22 May 2024

Eastenders refuse to let setbacks derail them

by Richard Lusmore

After enjoying one of their more encouraging days results-wise the previous weekend, last Saturday saw Easington United’s three teams complete an unwanted clean sweep of defeats, with the Awd Ezzies’ Sunday setback simply compounding matters.

Throw in bouts of coronavirus and flu, news of a season-ending injury and then a car crash involving club members it’s easy to see why there was a temptation to use Halloween analogies in this week’s news round-up!

Instead, judging by the spirit on show among another excellent attendance at training, the players are still very much enjoying themselves regardless of the setbacks thrown at them. Add in the positivity on show at Tuesday’s monthly management committee meeting and it’s obvious that there is a totally different feel to things from that of 12 months ago.

That said, the first team could really do to have their results start to match this uplifting mood. They’re certainly doing their best to make this happen.

Although slipping to a fourth defeat of the season last Saturday and in spite of an ever-growing absent list, Craig Smalley’s side produced arguably their best performance of the current campaign. Once again, however, those fine margins of the type the manager must be sick of banging on about came into play in a 0-2 defeat at the hands of a very impressive-looking Scarborough Athletic side.

It was cruel on the locals, especially given the continuing absence of several key players. The loss of Dave Nolan for “about eight weeks” with a serious shoulder problem followed on the back of the continued absence of fellow defender Ollie Bewell and was compounded when Dan Lorimer tested positive for Covid on the eve of the game.

With skipper Liam Murrey suspended for the past two games, the likes of Charlie Clark, Karl Fitzpatrick, Chris Frost, Billy Symes and Jack Wright in and out of the side for various reasons (not to mention the duo of Luke Jeffery and Sam McLaughlin still sidelined by long-term injuries), it has created some big holes in what was already a fairly small squad.

As such, United shouldn’t be too downhearted by their slow start to the season. Indeed, only once in the six league games to date have they come off the pitch well beaten, that following a 0-4 reverse at the hands of pre-season favourites Great Driffield.

Smalley will now hope for better fortunes at Low Farm on Saturday when his team aim to progress in the East Riding FA Senior Country Cup at the expense of fellow HPL Division 1 side Bridlington Town Rovers (2pm). The Seasiders cruised through the first round courtesy of an 8-0 win over Hemingbrough United and are going well at the moment.

Recovering from a slow start, they recently won four in a row prior to losing 3-2 at Beverley Town Reserves last weekend. Smalley welcomes his skipper back again after suspension but is set to be without Andy Graham, prompting yet another defensive rejig.

At least the return of Fitzpatrick and Frost should provide some more outfield options as the locals look to clear both cup hurdles placed in front of them in November.

The current glut of absences due to injury and illness isn’t confined to the higher level. Reserves boss Sam Outing saw his options reduced last Saturday morning by the loss of Steve Jamieson and Cam Lowery to the “lurgy”, and he has since been dealt another blow with news that Harry Pill’s season is over following the knee injury recently sustained while playing for the Thirds in Bridlington.

To compound last week’s tale of numerical woe, Thirds boss Foxx Blyth (who was set to finally shed his “caretaker” tag at Tuesday’s monthly committee meeting) saw his options reduced when the car taking Connor Gallagher and Charlie Ashwell to Holme Rovers Reserves was involved in an accident en-route.

Thankfully, both players were unharmed but were unable to continue on their journey. As things stand, Outing and Blyth will have good numbers at their disposal this weekend when both face big games.

For the Stiffs there’s a trip to highflying Little Driffeld in ER County League Division 2, while the Thirds host Withernsea Reserves in a Guy Fawkes Day derby at Patrington.

For the second successive weekend, the action is brought to a close on Sunday when the Awd Ezzies visit Little Weighton for a rearranged Hull Vets League Division 5 fixture (2pm).

The locals will be desperate to bounce back from last Sunday’s defeat at the hands of Gilberdyke Phoenix Vets.

Off the field, our thanks go to Withernsea Carpets for their kind sponsorship of last week’s HPL game at Low Farm. Thanks also go to Cablescan UK, the latest company to invest in one of our pitchside advertising boards.

For those wishing to spend a little less but support the club in its plans, we are currently seeking sponsorship for the annual Eastenders Christmas Race Night, being held in the Marquis of Granby on Saturday, December 10.

Races are available to sponsor at £25 each and this can be done by contacting the club direct (email [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).