Sports regain top spot and now face their title rivals

Easington Sports' striker Owen James gets in a header despite the attentions of Thornbury Town's Nathan Sage. Photo: Steve Prouse
Easington Sports' striker Owen James gets in a header despite the attentions of Thornbury Town's Nathan Sage. Photo: Steve Prouse

Easington Sports have regained top spot ahead of Saturday’s showdown with UHLSport Hellenic League title rivals Cheltenham Saracens.

A stalemate with Thornbury Town was enough to take Ben Milner’s side back to the top of Division One West by a point ahead of Saturday’s clash at Addison Road.

In a keenly contested affair with chances at a premium, there was no shortage of action as both teams pressed to find that elusive goal. Sports edged the number of clear-cut chances with young striker Owen James leading the line well on his debut.

Craig Lancastle forced Dan Watkin into an early block at one end while Henry Rose and Joe Eyre stretched the Thornbury defence after getting in behind the visitors’ defence with passes from Callum Convey and Joe Coleman. Watkin’s shot beat keeper Kurtis Parkin but was cleared off the line.

A flurry of half chances followed and Thornbury built some pressure, attacking with pace down both flanks. But Sports defended well, leaving Joe White rarely troubled in goal.

Sports had a penalty appeal for handball waved before slightly against the run of play just before halftime, Lloyd Sabin had a near post header cleared off the line from Convey’s corner.

The second half was played out in a similar fashion to the first. Both sides looked to get the advantage on the counter attack but again defences stood firm.

James proved a handful for Sports all afternoon and the young striker showed good composure winning intelligent free-kicks which allowed his side to build pressure in the early stages of the half.

Two of the best chances of the fell to Eyre and Conor Grant. Eyre did well to make connection with a ball across the box but his goal bound shot was blocked before James beat his marker and cut the ball back across the box again only for Grant to see his shot blocked on the line with Parkin well beaten.

Thornbury showed why they have been such a hard team to beat this season and players blocked further half chances from more corners for Sports in quick succession. With the action going from end-to-end in the latter stages it was the visitors’ turn to have a handball penalty appeal turned away before the last chance of the game fell to Coleman who saw his cross expertly tipped over the bar by Parkin.

Damien Robertson was on target for Adderbury Park but they lost 2-1 at Highworth Town Reserves in Division Two West. Park