Gareth CravenDock succumbed to a last minute sucker punch at Bebington Oval last Sunday. The game was played out on a difficult, bumpy pitch in a swirling wind, which both teams found difficult to master.

Dock manager, Jason Williams, rang the changes and utilized his vast squad to start with a 4-3-3 system. Paul Davies returned in goal and young Jack Warburton made his first start at right back, since joining this season from youth football.

A scrappy start from both teams rendered both ‘keepers somewhat redundant and lots of passes were over hit due to the strong wind.

The first real chance of the game fell to Ian McGraa for Dock, whose effort was cleared off the goal line by a Lairds defender after twenty minutes. McGraa went close again on the half hour mark from a header from a Warburton cross, but the ball flew narrowly over the bar.

A minute later, good work from Paul Ryan set up Mark Head and his shot went wide of the post. The closest Dock came to scoring in the first half came on thirty five minutes, when after a Mark Head shot was blocked, Paul Byrne hit the bar with a thundering header. There was a further good effort form Rob Whyte before the break, but the teams went in all square at half time.

HT: Lairds S & S 0-0 Dock.

Dock resumed the second half, kicking against the wind and took the lead on fifty minutes from a fine passing move. The move started on the right and after some crisp passing between Warburton, Owen and Clampitt, the ball came to McGraa some twenty five yards out. After running into the box, avoiding numerous challenges, he coolly picked his spot from ten yards out to beat the home keeper (pictured below).

Docks lead what short lived, however, and Lairds struck back five minutes later when a free kick was allowed to travel into the six yard box for the Lairds forward to volley home.

Dock continued to move forward with their short passing game, which was countered by Laird’s approach of using the wind to their advantage which resulted in some quick counters from the home side, with ex-Docker Robinson showing some good touches for the home side. Dock’s defence looked pretty solid, however, and McGraa again came closest to scoring on seventy minutes following a free kick.

The game appeared to be fizzling out into a draw, when in the last minute, Lairds were awarded a free kick just inside the Dock half. The Lairds centre half pumped the ball into the box and a freak gust of wind took the ball directly into Davies’ net to give the home side an unexpected lead.

Mike Saunders went close to getting an equalizer at the death, but his header lacked the power to beat the Lairds ‘keeper and the referee blew for full time soon afterwards.

Dock can count themselves somewhat unfortunate to come away with nothing from this game and deserved at least a point from the balance of play and chances created.

FT: Lairds S & S 2-1 Dock.

Dock. 4-3-3 (with substitutes in brackets).
Davies, Warburton (Redmond), Byrne, Crotty, Wingfield (Clampitt), Owen, Craven (Kenyon), Ryan, I. McGraa (Hughes), Head (Saunders), Whyte.

Ian McGraa Goal


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