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Home to Collier Row league

A massively important eight days for the VETS began on Saturday with a home game against Collier Row.Due to a number of mid-winter postponements,we find ourselves facing four games in just over a week.By Sunday we'll probably know for certain if we can win the league or not.Along with West Essex,Collier Row are also in the shake up,and with a playing record identical to our own we knew we'd be in for a busy afternoon.Under a forbidding looking sky we started downhill and dominated the opening period.
Collier Row struggling to put any threatening moves together.With the wind and hill in our favour,it was important to take full advantage of the conditions and put the game to bed by half time.
Despite our early dominance real chances were few and far between,the usually reliable Martin Treadway spurning a glorious chance,slicing wide when one on one with the Row 'keeper.Our visitors lively front two began to cause us problems and we found ourselves on the back foot,as Collier Row found a way into the game and began to threaten our goal.Despite this we held firm and stayed lively in our counter attacks,and the breakthrough duly arrived when we were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out and MARTIN TREADWAY made amends for his earlier profligacy with a stunning strike that no goalkeeper would have stopped..1-0..Cue a collective mental switch off,as our guests went from the re-start to putting the ball into our goal almost un-molested.So,less than a minute after putting the ball in their net,we're picking it out of our own..1-1.
So although we were back to where we were minutes earlier,Collier Row's instant response was like a blow to the stomach for us and a big gulp of oxygen for them.The visitors really found their feet in the game and we were indebted to Gary Doodes who pulled off an absolutely stunning save,check out the footage on our website,
to keep us in the game.But we seem to have something about us in home matches and we pulled our socks up and edged back into the game,and the rest of an excellent half was played out with plenty of chances at both ends but no further goals.
Half time: HALE END ATHLETIC 1
                  COLLIER ROW 1
A few half time changes saw Martyn Saggers and Paul O and the Dazzler join the fray,as the match continued in its previous vein.Typically though,the weather took a turn for the worse as the wind and rain increased.Collier Row knew a win would really give their own hopes a shot in the arm and they clearly were not content with a point.Yet despite the conditions we found a bit more cohesion in our own play.The Collier row front two were still full of energy,but as the half wore on their midfield and defensive play became less assured.In a tight game the pitchside opinion was that the next goal would be enough.So when a Collier Row corner was headed uncontested back across the area and somehow found its way into the net for 1-2..,it looked as though we were heading for a first home defeat in two years.We weren't taking this lying down,and despite the conditions took the game back to the visitors.Some great passing on the right hand side led to Sags driving in a low cross that Darren was inches away from connecting with.And our industry was rewarded 15 minutes from time when Darrens glancing header was poked into his OWN GOAL by a Collier Row defender..2-2.With both teams going for the three points,chances came and went at both ends.Sags just over with a terrific first time volley set up by MT.At the other end luck was on our side as a long range effort,brilliantly tipped onto the underside of the bar by Doodesy,catching his hand on the way down,and just as the Row forward looked set to put away the loose ball Hils arrived from nowhere to whip the ball from under his feet with a brave challenge.With time running down caution set in and a couple of corners for them and a free kick in a good position for us all came to nothing.
Final score:HALE END ATHLETIC 2
                    COLLIER ROW 2
Honours even.Some of the visitors seemed to think they deserved the three points,but any unbiased watcher would have said a draw was a fair outcome.From our point of view it was also a morale booster to go out and put in a proper performance after a poor showing last weekend.But with West Essex increasing their lead with a 9-1 victory over Harold Wood the coming week takes on a new significance.Big hearts needed in the next few games.Great to the return of Marlon,coming on in the final 15 after a long lay off through injury.
Team:G.DOODES,S.WINDEATT
T.BURTON,B.SMITH,H.FRANCIS,
K.WHITWORTH,S.BUTT,R.GAYLE,
H.HASSAN,M.TREADWAY,T.OYEDEJI,
M.SAGGERS,D.FOSS,B.HOWARD,
M.WEDDERBURN.P.OBINKWO.
Man of the match:GARY DOODES.
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