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Roos rue a number of missed opportunities

ON TARGET: Matty Carrick and Mitch Proby, pictured in a home game back in 2016, both scored in a 3-2 defeat away at AFC Gulls (Picture courtesy of Colin Brammer)


AFC Gulls - 3

Roos FC - 2

HAVING been thumped 7-1 by AFC Gulls in the quarterfinals of the League Junior Cup in April, Roos returned to Noddle Hill Way two weeks later and were beaten 3-2 in a game they deserved to win. Roos played some of their best football of 2018 during the match on Tuesday May 1, and had they taken a few more of their chances, they would have won with something to spare. With second place in County League Division Two still at stake, the game got off to a cagey start with neither side really getting on top, Jack Todd making an excellent clearance on five minutes to deny the dangerous Gareth Wadforth. Two minutes later the in-form Mitch Proby went on a superb run before cutting the ball back for Liam Murrey but his shot was blocked by Abe Ndow and on eight minutes Jack Bristow and Bob Eldon-Smith both showcased their skills down the left, leaving three Gulls defenders on the floor, but all that was missing was the final touch for the opening goal. On 12 minutes Chris Blanchard, who was struggling with a thigh injury before kick-off, saw a long ball go under his foot and as Wadforth took aim, his chip over Ryan Hewitt bounced off the crossbar. The game was flowing with Roos passing the ball about superbly on what was still a pretty poor surface. Proby was then involved again as he teed up Eldon-Smith on the edge of the box but again, the shot was blocked. Roos were clearly on top now and Taylor Pentecost sent over a superb cross to find an unmarked Lucas Sneddon six-yards out, but his free header drifted over the bar. Gulls were still dangerous with Danny Cartwright at the heart of the home midfield before the lively Bristow was taken down in cynical fashion by Ash Hughes as another Roos attack was thwarted. Gulls were constantly being caught offside, and on 26 minutes the visitors went agonisingly close with what would have been a ‘goal of the season’ contender. A slick passing move led to Sneddon producing a brilliant ball to find Bristow who unleashed a stunning strike from 30 yards out that cannoned off the top of the crossbar with the ‘keeper beaten. With 31 minutes on the clock Roos were again denied the opening goal. A brilliant long ball from Connor McKinley sent Proby clear on the right and he picked out the superb run of Eldon-Smith only for the home shotstopper to make an excellent save with his legs. Two minutes later the roles were reversed as EldonSmith fed Proby but his first touch was a shade too heavy, allowing the ‘keeper to get to the ball fractionally before him; surely a goal was coming? On 37 minutes, Gulls should have been reduced to 10 men. Eldon-Smith was put clean through on goal by Murrey when the home number 14 brought him down just outside the box. The referee pulled him aside, but he was not even booked after denying the Roos striker as clearcut a goal scoring opportunity as you are ever likely to see, with just the goalkeeper to beat. Moments later another great move presented Proby with the chance to open the scoring, but his goal-bound shot struck the head of a defender and it went out for a corner. Another outstanding pass from McKinley put Bristow in behind the home defence but the ball in was fired wide by Blanchard. At the start of the second half, Roos remained on top and Murrey wasted a glorious chance to put his side in front on 47 minutes after great link-up play between Dan Smith and Proby and four minutes later, Pentecost delivered an excellent free-kick which was glanced wide of the post by Proby. On 58 minutes a mistake by Murrey was almost punished but the Gulls’ number three squandered the chance as he screwed his shot wide. Matty Carrick had replaced the distressed Blanchard and he was involved immediately, latching onto a ball from Proby but his cut back cross evaded everyone and was punted clear. With 64 minutes gone a crude foul on Proby just outside the penalty area was wasted as Smith fired a shot high and wide and a minute later, completely against the run of play, Gulls led 1-0. A long ball from their own half was launched forward and as the ball sailed on the wind Jamie Turner got in between the Roos defence and Hewitt and the slightest of deflections with his head saw the ball find the net. Eldon-Smith then brought out an excellent save from the home ‘keeper as Roos searched for an equaliser and on 71 minutes, Carrick had a great chance from six yards out, but a desperate lunge saw the ball cruelly deflected over the bar. With 15 minutes to go Proby rode a strong tackle before sending Carrick clear on the right. The youngster cut inside and his low drive across the home ‘keeper was
just out of the reach of Bristow who was arriving at the back post. Despite being on top, Roos were hit by a killer second goal on 79 minutes as substitute Ash Parker was able to get around the back of the Roos defence and his hopeful ball across the six-yard area should have been cleared, but with no-one taking charge of the situation, it went all the way to the far post where Hughes gleefully crashed the ball home for 2-0. A minute later a shot from Carrick clipped the far post but with eight minutes left it was 2-1; Bristow feeding Proby and although his shot was poor, it bounced perfectly for Carrick who rammed the loose ball home. Back in the match, Roos were hit with a sucker-punch straight from the restart. Wadforth, who had been well marshalled all night, picked up a ball 30 yards out and struck an unstoppable drive over the head of Hewitt to make it 3-1. Roos were not done yet, however, and only an excellent save denied Proby as the game reached 90 minutes. The subsequent corner from Carrick was headed home by Proby for 3-2 but there was not enough time to restart the game as the full-time whistle sounded. This was an impressive performance, despite the disappointment of losing the game, but the squad should have been fresh for last night’s Junior Country Cup Final against Stamford Bridge after last Saturday’s visit to face Driffield EI Reserves was cancelled, the home side unable to raise a side and conceding the three points to Roos, as teams continue to struggle to complete their fixtures in an unprecedented stop-start season.
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