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Athletic Hit Leaders Wallisdown For Four

John McKay  Friday, March 01, 2002  20:54 GMT

Two in-form teams meeting at Slades Farm would be expected to produce a match full of good football – or at least a competitive one! Well, that’s exactly what we got. Both teams came into the match having lost their last league matches but both having been on good runs of form prior to that.

Athletic had a little surprise prior to the game – finding that the father of their opponents centre forward was the referee. To be fair, he showed no bias in particular towards his young offspring – just a tendency to favour the rest of his team-mates! He appeared to take an almost instant dislike to Athletic and as a result spent long periods of the match ignoring their pleas for a decision. Never mind, eh!

The match started with Athletic being pined back by their opponent’s brand of direct football; their forwards – Terry Foote and Kenny Wilson looking very spritely. In fact, Wallisdown Liberal looked like running away with the match at this early point and Athletic did well to stop them taking the lead in the opening minutes.

However, the home side were not to be denied the opener and Athletic were all at sea when they did take the lead on the ten minute mark.

This appeared to be just the push that Athletic needed and they started to put together their first worthwhile attacks. Within 10 minutes they equalised when Gary Jenkins powered a header home from a Richard Broomfield corner on the right.

However, our referee chappie decided things were going a bit too smoothly and when Jeff Cleeve and Dave Corbin’s heads collided in mid-air, he waved play-on with Athletic attempting to get the ball off the pitch as quickly as possible. Dental treatment for Corbin and a sore head and running wound for Cleeve but luckily no serious harm done. However, this really did spur Athletic on.

The Heathlands side went from strength to strength during the remainder of the first period and started to dominate the proceedings. They went ahead when top scorer Broomfield ran onto an Andy Lewer through ball and sent home a wonderful, unstoppable half-volley from fully 25 yards – a definite candidate for goal of the season in any competition!

Wallisdown’s whole team appeared drained by this one goal and Athletic seemed to find it all too easy when Lewer blasted home from close range for 3-1 at half time. The whistle probably came too quickly for Athletic!

The Liberal boys came out at the start of the second half with all guns blazing and although Athletic appeared to be holding onto their 3-1 lead, it was not to be. Two quick goals after the hour mark as a result of slack team defending suddenly opened out the game again and Athletic did well to stabilise the at times rocky ship with some last-ditch blocks.

For the second match in a row, stand-in keeper – Keith Selwood – dominated the area around his goal – making one fantastic

It was worthwhile as Wallisdown appeared to not to be matching the visitors stamina as the match entered the last ten minutes. Their lightning breaks looked more threatening – with Francis, Broomfield and Rawlings appearing to get a second wind. One or two chances came and went before, with only a couple of minutes of normal time left, Broomfield dropped back into midfield, won the ball and set off on a run down the left. He outstripped the home defence before squaring into the path of Chris Rawlings who clipped a beautiful ball past the advancing keeper for the winner.

The ref again tried to influence things by adding severla minutes of injury time but all for no result.

Three well-deserved points for Athletic away from home against the league leaders and the league is wide open again.

Well done the lads! Now for the Mercury game!

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