Easington Sports put in a much improved performance in Saturday’s Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup clash with Virginia Water but were eventually knocked out by a solitary goal from Adam McNamara.
Virginia Water again started in confident mood at Addison Road and controlled the opening 20 minutes, there were half chances for Paul Burrows and Liam Whyte but both shot wide of the target. Sports came back into the game after those early scares and certainly looked more organised and compact from their previous matches against premier division opposition.
The midfield three of Tom Smith, Luke Swann and Elikem Amenku showed good energy and composure on the ball which brought Sports’ attacking front three into the game. Andrew Stidder hooked a fine cross back into the box for Owen James who then created a half chance for himself but his shot was saved well at the near post by Matthew Jones.
The second half was also a very even affair with few chances at either end due to defences being on top. Jon Onyeaka and Dan Watkin worked well as a partnership, while the whole team worked hard to press and to prevent crosses into the box.
The game was always going to be decided by the odd goal and it came on the hour mark. A well weighted diagonal ball played McNamara in down the right and the winger’s early shot from a narrow angle beat keeper Lee Farrow.
Virginia Water went down to ten men after an off-the-ball incident which saw Paul Burrows hit out at Josh Rose. But Sports could not carve out any clear-cut chances in the final stages. Rose did manage to poke the ball over the line after Onyeaka flicked on a free-kick into the box but the referee blew for a free-kick after minimal contact on the keeper.