Clean Slate – 1
Aston Clinton – 2
Aston Clinton lined up on Saturday in the blistering heat, thinking that at the end of their hectic schedule of seventeen matches in the last seven weeks, nothing else could go wrong. However, the game was abandoned on seventy-eight minutes when a clumsy challenge in midfield left Clinton midfielder Elias Williams flat out with a painful injury to his collarbone that needed an ambulance to be called and left the referee no choice but to abandon the game. Clinton had raced into a two-goal lead by half-time but were under some pressure after the break when Clean Slate pulled a goal back, the match brought to a premature end just as those on the side lines were beginning to think the hosts were on the verge of the most unlikely of comebacks.
The visitors took the lead in just the fourth minute, a huge goal kick from Liam Smith saw the Slate defence hesitate to clear and allow the ball to bounce on the edge of their box, Luke Desmond did not waver to nip in and slot past home custodian Krzysztof Kwapinski. Clean Slate almost fought straight back when a pull back from the byline saw Junior Osci-Tutu smash at goal, just as it looked the ball would hit the roof of the net an outstretched hand from Smith pushed over for a corner.
A cross from Desmond out on the Clinton left saw Lewis Workman get ahead of his marker and manage to connect with the ball but could only loop over Kwapinski and eventually bounce a couple of yards wide of the left-hand post. On twenty-five minutes the away side doubled their lead through Alex Little, in the build up a foul on Williams saw his team mates all calling for a free kick, but Little collected the loose ball and shot from twenty-five yards, Kwapinski was behind the ball but it bounced in front of him and over his arms and in.
Another long goal kick from Smith saw Ryan Binnee away down the Aston right, and from a tight angle he fired low towards the near post, the Slate keeper went down but spilled and with Workman lurking he had to throw himself on the ball to stop the frontman getting in a clear shot. A free kick then into the Slate box saw Little head away to the right of goal, running in Binnee flashed a shot across the goal mouth and just wide of the far post.
Another free kick just inside the Clinton half then saw Smith loft the ball high into the opposition box where Little headed straight at Kwapinski, and at this stage Clinton were comfortable with everything their hosts threw at them, typified when a free kick curled into the box simply allowed Smith to call for, then jump above everyone to gather in mid-air. H/T: 0-2
If Aston thought they were coming out for the second half to just see the game out, they were soon knocked back to sense when after just four minutes Clean Slate pulled a goal back. A ball down their right channel saw Osci-Tutu run through before flashing the ball across Smith and into the top corner. From there the hosts seemed to gain some belief and had some good spells of possession, Tyrelle McLeod-Bentley seized upon a chance from twenty-five yards but curled straight into the waiting gloves of the Aston keeper.
The first chance for Clinton after the break fell to Binnee who accepted the chance to shoot from a poor goal kick, but from twenty yards out he fired straight back to Kwapinski. McLeod-Bentley then tried another curler that cleared the post, yet most on the pitch were stunned when the officials indicated a corner kick. At the other end Williams fed in Little to the left of goal, he played the ball across goal where running in Workman was about a foot ahead of the ball and a defender cleared.
Desmond then crossed from the right and in the middle Clinton skipper Alex McGowan climbed highest but could only head over the bar. On seventy-one minutes another thumping goal kick from Smith was again allowed to bounce causing havoc for the Slate backline, Workman nipped in and as the ball deflected off an arm the referee pointed for a free kick, some thought initially a penalty. A free kick in the penalty arc was the decision, Adam Beckett took responsibility driving low under the wall but straight at Kwapinski.
Then with twelve minutes left an Aston attack was thwarted when Williams who was sprinting towards the Slate goal was obstructed by Slate skipper Erind Hoxha bowling him onto the hard surface. Within seconds the Clinton bench were on attending to their colleague, and an ambulance called within minutes, meaning the official had to call the game off.
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