The game was an ugly and physical contest in which Shanklin ground down the league leaders in a war of attrition to clinch the game – and probably the title – deep in injury time.
The match began promisingly with plenty of action in the opening 10 minutes. The Seasiders drew first blood when Nicky Vyse was felled by Graeme Bast in the penalty area for veteran Iain Seabrook to convert the penalty in just the 4th minute (1-0). However, Shanklin’s joy was short-lived as W&B centre forward Josh Appell scored an equalizing goal 3 minutes later (1-1).
After 2 quick goals in the opening 5 minutes, the 2 strongest Island League sides cancelled each other out for the remainder of the 1st half. George Carter-Knight shot across the face of the goal for Shanklin 10 minutes before the half time break, and Josh Appell had a couple of chances to add to his goal tally for the away side, but the scores remained level until the half time whistle.
Half time: Shanklin 1-1 Whitecroft & Barton
Shanklin began the 2nd half on the front foot with Jake Wright missing an open goal in the 50th minute. At the other end of the pitch Liam Slaven had a penalty appeal turned down, and Josh Appell had a strong shot saved by Ward. In the 77th minute, Shanklin’s Brad Young saw his header trickle past the upright.
W&B needed only a point to retain the Div 1 championship, and it appeared as if they would do so until the 85th minute, when Matt Evans was sinbinned, leaving Shanklin playing against 10 men. A minute later, the away side were reduced from 10 men to just 9, when W&B substitute Jake Wright made a reckless challenge on his namesake Shanklin’s Jake Wright and was given a straight red.
In the last minute of full time, Shanklin were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the W&B penalty area. Dead ball specialist Iain Seabrook took the kick but could only hit the defensive wall.
Deep into stoppage time, Ryan Hill (who had earlier been substituted but returned to the pitch in the final stages of the game) received the ball 10 yards from the goal, swivelled and blasted the ball past W&B keeper Gareth True to provoke wild celebrations among the Shanklin players and supporters (2-1).
Shanklin came close to adding a 3rd goal moments before the final whistle when Cory Sanderson found himself unmarked in the W&B penalty area but failed to properly connect his head with the ball.
Full time: Shanklin 2-1 Whitecroft & Barton
Shanklin: Ward, Wilson, Smythers, Seabrook, Wright, Newnham, Cook, Hill, Vyse, Drew, Carter-Knight Subs: Sanderson, Young, Waterson
Whitecroft & Barton: True, K. Sainsbury, Shaw, Ovnik, Bast, Rayner, Yelland, A. Sainsbury, Appell, Evans, Slaven Subs: Martin, Wright, McDonough
After the game Shanklin manager Paul Haward said:
“It didn’t matter how the game went as long as we got the 3 points. But I’m not taking the Division 1 championship for granted. We still have 1 more game to go.”
This Saturday (14th May) Shanklin play their final league game against Brading Town at the Peter Henry ground. Victory would see Paul Haward’s men take the Division 1 title.
In other Division 1 games…
Niton 0-4 Oakfield
Niton have been relegated from Division 1 after losing their final game of the season 0-4 to Oakfield at Nine Acres. On target for the Oakers were Harry Taylor (2), Liam Bennett, and Martin Barrow.
Ryde Saints 2-6 Brading Town
The Romans beat the Saints at Smallbrook courtesy of goals from Charlie Page, Dan Vale, Tim Shaw, Barry Calvert (2), and Aaron Youngson. Brading’s win sees them advance to 4th place in the Division 1 table. Saints’ defeat leaves them second-from-bottom, but Niton’s loss ensures 1st Division football for the Ryde side next season.
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