Ollerton Town slipped to a 4-0 defeat away at high-flying Eccleshill United on Wednesday but in no way disgraced themselves throughout the game.
Both teams started the game playing the ball along the floor and the quality of the interplay between the Ollerton midfield contributed to a very encouraging start to the game. In spite of Ollerton’s bright start to the game, it was Eccleshill who had the first real chance as a cross in from the left hand side was flicked towards goal by Jonny Irving but ‘keeper Ryan Brooks produced a brilliant reaction save to deny Eccleshill an early lead.
Ollerton still had some early success but their main chance early on was a long range curling shot from Ash Shannon which didn’t really seem to trouble Eccleshill keeper Dominic Smith.
Eccleshill became far stronger as the half went on as they really started to dominate possession for long periods of the half and were incredibly effective at recycling possession with their high defensive line on the halfway line.
Ollerton struggled to retain possession and struggled to make their way out of their half and Eccleshill were finally able to make their pressure pay as Luke Harrop slid a ball in behind to Jonny Irving who was able to maintain his composure and round Ryan Brooks to provide himself with an easy finish to give Eccleshill a deserved lead.
Ollerton ended the half far stronger than Eccleshill but didn’t seem to have that cutting edge when they were on top. Ollerton moved the ball faster towards the end of the half and really caused troubles for the Eccleshill defence and could’ve found an equaliser late on as Lewis Bingham found himself through on goal but Liam Hudson produced a goal saving tackle to deny Bingham.
The first half seemed to end at the perfect time for Eccleshill as Ollerton appeared to be gaining momentum and looked to be on the verge of an equaliser but ended the half a goal down.
Ollerton couldn’t carry any momentum from the end of the first half into the second half as a ball in behind the Ollerton defence was latched onto by Harrop who was closed down by the onrushing Brooks but was still able to slip the ball over him to double Eccleshill’s lead.
Ollerton continued to battle on but still struggled with the final ball. The attacking combination of Shannon and King is one of two high quality players but also two very similar players in the sense that both players want to drop deeper and be more involved in the build up play. This often saw Ollerton work the ball into good positions but then have no target to aim at in the box.
At 2-0 there was still some belief that Ollerton could’ve mounted a comeback but Eccleshill were able to kill of the game in the 67th minute as Scott Manning was able to play a through ball in behind Ollerton’s defence into the path of Harrop and he made no mistake as easily slotted the ball past Brooks to finish off any hopes of an Ollerton comeback.
Ollerton hadn’t been outclassed throughout the game but Eccleshill just played like a team that had won their last eight games. Star man Luke Harrop carried on his clinical form after netting a hattrick in his previous game against Dronfield and he made it 4-0 with a right footed effort from 25 yards out was enough to beat Brooks and to secure hattricks in consecutive games.
To round off a disappointing game for Ollerton, Sean Dickinson was bizarrely sent off for a second bookable offence in a decision which even confused certain Eccleshill fans. Dickinson’s first yellow card in the lead up to Eccleshill’s second goal was perceived by most as a fair challenge and the second yellow card was awarded due to simply laughing at the referee’s decision to award a free kick. While it didn’t affect the outcome of the game, the decision to send off Dickinson was a very confusing moment to end off a disappointing performance for Ollerton.
While the score line may represent a rout, Ollerton never looked to be outclassed in general play. Ollerton struggled to carve open a well structured Eccleshill defence but never deserved to lose by the eventual four goal margin.
The main positive to take from this game is that Ollerton have now finished off their challenging run of fixtures which has included seven of the current top nine teams in their last nine games and a slightly easier run of fixtures should hopefully be enough to reverse their current form. Eccleshill showed tonight why they are league leaders and a promotion chasing team but Ollerton will look to bounce back and regain some confidence when they travel to Worsbrough Bridge on Saturday.