1st XI DIG DEEP FOR VITAL 3 POINTS
By Edd Thorogood
Late, late goal see’s BEHC secure 3 vital points at the Meadow
On Saturday, the Men’s 1s played host to London Academicals at the College Meadow. The reverse fixture had seen a 2-1 loss for Blackheath, who were looking to overturn this defeat. An excellent performance in their last home outing vs East Grinstead provided the perfect base for the 1s to build on.
The game started with Blackheath in control, playing the ball neatly and quickly between defence, midfield and attack. However it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play from a short corner 15 minutes into the game.
Blackheath continued to carve out opportunities, and the London Academicals lead did not last for long as Chris Harden slotted a trademark dragflick through the goalkeeper to make the score 1-1, and this is how it would remain until the break.
In the second half it was all Blackheath, with Joe Allen carrying the ball with real purpose, and tying the Academicals defence in knots. It was apt therefore that shortly after the restart, Joe Allen was the man receiving the plaudits after calmly sliding a reverse hit effort past the goalkeeper. 2-1.
Some excellent play in the midfield from Lewis Burnham and Charlie Speller led to counter attacks and pressure throughout the second half. Laxman Karan Baskaran and David Lawrence continued to be a threat up top, along with the excellent Josh Self, and these forwards combined to create an opening for another well-taken Chris Harden goal at the near post. 3-1.
Blackheath then absorbed pressure from a talented Academicals team, who moved the ball sharply and quickly, and the tiring Blackheath legs were evident when a dubious penalty flick was awarded and the score was pulled back to 3-2. Again, Academicals applied pressure, and a combination of excellent defending and some outstanding saves from Nathan Bullens kept the score at 3-2.
Eventually the Academicals pressure did pay off with a well worked short corner routine evening the scores up at 3-3.
Credit to Blackheath however who showed resilience that had been lacking towards the start of the season. Despite being under pressure from Academicals, Eddy Forshaw found a long-ranging pass through the eye of a needle to spot a typical lung-busting run from Charlie Speller. The latter expertly picked the ball up and raced towards goal. A foul by the goalkeeper led to a penalty stroke and the ever-cool Chris Harden slotted the stroke to make the scores 4-3.
Blackheath absorbed the final 2 minutes of pressure to win the game 4-3. A well deserved 3 points, and so crucial in this stage of the season to keep the pressure on the teams above.