After getting their asses well and truly handed to them (odd phrase but pleasingly descriptive!) in a 4-11 defeat by Parrot FC the previous week, Elite put in a sterling performance to pull off a 3-3 draw against strong opposition Fiorentina Turner FC when the two sides met last Tuesday.
Elite were still a goalkeeper down, but the multi-talented Dan Abbott continued to fill in for the injured Chris Podolchuk and impress between the sticks.
Speaking of impressive, the ever-industrious Sean Payne threatened the FT goal after just 30 seconds, but pulled his shot narrowly wide. At the other end, Abbott made the first of many strong saves to deny FT from opening the scoring.
And it took just two more minutes for Payne to zip through the FT defence and claim his first goal of the afternoon.
FT seemed slightly shocked to have gone a goal behind, but failed to trouble Abbott with a series of attacks on Elite’s net. In fact it was Elite who came closest to scoring again minutes later, but Shakes eventually took the ball too far after battling to win it.
Elite were defending well, putting in important tackles and Luke Kelly got stuck in to shut down an FT attack before it even got going, shortly before Payne saw his shot saved and Alex Gilfoyle missed the target.
End-to-End football ensued – Abbott pitched in with some stupendous saves ; ) – mostly with his feet and thighs, Payne shot over the bar and Kelly watched his attempt just inch past the post. Meanwhile FT continued to be frustrated, playing well but failing to find the net.
Special mention to the FTA player who appeared to pull his hamstring and lost the ball right in front of goal but managed to stay on the pitch.
Half-Time Elite FC 1 Fiorentina Turner FC 0
The second half was more of the same, with saves at both ends as the teams got going after the break.
Josh Nicholls hit the post on 24 minutes, Brunton did well to get back and block an FT shot and Abbott tipped a shot onto the post.
But FT were never going to be subdued for long and on 29 minutes they finally broke through Elite’s carefully constructed defence to score an equaliser.
Gilfoyle then made up for his earlier miss with a cracking goal after some excellent work from Nicholls.
But by 37 minutes FT were in the lead after two goals in quick succession, the second the result of defensive errors from Elite.
Finally in the ascendancy, FT were not going to give up the lead without a fight, and after a good period of possession for Elite came to naught when Kelly struggled to get the ball out for under his feet, it seemed like FT might take the spoils after all.
That is until Payne popped up and slammed the ball home on 40 minutes after some excellent footwork from Brunton.
The jubilant fans celebrated – Danni Millington with a slutdrop! – and Elite congratulated each other on a job well done.
A 3-3 draw does not normally elicit such excitement but FT were undoubtedly the better team, and it was the fact that Elite had finally started to really work as a team and the sheer effort they put in that allowed them to take anything from the game.
Full Time: Elite FC 3 Fiorentina Turner FC 3
Man of the Match: Can’t split them – Brunton made some timely interceptions and Shakes put in a good shift, but it was Dan Abbott‘s combination of strength and skill in goal and Sean Payne‘s integral goals,which ensured Elite secured the draw.