19 April 2024

Controversy clouds cup exit

By Richard Lusmore

Hemingbrough United 4
Easington United 4
(Hemingbrough won 4-3 on penalties)

The Eastenders exited the East Riding County FA Senior Country Cup at the first round stage, losing on penalties to Hemingbrough United after an entertaining 4-4 draw.

The result wasn’t without controversy, with both teams feeling aggrieved at a couple of big decisions.

While the hosts were convinced that Adam Smith’s late leveller in stoppage time hadn’t actually crossed the line, the locals were left incensed when the referee ruled that Smith’s penalty in the shootout hadn’t gone in.

Afterwards, although frustrated at what the referee later acknowledged had likely been an error on his part, manager Craig Smalley accepted there’d also been mistakes made in the dugout and on the pitch. In particular he bemoaned the failings in front of goal, which ultimately proved costly: “we had the better chances and more of them”.

Travelling to School Road without the missing Murrey and Warcup and having lost Ciaran Collins to illness, United welcomed Charlie Clark, Andy Graham and Dan Shearer back, alongside new signing Bob Eldon-Smith who became the latest ex-Roos man to don Easington colours this season.

The opening period was tight, with neither side really creating anything clear-cut until the 14th minute when Matt Adamson latched on to a great through-ball from Lucas Sneddon but sent his shot agonisingly wide.

A minute later Graham marked his return to the heart of the back four with a yellow card, before the hosts saw a ‘goal’ chalked off for offside on 26 minutes.

It was a warning the locals didn’t heed and a minute later Hemingbrough did have their lead; Josh Elvidge playing Daniel McCarthy through and the latter finished in style.

Easington weren’t behind for long. Four minutes later, Bewell sent Jack Wright racing clear and he dinked the ball over the home keeper for one apiece. It was to be the first of four equalisers required over the course of the game.

That wouldn’t have been the case had the locals made the most of another good chance that fell their way just two minutes later. Adamson, having expertly “peeled away around the back” fired straight at the keeper, with the rebound falling to Clark who proceeded to “put it in someone’s garden” according to our on-the-spot live reporter!

Five minutes before the break Hemingbrough were again denied by the offside rule and shortly afterwards, “simulation” in the box meant their number nine became the second player to find his way into Referee Barrett’s notebook.

There was still time for Wright to “tickle” a shot at the home keeper when well-placed and for the locals to see out a couple of home corners before the half-time whistle.

Easington almost started the second half in style, with Eldon-Smith producing some excellent work down the flank before finding Adamson whose shot was blocked on the line.

Three minutes later the industrious Adamson saw another shot deflected wide for a corner.

But just as the Eastenders appeared to be knocking, the home side regained the lead. Possession was coughed up in midfield and Aidan Butler crossed for Jamie Pick to head home.

That was on the hour mark, prompting a change for the locals with Shearer on for youngster Ashwell. And after what was described as a “huge let-off” on 63 minutes when a Hemingbrough player lashed wide from an inviting position, the sub created another chance for Adamson whose shot this time hit the side netting.

After the hosts had passed up a decent headed chance, Easington made a double-switch on 73 minutes, with Bowden and McElwee on for Clark and Sneddon. Within a minute of these changes, they drew level for a second time.

Wright was the originator, winning the ball in a tackle and freeing up Adamson to run into the box and slide the ball under the keeper for his first goal since the opening day.

Both sides went for the winner, which helped set up a frantic finale and a quite amazing period of stoppage time.

On 90 minutes, Pick crossed for Thomas Grant to restore Hemingbrough’s lead, only for Adamson to level things up just two minutes later; Wright’s flick on from a throw-in landing at the striker’s feet some ten yards out and with confidence fully restored, he lashed the ball home for 3-3.

Four minutes into stoppage time the hosts must have thought they’d finally won it; Butler latching on to Welsh’s punt down the line before firing into the top corner past a bemused Mulholland. Game over?

Er, no. Straight from the restart the locals won a free-kick some 25 yards out and Adam Smith provided the perfect response to end what the home side’s report described as “an absolute corker of a game”.

And so to penalties, where Adamson, Sneddon and Shearer put Easington in the driving seat at 3-2, thanks to Mulholland producing two saves and despite Wright being denied by a save from the locals’ third spot kick. Thus Smith – skippering the side on the day – had the chance to effectively send his team through and he appeared to do so when firing low and hard to the keeper’s left. Unfortunately, the ball struck one of the wheels on which the goal is transported and pinged back out, which led the referee to conclude it had hit the post. Smith’s protests fell on deaf ears.

The locals’ disappointment was then compounded when Bowden hit the crossbar in what was effectively ‘sudden death’ after Hemingbrough had scored with their fifth kick.

Easington: Lloyd Mulholland, Adam Smith, Oli Bewell, Andy Graham (Sneddon, 86), Harry Anderson-Richardson, Charlie Clark (Brad Bowden, 73), Lucas Sneddon (Curtis McElwee, 73), Bob Eldon-Smith, Jack Wright, Matt Adamson, Charlie Ashwell (Dan Shearer, 60)