February 2007 : 2nd "Last Minute" Draw With Romhill
The last time these two sides meet, Esprit were bullied off the park and managed to get a 1-1 draw thanks to a Daniel "Jack" Parker wonder run in the last minute of injury time to break Romhill hearts. Esprit felt cheated then and they felt cheated again in almost a carbon copy match. This game however was a tad more eventful.
Esprit started positively with a 4-4-2 formation with Paul Hill back in the team at right back and Phil Lewis going left back in for the injured Rob Hurst. Dan Parker was pushed into centre midfield with stand-in skipper, Stuart Greenhill. Ogs was away skiing and Neg was on the bench having just past a late fitness test after a 3 month absence. With the squad fired up and the blood pumping, Esprit took the lead within 5 minutes as Gareth Foot, who himself was playing for the first time in a month, fed Ricky Blanks who gave the keeper no chance with a well taken drive. Esprit were 1-0 up, only the third time they had taken the lead all season.
Esprit should have killed the game off as they dominated for over half and hour, with Dave Alexander missing two golden chances, one an early shot when he had time and the other an over-hit chip. Gareth was also hungry to grab his 60th goal for the club, and he also had two close calls. Skipper Greenhill hit a freekick just over but they just couldn't test the keeper. Romhill resulted in long balls to their strikers, with their first effort testing keeper Hanson who pulled off a great double save. However Romhill did score a good goal minutes later as a cross from their winger was tapped in at the far post. Esprit should have fought back but they were cheated when another long ball fell to their lone striker, a good 10 yards off side. Esprit's No.1 Lino was ignored and Romhill went into the break 2-1 up. Romhill at this point were getting more and more physical with no assistance from the referee. Daniel Yeo, normally Mr. Calm was getting kicked off the ball and getting wound up. Then it all turned to madness as Esprit lost their heads. A female spectator shall we say from the pikey side of Hainault Forest, started to mouth off putting the lovely Jade Goody in the shade.
Half time couldn't come soon enough...or so Esprit thought. As Runo was giving his speech about "playing it simple and trying to forget the referee and beat them at their own game " Senors Murphy and Alexander brought shame onto themselves by arguing like two old women about Romhill's second offside goal. In fairness the passion these men have was on show and it was because they care about the club. People started to argue and all of a sudden Mr. Alex Ferguson was put in the shade as Runo blew hit top like never before and told everyone to go home with a few strong words thrown into the mix. Esprit pulled together and promised to do it for the gaffer.
Clearly the Pikey Bitch was still on the agenda as Esprit went on the pitch for the second half as Romhill extended their lead. As she shouted abuse, Runo had to be held back by a small army or risk arrest by Mr. Blanks. Kuku managed to calm down his manager but forgot to calm himself down. It was all out of control. The referee lost control as she stormed onto the pitch and the game was halted for 5 minutes. It was time for a change and Phil's request to come off was ignored and a double subsitition of Yeo and Kuks for Neg and Runo for the final half hour, changed the game. Both men, pumped up started to play it nice and easy yet rattled the Romhill players with their presence. Runo laid Neg whose volley flew inched wide. Dan Parker then had an effort which was fairly close.
Esprit started to dominate again and Romhill crept back into their shells. From a Neg corner, Ricky got his second of the game and his 49th for the club. It also put him top of the goalscoring charts with Wale, only one ahead of Gareth and Olgun ....err Olgun !!!! It was game on as Dave Alexander made up for his misses in the first half with a shot from outside the box which floated into the top corner. It was fitting that Murphy, Alexander and Gokdemir celebrated this goal together, forgetting the half time bust time and almost booking a hotel room for the final whistle. 3-3 with 5 minutes to go...the least Esprit deserved. (15 minutes disappeared from the referee's clock as Esprit fought back) Alexander came off for Burton.
Then as Murphy tackled their winger, he fell to the floor and to the amazement the referee awarded a penalty. Even the Romhill players looked embrassed but what did the Esprit boys really expect after a game like this. Murphy got booked for dissent and who can blame the big man, thats the second time this has happened to him this season. The goal was tucked away and Esprit looked down and out with a minute left. From the centre the ball was lost and then won again by the defemce, a Burton ball down the left was played into Gareth whose shot flew and goalbound. Runo perfectly position put his fat frame in the way to trick the goalkeeper's dive and chested it into the net to draw Esprit level. The young 20s-something manager had fittingly on this day scored, a week to the year since his last goal.
A point would have been disappointing before kick off but due to the circumstances, a draw was welcomed. Overall though Esprit had been cheated out of 4 points from Romhill this season. Sums up this season really.
Team : Nick Hanson, Paul Hill, Gary Murphy, Daniel Yeo, Phil Lewis, Daniel Parker, Stuart Greenhill (c) Hakeem Kuku, Dave Alexander, Ricky Blanks, Gareth Foot.
Subs Used: Neg Dupree, Runo Gokdemir, Danny Burton.