Church answers Brewers’ prayers

August 30, 2021

Tadcaster Albion 2 Sheffield FC 2

A late Eddie Church header earned Tadcaster a point at the Global Stadium last Saturday after battling back from two goals down against Sheffield FC on the opening day of the season.

The game started in the worst possible way for the Brewers, as after just four minutes, the visitors took the lead through a Charlie Reaney free-kick, which found the top corner brilliantly. Despite going behind early, the hosts had a firm grip of the game and controlled large parts of the possession. Joe Wilkinson and Kesi Omolokun saw a lot of the ball as they tried to build up attacks from the back and get the Brewers back in the game. Ten minutes in, Donald Chimalilo almost levelled with a powerful effort from range which forced the Sheffield keeper Jonathon Hedge to tip over the crossbar.

That man Chimalilo would be involved heavily throughout the game from the left-hand side, constantly being a threat to the visitors’ backline, running at his man and producing some brilliant skill as well as linking up with Freddie Sass. After an impressive start from Chimalilo, Junayd Cassius-Gill was next to try his luck, cutting in from the right and striking left-footed but his effort was comfortably collected by the keeper. Not long after the half-hour mark, the visitors had their second of the game from as many attempts. A free-kick was delivered deep to the back post, following a scramble and the ball striking the upright, Jacob Fenton arrived and fired in the loose ball. Taddy’s reaction was a positive one.

Immediately, Church managed to work an opportunity, but his low drive cannoned back off the foot of the post, whilst Cassius Gill’s follow up was held by the keeper. Late in the first half, Church would try his look again - battling with the big Sheffield centre-halves, he bustled his way through but just couldn’t poke the ball beyond the keeper who came out and smothered it. Tadcaster had work to do in the second half, and Paul Quinn’s men came out firing on all cylinders. Less than ten minutes into the second 45, they had one back courtesy of Cassius-Gill. The winger picked out Chimalilo, who drove past the full-back and then pulled the ball back for the on-rushing Cassius-Gill, who calmly slotted it into the far corner. Buoyed by their early second-half goal, Tadcaster kept pushing, the Sheffield defence stood firm but were dropping deeper and deeper as time wore on. Cassius-Gill and Chimalilo both had strong penalty claims waved away by the referee, but the hosts still kept on knocking on the door. In the 66th minute, Chimalilo would again try his luck. After terrorising his marker, the winger shifted the ball onto his right foot just inside the box before firing towards the far post, but his effort was deflected and cleared off the line by a defender.

As Tadcaster pushed for an equaliser, manager Quinn turned to the bench - bringing on Des Amponsah for skipper Simon Russell, who had worked tirelessly alongside Marco Basic and Corey Roper in the middle of the park. Ten minutes later, a clash of heads forced Dan Hartley off, with Kieran Burton replacing him following a lengthy stoppage. Sheffield did have one or two moments themselves on the counter, as the game headed towards the 90-minute mark, but Harrison Davison-Hale, who had been largely a spectator all game, comfortably collected an effort from Ben Harriott, for his first and only save of the 90 minutes. With time running out for Tadcaster, Marco Basic‘s free-kick, which looked destined to find the corner, was well blocked by a defender, and it was beginning to look like the equaliser was going to elude the hosts. However, there would be a couple more opportunities for Tadcaster, as the game headed into seven minutes of additional time. Deep into stoppage time, Roper delivered an inch-perfect corner onto the head of Church, who rose well and powerfully headed down into the corner, opening his account on his debut.

In the aftermath of the goal, the home side made their final change, as Joe Wilkinson was replaced by Rinor Ejupi. Chimalilo came agonisingly close to winning the game seconds before the final whistle, as the winger drove towards the edge of the box before unleashing a thunderous effort beating the keeper but narrowly wide of the upright. On a day where the Brewers could have had a lot more, Paul Quinn was happy with the character shown by his side to fight back from two goals down, taking plenty of positives from the game and into the rest of the season. After the final whistle, the club announced that Dan Hartley was found to be concussed, but no further injury was diagnosed. Tadcaster Albion wishes the player a speedy recovery. Report from Olly Wood.

Junayd Cassius-Gill goes close for Tadcaster Albion. (19-08-108 SU)

Photo Courtesy of Keith Handley.

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