• Rob McNeil

Long Eaton get the season off to a flyer


Long Eaton Utd 3-0 Selston

Long Eaton United began their UCFL Premier Division North campaign with a win as they battled and fought off Selston at Grange Park on Tuesday evening.

Kameron Campbell’s rebound bicycle kick put the Blues one goal ahead going into half-time.

They then made their victory more convincing in the second half, as Alex Marshall guided home a thumping header and Jamie Walker tucked away a late penalty to earn all three points.

Ian Deakin handed Sam Parker his competitive debut for the Blues alongside a strong squad to start the new season, as last season’s captain Romaine Graham dropped to the bench.

Long Eaton started the more dominant of the two, creating several chances in the first ten minutes, but the best came from the head of Alex Marshall. An early cross from Tom Marshall found the head of his brother Alex at the back post, although the Blues forward could not generate enough power to trouble Brandon Meehan in the Selston goal.

The Blues opened the scoring only 20 minutes into the match when Jamie Walker displayed some excellent footwork to round the Selston defence and get a shot off – however, that shot was initially saved and parried by Meehan, which allowed Campbell to dispatch excellently with a makeshift bicycle kick.

Jamie Walker in action against Selston. Photo: Long Eaton United

Keiran Walker had his first real chance to launch a dangerous throw into the box midway through the first half, and although it met the head of Mitchell Robinson, the attempt did not trouble the visitors’ keeper.

Selston had a chance to level the scoreline with seven minutes left in the first half. Lewis Fantom’s footwork forced keeper Sam Wilson into a challenge that the referee adjudged to be a foul inside the box, for which he awarded the visitors a penalty.

Ben Moore stepped up to take the penalty for Selston and despite what looked to be a perfectly placed strike into the bottom right corner of the goal, the Blues shot-stopper Wilson guessed correctly and denied the visitors their equaliser.

Deakin’s side were not slow out of the blocks in the second half either, as it only took four minutes for the Blues’ next big chance. Both centre backs combined once again, as Keiran Walker’s trademark long throw-in found the head of Robinson, although the defender would turn in disbelief as he saw his header glance off the underside of the crossbar and be gathered by Meehan.

The Blues did eventually double their lead in the 62nd minute, after Tom Marshall was able to whip a corner deep into the box and it was Alex Marshall who rose highest to head home comfortably.

Minutes later, Jamie Walker made it three. Tom Marshall weaved inside the box dangerously and forced a foul from Jack Dando. The resultant penalty was taken and slotted into the far-right corner exceptionally by Jamie Walker, despite the fact that Meehan dived the right way.

It looked as though Campbell was going to claim a brace with ten minutes left to play, as he found himself one-on-one with the keeper after latching onto a well-timed through ball from Tom Marshall, although this time Meehan made himself big and denied the forward.

Blues’ debutant Parker had displayed excellence and composure throughout the entirety of the match, and he almost topped off a brilliant performance with a goal minutes before the full-time whistle.

The full-back latched onto a loose clearance from the Selston defence on the edge of their box and struck the ball venomously towards goal, but Meehan came to the visitors’ rescue once again.