West Auckland 2 – Ryhope CW 2
A goal in each half from James Ellis and Michael Rae gained Ryhope a well-earned point from The Wanted Stadium.
It all could have been so much more. Ellis had a shot saved low onto the post from by West Auckland keeper Mark Bell. And in the third minute of injury time Jack Devlin could only hit the post after leaving Bell standard.
Ryhope started the stronger, but it was West who had the fist chance on 9 minutes with a long-range shot, only for James Winter in the Ryhope goal to be more than equal to it saving past his post.
Mine minutes later West had the lead. Adam Burnicle headed goal bound from a Tom Price cross leaving Winter with no chance. Welfare were almost two down a minute later. Errors in midfield resulted in a West corner. This time Amar Purewal was unmarked in the box. His head was blocked on the line by Jon Weirs.
West Auckland continued the pressure with several chances, but the next goal belonged to Ryhope. On 43 minutes, Micky Rae was able to turn well on the edge of the box and drive a shot at the West Auckland goal. West keeper, Mark Bell could only parry into the feet on the oncoming Ellis. Last seasons top scorer opened his account with a tidy finish in the empty net.
Rae was trying to join Ellis on the score sheet minutes later with another long shot. With Bell beating Rae could only watch his shot fall wide. Both teams going in at half time a goal to the good.
It would only take six minutes in the second half for Ryhope to take the lead.
Robbie Bird made a good break into the West Auckland box and hitting a low shot only for it to be deflected wide for a corner. Ryhope took it short to Ellis who crossed for Rae to beat everyone to the ball and blast into the goal.
West Auckland were not out of this and both teams were playing for all three points. Ryhope were throwing everything at keeping West at bay. Great tackles from Elliott Woods, Danni Lay and blocks from Lay and Jon Weirs holding the lead for Ryhope.
Eventually West Auckland were able to pull one back. With less than 20 minutes left, Nathan Fisher hit a brilliant long range shot to beat Winter.
The visitors could have sealed victory in the last few minutes when firstly Ellis broke one on one with West keeper. Ellis shot low and just as everyone from Ryhope were about to celebrate, Bell managed to make a brilliant low save and tip the ball onto his post.
A ball over the top of the West Auckland defence was misjudged by Bell and loosing his footing. Jack Devlin was able to pounce onto the loose ball. He was able to chip the stranded keeper only to see his shot hit the post.
After the match Gaz Pearson spoke about the opening fixture.
“It’s great not to lose, that’s the main part. I think we will take a draw as a better result than West Auckland will”.
And looking at his team’s performance
I think we defended really well in terms of throwing ourselves in front of stuff were a defensive unit. We hit the post twice and if one of them goes in it’s different, but I think a 2 – 2 draw was the right result”.
Ryhope now face an away test against Shildon on Tuesday night having to request the fixture be played at Dean Street.