Malton & Norton 2
The first York League division one game of the new campaign saw Malton & Norton travel to newly-promoted Aviva with a similar side to that which ended the last campaign, apart from Kingsley Daffern, who made his M&N bow.
M&N were without defender Steve Twamley, who looks set to miss the first month of the new season due to a foot injury, and also missing from the squad was recent signing Mark Taylor due to work commitments, which meant Andrew Thornton had to postpone retirement plans for one week at least.
On a very hot day M&N were quickly into their stride, looking the more comfortable of the two sides with some free flowing football.
It was no surprise that the first chance fell to the visitors on five minutes when some neat build-up play saw Marcus Godsell’s sweetly struck shot warmed the hands of the home side’s goalkeeper.
On 10 minutes the second chance of the game fell to the visiting team as Liam Burdett’s sweetly-struck long-range effort rattled the crossbar from 30 yards out.
The home side’s real first meaningful attack saw M&N deal comfortably with a free-kick given away by Slaughter but from the resulting corner the Aviva attacker rose highest the head the ball back across the goal to give the home side a surprise lead.
This only spurred M&N on as the their territorial dominance continued as they continued to pin the home side back and after 25 minutes the lively Simon Reeves was released by Liam Burdett but unfortunately the home side’s keeper was up to the task with a smart low save to keep the home side’s lead intact.
The bombardment continued as Daffren and Reeves linked up well unfortunately the latter’s low powerful shot across the face of the goal landed the wrong side of the net.
In between this M&N had a penalty appeal turned down as Reeves was bundled to the floor by an Aviva defender and only a few minutes later Godsell was brought down when through on goal but to the amazement of M&N the referee waved play on.
Just as the next goal only looked like coming from the visitors it was the home side that nearly struck a killer blow as a low dipping shot was dealt with by Slaughter in the visitor’s goal.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first with M&N firmly on top and only looking like conceding from a mistake of their own.
On 55 minutes, Reeves once again released but again the home side’s keeper was up to the task with another crucial save also been aided by his centre-half who cleared of the line.
On 60 minutes, the first change of the game was made by manager Stuart Collins replacing the energetic Liam Burdett with Chris Hodgson Snr and this was to prove vital as the latter showed his expertise from dead balls as his beautifully timed pass found the feet of Reeves and this time the M&N frontman was up to the task neatly slotting home passed the Aviva keeper the level the scores and give the visitors a much-deserved equaliser.
Darryl Craggs was introduced with the game entering the final quarter as M&N pushed for a winner and this was another inspired change as centre-half Connor Shipley won the first header which was neatly helped on by Hodgson and once again Reeves showed his composure to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
Just as M&N looked like taking all three points there was a an unfortunate twist as the impressive Kevin Oxendale cleared his line unfortunately the ball cannoned back off the referee catching the M&N back four out as they pushed out leaving Aviva’s right-winger to slide past Slaughter with seven minutes remaining.
The last few minutes were safely negotiated by the home side with only a snap-shot from Godsell looking like threatening the score leaving the home side happy to come out of the game with a share of the spoils.
Left-back Scott Parkes was named M&N’s man of the match with another outstanding display also skipper Kevin Oxendale impressed at centre half.
This week sees M&N face a tricky encounter at Hemingborough.