Wednesday 15th October 2008

Eccleshall 0 Stone Dominoes 1
Vodkat League Division 1
At: Pershall Park
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 83
Weather: -

Stone followed up two consecutive cup victories with another win after a hotly-disputed second-half winner settled this enthralling local derby.

Liam McKinney’s cross-cum-shot from the left side of the area looped up off a defender and dropped into the far side of the net. Eccleshall felt keeper Dean Latham was impeded as the ball crossed the line but the match officials didn’t agree.

“It was a good victory,” said Dominoes manager Shaun Hollingshead.

“It was difficult as Ecccleshall are a decent side.

“We didn’t play as well as we did on Saturday. I think that was more down to Eccleshall putting us under pressure as oppose to us not playing particularly well.

“We’ll take the lucky goal and we’ll take the win.

“It is pleasing. We need to get on a run. That is three wins on the trot. If we win on Saturday and take it into the week after, that is what we’ll continue to do.”

Despite the narrow defeat, disappointed Dave Dale couldn’t fault the way his side played.

“I think we battled. We edged it first half and I don’t think they were a threat.

“I thought our lads battled well and I’m pleased with the performance.

“I can’t fault the lads. They worked hard and did what they were asked.

“Whether the keeper was held down or not, I don’t know. The referee said not, so you get the goal given against you.”

Both sides showed changes from Saturday. For Dominoes, keeper James Hall was out with a back injury so in came Richard Stone.

Dale made two changes in a tactical switch with Adam Soane and Jack Watson in for Mark Mapperson and Adam Stonier.

Dominoes survived an early scare. Michael Marren punted a free-kick forward from 40 yards out which looked to have been hit too deep until it dropped onto the bar. Dwayne Spence following-up couldn’t take advantage of the rebound.

Keeper Stone produced a good save to hold onto a well-struck deflected 30-yard drive from Leigh Skellern.

Both sides showed plenty of attacking intentions though solid defending kept first-half chances to a minimum.

Eccleshall had a goal disallowed in the 36th minute for a foul on Stone after Spence headed home from Soane’s free-kick.

Just before the break, Oliver Rabie got on the end of Dan Brown’s pass inside the home area but sliced a right-foot shot wide of the near post to miss his side’s best chance of the half.

There was no let up in the competiveness or entertainment after the break and scoring opportunities started to occur a bit more frequently.

Four minutes into the second half, Spence sent a free header straight at Stone. The visitors quickly broke and the diving Latham was forced to beat away a close-range shot from Brown.

Just after the hour mark, Stone did well to palm over a long-range free-kick from Marren that was heading for the top corner.

Eventually, the deadlock was broken by defender McKinney in the 77th minute. Both Alex Hutchinson and Leigh Skellern were booked for protesting the decision to allow the goal to stand.

Eccleshall pressed forward and appealed for a penalty waived away when Russell Dematteo went down inside the area.

Keeper Stone produced a couple of decent saves in the closing stages to keep his side in front including a fine block to keep out Shore’s header.

The win takes Dominoes level on points with Eccleshall and one position higher into 11th by virtue of a marginally better goal difference.

Eccleshall: Latham, Soane, Watson, Hutchinson, Brunt, Leaver (Bromley, 84), Marren, Shore, Spence, Dematteo, Skellern (Oxley, 90). Unused subs: Adlington, Mapperson, Stonier.

Stone Dominoes: Stone, Edwards, McKinney, Scheuber, Byrne, Baird, Rowley, Maguire, Rabie (Shufflebottom, 56), Brown, Curley (Young, 88). Unused subs: Basford, Haddrell, Grocutt.