30 May 2024

Celebrations to come at a cost

Around a hundred members and guests of Easington United AFC will gather in the Circle Restaurant at the MKM Stadium on Saturday night to celebrate 75 years of football in the village.

Ironically, however, on the date that many will reflect on how far the Eastenders have come – from a small one-team club playing friendlies against neighbouring villages to one that now fields three open-age teams and a veterans side, while also enjoying the fruits of a productive partnership with local junior club Patrington – the locals face a real test of their current multi-team resources.

As it stands at time of going to print, all three teams are struggling for numbers, a situation not helped by long-distance away trips for the Reserves and Thirds on “the day of the do”.

At the top end, first-team manager Craig Smalley will be without a host of key players for the visit of leaders Great Driffield in what initially looked a very attractive game at Low Farm.

Skipper Liam Murrey is struggling with the ankle injury that forced him off during the first half of Saturday’s 1-0 win over Chaos United. Goalscorer Matt Adamson is away and both Dan Warcup and Charlie Clark are working. In addition, Chris Frost is again unavailable with Tom Tukoroa also set to be absent.

Smalley will therefore be relieved to have Billy Symes up for selection for the first time this season, along with a return for Karl Fitzpatrick who has missed the past couple of matches.

It’s sod’s law that the opponents in such a situation would have to be the current leaders and pre-season title favourites. Formed from a merger of Driffield Evening Institute, Driffield Juniors and Hutton Cranswick SRA, the team – managed by Curtis Woodhouse – has won four of its opening five games, conceding just one goal in the pro- cess. That came in a 1-1 draw with fellow hopefuls Beverley Town Reserves. At the other end they have scored 13. The Woldsmen’s visit would be a daunting proposition with a full-strength side – the growing absentee list is making it even more so.

That said there’s a certain steeliness about this current Easington crop that will hopefully ensure they go into the game fully believing that once again they can ruffle feathers.

Given the likelihood of Smalley having to dip into the reserves for his replacements, this will in turn put pressure on resources at the other end, especially when both County League teams are desperate to bounce back from hefty losses last week.

The Reserves make the long trip to Gilberdyke Phoenix hoping to atone for an 8-2 shellacking at Bridlington Rovers Millau in their opening league game. Meanwhile, the Thirds head to Goole United Academy, also having shipped eight last Saturday, away at Division 4 side Wareham Forest in the league cup.

Still, judging by the superb attendance at training on Monday evening, the two losses have done nothing to dampen enthusiasm and with new faces seemingly arriving regularly in recent days and further signings imminent, it’s hoped that things will soon settle down numbers-wise.

One part of the club without numerical issues at the moment is the veterans section. The Awd Ezzies fielded a full squad with some ease last Sunday as they opened their Hull & District Veterans League Division 5 campaign with a gutsy comeback win at Hedon Rangers B.

Last weekend saw all our teams don black armbands and observe a minute’s silence prior to kick-off, in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Along with our longest-serving monarch, the players also remembered Sculcoates Amateurs secretary Tony Exton and, closer to home, Phil Douglas. A much-loved larger than life character, “Dougie” wasn’t a club member but was well known by all, with eldest son Corey at one time an Easington player. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this saddest of times.

Meanwhile, we were very proud to see current Easington striker John Pontone, a Lance Sergeant in the Coldstream Guards, forming part of the magnificent procession at Her Majesty’s state funeral on Monday.

Finally, our thanks go to all who have contacted the club in recent weeks, wishing to pledge their support in one way or another. It is very much appreciated, as indeed was the work done by Foxx Blyth on the changing rooms last week.

Any business or individual wishing to support the club in any way can do so by emailing us at [email protected].

For up-to-date news, check out our club website at easington-united.co.uk, along with our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@EasingtonUtd).