Paul ByrneA day of mixed fortunes for The Dock as we took on title challengers Woodchurch . It has to be said that for a large period of the game we were out battled and over powered by the visitors and it was only in the last half hour that we got some sort of foot hold into the game.

The warning signs that we were in for a tough encounter were evident as early as the opening five minutes or so when Sample was forced into two needed defensive headers on the bounce and more strong defending was needed from Byrne and Simon as the Woody pressured.

In the 17th minute Paul Byrne conceded a free kick in a dangerous area and Dock were almost made to pay as the resulting cross was headed narrowly wide. Two minutes later Reay man was almost in but the Woodchurch keeper was first to the ball to quell any danger.

Against the run of play, Dock took the lead. 22 minutes had passed when the left foot of Ian Brunt put us one up. Gary Reay won a free kick, and from that, the ball was pumped into the Woodchurch box and fell to Brunty’s trusty left peg ! Ivan Drago made no mistake and wheeled away to celebrate pointing to the foot that had done the deed!

The lead lasted eight minutes as the Woody came back to equalize with a well taken header as The Dock switched off to the danger. One minute after the goal, the Goose had to save smartly to concede a corner and it was back under pressure for The Dock.

A Mark Head shot troubled the keeper on 37 minutes but apart from that it was second best for most of the half as we looked to the half time whistle for a change in fortune. Before the whistle came, Goose had a moment to forget as he made a mess of a clearance to leave the Woody forward with an easy task to roll the ball home to make it 1.2. There was still enough time to see a Josh Durres header flash past the post from a Hammond free kick.

After a heated half time team talk, The Dock attempted to get a grip on the game only to find the same story of Woodchurch pressure. The Goose was forced into a save low to his left on 46 minutes and, although the workrate was slightly better, Dock went further behind on 52 minutes when a long ball over the top caused confusion between Sample and Goose and the forward nipped in to score.

Dock made a double substitution on 55 minutes and it was either a case of the Woody being content with their lead or had blown themselves out. The next 15 minutes were non descript and it was in the 70th minute The Dock reduced the arrears as Sample got the slightest of flicks on a header from a free kick. The Woody had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down in the 75th minute and the thought was that ‘you had seen them given.’ Bryne was replaced by Colin O’Hanlon on 80 minutes and five minutes later Brunty had a header turned over the bar. The Dock were now going long and pumping every free kick into the Woody box aiming for the advanced Sample and it was deep into injury time when a free kick was lofted in and fell to Gary Reay, unmarked, six yards out and in front of goal. It still had to be finished and finish it he did!…..3.3.

I made it 96 minutes played and although the Woody will feel robbed the only positives we can take is that we kept going to the end and came back from 1.3 down to nick a point when we deserved none. Nice to get something when not playing well and I can’t believe that we will be that poor next time we meet.

Man of the Match :- Good performance from Josh Durres but Liam Simon edges it for a solid defensive display.

Report: Mike Stephens
Photos: Chris Stading


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