• Rob McNeil

Long Eaton maintain title push with win at Sleaford

UCL Premier North

Sleaford Town 1

Watkins 73

Long Eaton Utd 2

Fyfe 25, Campbell 79

Long Eaton extended their stay at the top of the table with a 2-1 victory over Sleaford Town on Saturday.

Reco Fyfe netted the only goal of the first half with a deflected strike in the 25th minute.

Kyle Watkins equalised for the Greens midway through the second half, but Kameron Campbell had the last say with a delicate dink late on.

The Greens in fact began the more positive of the two sides, as they piled the pressure on the Long Eaton defence and seemed to have more time on the ball in the opening five minutes.

Joe Braithwaite had the first real chance of the match in the third minute – a failed clearance meant a loose ball could be latched onto on the edge of the box, but the shot flew past the post.

The Blues did, however, strike the post moments later, when Jamie Walker played an inch perfect through ball in between the hosts’ defence and onto the run of Mitchell Robinson who – much to the keeper's delight - could not quite get a clean strike on the ball.

Rico Fyfe scores the opening goal. Photo: Long Eaton Utd.

The woodwork was struck again in the 17th minute, but this time it denied Sleaford. A deep cross was flicked towards goal by a towering head and powered against the crossbar at some speed.

Fyfe opened the scoring for the Blues midway through the first half, after the forward was allowed too much time and space down the left to drive, cut inside and unleash a drilled strike that deflected off a defender's leg and settled in the bottom right corner.

Minutes before the half-time whistle the Greens had a massive chance of their own through player-manager Tom Ward.

The big centre-half rose like a salmon to thump a header towards goal from close range, however Sam Wilson displayed immense reactions to tip the header over the bar.

Long Eaton began the second half in better fashion to the first, as they looked to play on the front foot and give Garry Doran some real issues in between the sticks.

The first chance came through Larell King, however, before the full back could get a shot off he was hacked down and the eventual attack came to no avail.

Robinson then had another chance for the Blues in the 68th minute. Keiran Walker – causing danger with his throw once again – launched the ball into the box and the towering midfielder rose highest but could only glance the ball onto the outside of the near post.

Five minutes later, the hosts managed to equalise through Watkins. Sleaford had been pummelling the Long Eaton defence for a heavy period of the match and an in swinging corner turned out to set up the inevitable goal, as Watkins thumped a header just inside the near post.

However, their lead did not last long, as less than ten minutes later Campbell managed to put the Blues back in-front with a well-timed chip, courtesy of an Alex Marshall through ball, that caught Doran napping.

Romaine Graham was given the last real chance of the match from a corner, with the prominent figure inside the box, but this time the defender could only find the side netting and could not claim his trademark goal.

As the referee blew the final whistle, there was an overwhelming sense of relief from the Blues who hung on despite constant pressure from the Greens, who were unfortunate not to get a point out of the match.