Catholic United 1 - 1 Leigh Ramblers
By Thomas Kearney
FRUSTRATED HOOPS HELD BY RAMBLERS
Catholic United were left ruing missed opportunities as the points were shared in the first local derby of the season against Leigh Ramblers.
Jacob Cleaver had put the visitors ahead before Harley Kee equalised from the spot in the first half, however the Hoops were unable to grab their first league win despite dominating proceedings.
Played under the lights - well three out of four due to an electrical fault - Dan Trenkel stuck with the same diamond formation from Saturday with Tom Hollingsworth returning from illness to face his former club & Louis Robinson slotting back into defence after a cultural weekend to Amsterdam.
With a healthy attendance at The Len Salmon Stadium helped by the midweek fixture, Catholic started on the front foot as they utilised the favourable surface but could not make this early pressure count.
Ramblers took the lead midway through the first half when a misplaced pass was picked up on the edge of their box, & two passes forward, Cleaver rounded off a devastating counter attack with a neat finish.
Only for a good save from Louis Godwin-Green to deny Justin Hazell, Chris Sutherby’s side almost doubled their advantage soon after as the host’s failed to regroup having gone behind.
The momentum soon swung back with Catholic - Jamie Salmon’s drilled effort came back off the underside of the bar before Ramblers were indebted to vital saves from Dylan Skinner as he kept out Hollingsworth & Max Kent - the latter being a fabulous fingertip save around the post.
It was, however, Skinner who gave the Hoops a route back into proceedings after his extremely rash challenge on Thomas Kearney inside the box - correctly cautioned since the ‘triple punishment’ law change - & Kee converted for his fourth goal of the season.
Whilst the second half was short of goals, it wasn’t short of chances - all of which for the home side as they continued to probe against a resilient Ramblers defence.
The best chance of the half fell to Kee as the game entered added time - a clever one-two with substitute Dan Williams put the midfielder through but his effort was well saved & from the resultant corner, Williams was unable to connect on a loose ball.
A really enjoyable contest for the neutral, albeit frustrating, against some familiar faces. All the best for the rest of the season, Ramblers.
As @essexfootie said on social media, “they’ll play worse & get three points this season.” That needs to start on Saturday as the champions travel to Canning Town.