Franklin Utd vs Ellerslie AFC – Bledisloe Park @ 3pm (26/08/2017)
The penultimate game of the season saw two of the bottom three teams in NRFL Division One Football clash at Pukekohe’s Bledisloe Park. Franklin Utd who were in a simular position last season and managed to win several games on this very pitch, including the same fixture at about the same time last season.
This particular game saw Ellerslie drawn right into the relegation fight with the home side Franklin only sitting 1 point behind before the start of the game – and with only 1 more game for each club before the end of the season stakes were high.
Before all that the Reserves played out a fair amount of drama in their game – a match that saw two game ending injuries, 13 stitches, two penalties and two red cards.
Heading into this game the Ben Fletcher led Reserves were sitting in 2nd place level on points with Meville United but behind by over a handful of goals – the league title looked like it was going South as Melville didn’t look like tripping up anytime soon.
Since the First Team were in a bit of a perilous state as well, players were pushed up for First Team duty leaving the Reserves a little light on numbers on the ground – however we were able to draft in Raihan after a week off, Sean recovered from his ankle knock to start the game, Tavis made his comeback from suspension and injury, and Ben Shaw came back into the side after being ineligble in the cup last weekend.
So shorn of all the central strikers who had contributed between them 29 goals of our total of 68, we had to employ Ben Shaw as our leading man – a role the natural centreback had actually played several times two seasons ago for the First Team with decent results.
Raihan provided the pace down our left flank while the flexible John filled in on the right wing. This left Aaron, Victor and Monju to contest the middle of the park. Sam and Jack started in our fullback slots and skipper Mike Glenny was partnered by Tavis who normally plays at fullback but is more than adequete at centrehalf as well.
It only took 7 minutes of action before the referee had to get the notebook out and mark a goalscorer as Ben Shaw smashed a header powerfully into the Franklin net to open his account for the season.
Things turned a little sour not so long after that as Sean bravely dived at the feet of a Franklin player to collect a ball, but was caught by a stray boot on the forehead – which opened up a deep gash that would require 13 stitches later that afternoon at the Pukekohe A&E. That unfortunate turn of events meant Coach Ben Fletcher donned the gloves and in the process has now played in Goal, Defence, Midfield and on the wing this season – just need striker next week to complete the set.
Things then got even worse when John Murphy had to limp off after getting his ankle badly kicked, his departure in the 22nd minute was only worsened by the referee somehow mistakenly awarding him a yellow card three minutes later according to the team sheet.
So halftime came and Franklin Reserves had battled well and while the two injuries had blunted us a little the high line played by the Franklin Reserves had made forward play very troublesome.
With Lachlan now on in place of John we had pace on both wings, which were also the best parts of the pitch, so we focused our attacks down the sides and tried to avoid the offside trap. One such raid lead to Ben Shaw being fouled in the box and he picked himself up and slammed home the penalty to double his tally and our lead.
At 2-0 we rolled our last two subs on with Sam Twigg and Karar Sohrabi entering the game, and on the 78th minute Ben Shaw was again able to pick and place the ball on the spot, this time after Sam Twigg had been fouled – and he made no mistake grabbing his hat-trick.
At this stage Franklin had only 10 men as Devon Andrews had departed the game on the 55th minute mark having conceeded a 2nd bookable offence – and very shortly after our 3rd goal a second Franklin player was sent for an early shower after he committed a yellow card tackle and then recieved a 2nd yellow ticket straight after that for some non-verbal dissent.
With only 9 men on the field it was no surprise that we were able to capatilise and score a 4th goal and there was no more obvious candidate than Man of the Moment Ben Shaw as he swept in his 4th goal to lock the game all up.
A handy little win in trying circumstances – but a win that was made all the sweeter as news trickled through that Manukau were able to draw 1-1 with Melville in the Reserves which meant we were back with our necks infront in the title race, with only Oratia standing in our way this coming weekend.
This meant we all gathered in anticipation for the First Team game around Bledisloe #2, quite a large crowd formed, as Ellerslie members young and…. older. All came out to see if we could pull off the win to make us safe.
The Reserves made themselves at home on the bank behind Jason’s goal in the first half, complete with vuvuleza’s and ready to cheer our lads home, unfortunately a fired up Franklin team had other ideas in an action packed first half!!
These tweets may give you some idea of how much Franklin threw at us in the first half:
We were probably quite lucky that we came out only 1 down at halftime, although we did have a few chances of our own just after Franklin scored but Andy Wallace’s shot was well saved by Pascoe in goal for Franklin.
Second half we came out and played a bit more direct and seemed to deal with Franklin’s raids a little better, however a lapse in concentration left Franklin with the opportunity to double their lead early in the second half and they took it.
From there we threw a lot at the home sides goal, but we generally found Pascoe a hard object to beat, and we missed a few other chances that could have been converted.
He saved an excellent header from substitute Joe Junge which was heading top corner, before saving a point blank follow up from Art before his defence came to the party and blocked a third attempt – another great save to his left which saw the ball diverted onto the post from a excellent free kick from Sangster made the crowd gasp.
Finally with 8 minutes left we were able to beat him as Sangster got around the fullback and cut inside the centreback to drill a low shot past the previously unbeatable custodian. That gave us a glimmer of hope that we could steal a draw and put us in a pretty strong position for the last game of the season, however it was not to be and we couldn’t find a second goal despite our efforts.
FRANKLIN UTD: 1-Turkington, 5-Andrews, 6-Vaughn, 8-Rowe, 2-Sonneveld, 7-Coster, 17-Bond, 14-Nota, 10-Lindsay, 13-Nawal Singh, 9-Hatch
Subs Not Used: 18-Petersen
Cards: Andrews (41′, 55′), Nota (60′), Lindsay (17′), Nawal Singh (80′, 80′), Bent (78′)
*12-Bent came on as was given a card but there is no indication of what time or who for.
ELLERSLIE AFC: 45-Dartnall (32-Fletcher 11′), 39-Glenny, 21-Gravatt, 35-Christensen, 33-Rathbone, 30-Ganescu, 41-A.Anthony (2-S.Twigg 61′), 26-Shohei, 37-Azim (27-Sohrabi 75′), 4-Murphy (18-Woods-Davidson 22′), 28-Shaw
Subs Not Used: n/a
Goals: Shaw (7′, 55′(p), 78′(p), 89′)
Cards: Murphy (25′), Christensen (33′)
FRANKLIN UTD: 1-Pascoe, 11-Megert, 4-Thompson, 6-Burdon, 10-McCoy (9-Abbott 61′), 12-Lamborn, 14-Rickard, 15-S.Kumar, 17-Fifi’i (13-K.Kumar 82′), 18-Reo (7-Lindsay 80′), 5-Woolnough
Subs Not Used: 22-Turkington
Goals: Reo (21′), Rickard (47′)
Cards: Woolnough (90+2′), Abbott (90+3′)
ELLERSLIE AFC: 25-Mann, 8-Scott (11-Witteveen 75′), 36-Priestley, 16-Ljungberg (5-Horgan 59′), 15-Poelman, 17-Benefield, 19-Waters, 14-Twigg, 40-Corbett, 20-Crawford, 24-Wallace (44-Junge 69′)
Subs Not Used: 1-Huysmans, 10-Barkley
Goals: Crawford (82′)
Cards: Waters (37′), Corbett (89′), Horgan (70′)