Manager of the Month curse almost strikes
Arlesey Town 1 Flackwell Heath 1 MARCUS CRAWLEY Reports A DOUBLE celebration off the pitch for the Blues was not matched by excitement on it in this dour draw. Even a late equaliser to earn a point would have done little to warm the hearts of the Arlesey
Arlesey Town 1 Flackwell Heath 1
MARCUS CRAWLEY Reports
A DOUBLE celebration off the pitch for the Blues was not matched by excitement on it in this dour draw.
Even a late equaliser to earn a point would have done little to warm the hearts of the Arlesey faithful who witnessed this frustrating 90 minutes.
The day started well with the news that acting boss Darran Hay had been named as Manager of the Month in the Ryman League Division One North, while Luke Bliss picked up the accolade of the Golden Gloves award despite being the club's number two keeper.
But their recent upturn in fortunes looked like being undone by the bottom of the table visitors who belied their lowly league position.
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A painful afternoon for the fans was mirrored by two Blues players - Martin Williams and Ozie Foster - being forced off just before the break due to injury.
There were precious few chances during the half with the limited efforts at goal generally well off the mark.
Flackwell Heath could have taken a surprise lead after just five minutes but Keiran Thorne blasted high and wide in a sure sign of things to come.
Arlesey did not threaten at all until 25 minutes had passed.
Their strikers combined for once as Michael McKenzie played in Foster but his left-foot shot rolled agonisingly just past the post.
In response, former England youth international Jason Bowler was not far away with a long range effort.
Kaan Fehmi, named as man of the match, took matters in his own hands in the next Arlesey attack, his fine solo run not matched by a finish as he stretched to poke the ball wide.
Dean McElroy and Stevenage Boro youth teamer David Iwediuno came on for the stricken pair of Williams and Foster respectively before the half ended.
There were rare moments of activity for the Arlesey keeper Jack Rashid, back in place of Bliss, during this spell.
First he raced out of his area to thwart Jon Donoghue and then, in added time, he was at full stretch to save from the same man after some slack play at the back.
The sides at least exchanged decent opportunities on the restart.
Dwayne Williams ought to have done better as he shot wide for the visitors, while the excellence of McKenzie's approach play for Arlesey was not matched by a comparable finish.
Flackwell Heath took the lead in the 58th minute with a real bolt from the blue - and for the Blues - as full-back Liam Wright scored from the edge of the box past Rashid.
This was the cue for increased Arlesey pressure which yielded precious few clear sights of goal.
The visitors were content to just clear their lines as time wore on but they probably did not deserve what happened to them in the 89th minute.
Craig Rydeheard swung over a corner and skipper James Gray powered in a header at the far post.
The equaliser was the catalyst for an end-to-end finale where either might have snatched maximum points.
Hay knows his side must improve for Saturday's trip to play Enfield and the visit of AFC Hornchurch on Tuesday.
Blues: Rashid, K Fehmi, Bloss, Williams (McElroy 35m), Dogbe, Gray, Tekell (Barr 71m), Beevor, McKenzie, Foster (Iwediuno 41m), Rydeheard.