missed a penalty and providing a couple of players chose accuracy over power. But it was not to be and Elite will happily take three points from a hard-fought game.
On another note it was lovely to see plucky playmaker Peter Duxbury back in the fold, if not yet on the pitch!
Full-Time: Elite FC 8 Phang FC 5
Man of the Match: Chris Podolchuk more than made up for his earlier error, pulling off save after save to deny Phang and help secure Elite’s victory.