Arlesey’s excellent away form continued with a 2-1 win at Petersfield Town on Saturday.
This was a well disciplined and good team performance from Arlesey on what was definitely the worse pitch of the season so far and in the teeth of a gale. The team now seem to be making some progress and this is reflected in recent away wins in the Southern League Division One Central.
Another weekend with a strong gale blowing, but this time coupled with a really poor pitch that had been vertidrained in the week leaving it rutted and bumpy. Add to that a big slope in two directions on the pitch and quite long grass and a really muddy rutted goalmouth and it didn’t bode well for a classy game of football.
Arlesey welcomed Dylan Gittens in for his first start as they aimed to continue the good form from Tuesday at Leighton.
Arlesey started with the strong wind at their backs but the first real attack came from the home side as Jamie Ford worked well down the left and attacked into the box and hit a good shot that Nick Thompson pushed over the bar for a corner that was cleared before a long ball back in was comfortably taken by Thompson.
Arlesey countered with Bill Plumpton feeding Ben Farrell who fed Nathan Olukanmi through but he was unable to control his shot hitting it high over the bar.
Olukanmi was looking to push forward and he was put through by Christian Tavernier but it was cleared for a throw. Olukanmi again attacked beating three defenders before being fouled in the centre of the “D”. Luke Abraham was unable in the swirling wind to keep his free kick down putting it over the bar. A good throw to Lewis Wilson saw his turn and hit a great shot that was thwarted by an equally great save from Ex Arlesey keeper Anthony Ender as he threw himself at the shot conceding a corner which was cleared.
A cross in from the right was briefly dropped as Thompson mishandled the muddy ball but nobody was near and it was cleared.
At the other end a cross in from Abraham was easily collected by Ender and from an Arlesey corner Petersfield broke well from defence with the tricky looking Oliver Bailey but he was well stopped on the edge of the Arlesey box by Andre Maltay.
A free kick by the half way line caught everybody out apart from Bailey as he was fed straight through into space; he attacked the bye line and pulled the ball back into the crowd in the centre and Howard Neighbour get a touch to send it through the muddy morass and crowd of legs to go just inside the far post to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Arlesey responded as Dylan Gittens accelerated down the wing a left his defender for dead and he put in a good cross that was cleared, and a good cross in from the other side from Olukanmi just found Wilson but he was stretching and put the ball over the bar from close range.
David Jerrard was booked for pulling Harry Carr’s shirt. The free kick in was cleared and Neighbour fed Bailey through and he went down on the edge of Arlesey’s area put instead of awarding a penalty the ref blew for off side.
The game was stopped as Olly Searle went down injured as he pulled something and after some treatment he went off to be replaced by Joseph Richardson.
The wind was having the effect of making Arlesey over hit the ball and holding the ball up for Petersfield letting the break out and Jerrard fed Bailey and turned well on the edge of the area to shoot wide. Another good move put bailey through again but again he was stopped with another great tackle from Maltay.
As the half finished Arlesey still pushed on with Olukanmi pulling a good ball back to ben Farrell who shot wide and Farrell returning the favour as he put a ball in that was well taken by Ender over Olukanmi leaving this at 1-0 at half time in these really difficult conditions.
Petersfield now with the gale at their backs started the second period strongly keeping Arlesey defending. Joseph Briggs put in a cross as Carr lost his footing and Maltay headed well over the bar for a corner that was well taken by Thompson.
Wilson had a good low long shot that was well taken by Ender in the mud before at the other end Bailey reacted well to a ball the bounced awkwardly and this brought another good save from Thompson conceding a corner. This was half cleared but a free kick was awarded on the edge of the area for an Arlesey infringement. This was headed clear but driven straight back in only for the shot to clear the bar as the wind took it.
Olukanmi again drove forward and was fouled on the edge of the box by Sean Wain who was booked. Luke Abraham lined up the free kick from what was perhaps the highest part of the sloping pitch and drove in a vicious ball that beat Enders at his near post low down to score a deserved equaliser at 1-1.
As the wind if anything was getting worse and more gusty, a Petersfield free kick from about 25yards went well wide and the aerial ball was almost unplayable.
Arlesey replaced Lewis Wilson with Tarum Dawkins as they changed tactics slightly.
A good move from the home side saw a good move develop into the box and a good shot that Thompson pulled a great save off of as he pushed it onto the bar and the ball was cleared.
Dylan Gittens who had run well all game accelerated past his defender leaving him for dead and he pulled a great ball back to Olukanmi in the centre who forced it past Enders from close range for his 2nd goal in the week for 1-2 to Arlesey.
Petersfield immediately replaced Howard Neighbour with Andrew Todd.
As Petersfield tried to get back into the game a corner was well headed down but equally well taken by a well-placed Thompson.
Arlesey replaced the hard working Harry Carr with Louis Lee to give some fresh legs in the middle. A good ball through fed in Tarum Dawkins but his shot was well taken by Ender, and Christian Tavernier fed Olukanmi into the box; he hit a shot that Enders palmed over the bar with a good save. This corner was cleared quickly with another quick break and Jerrard hit a good shot that Thompson saved well.
From a Petersfield corner the ball was flicked around in the box to come back off the post before being cleared.
Lewis Hyde was then booked for a foul. From the free kick Enders dropped the ball, the ball was half cleared before Gittens made a good attack into the box but this was well stopped by Enders.
Petersfield made their last change as Sean Wain was replaced by Jason Silver.
Just two mins later Bailey went down injured by the corner and with him not moving the ball was put out of play.
After some treatment and as all of the subs had been used Bailey came back on but was clearly now “out of the game” for the remaining minutes.
Another break out saw Andre Maltay make another challenge right on the edge of the area and for this one the Ref awarded a free kick and booked Maltay although the home players were baying for more. From this Jerrard drove his shot just past the post.
Jamie Ford kept moaning and was then booked for dissent.
On 90 minutes Nathan Olukanmi was replaced by Sam Willett and he went off to applause from the Arlesey fans.
With the strong wind pinning them in Arlesey defended the last few moments and as the final whistle went they celebrated a good hard fought victory.
Arlesey Town: Nick Thompson, Bill Plumpton, Luke Abraham, Ben Farrell, Andre Maltay©, Matt Hall, Nathan Olukanmi (Willett 90), Harry Carr (Lee 72) Lewis Wilson (Dawkins 65) Christian Tavernier, Dylan Gittens.
Subs: -, Louis Lee, Dave Deeney Luke Rowland, Sam Willett, Tarum Dawkins.