Last season we went to Eagle Valley for our first League game, and saw Arnold get hammered 8-2 by Farsley AFC. Although we weren't expecting the same result from this game, it was hoped that the game would be a decent season opener. As it turned out the game wasn't too bad, but both teams need to learn how to put more than two passes together!!!
Struggled to hear the line-ups as the Arnold P.A. system coughed, crackled and spluttered when the unfortunate announcer was reading them out!!
I asked around though and finally came up with the starting elevens:
Eagles : Martin Kearney, Richie Holmes, Ashley Branson, Liam Garner, Reece Bertram, Joe Wood, Josh Schofield, Anthony Gregory, Luke Dawkins, Mitchell Slawson, Luke Smithson.
United : Ross Whalin, Chris Murdock, Paul Gamble, Micky Allsop, Dean Whiley, Gary Breach, Michael Armstrong, Nathan Parker, Shaun Rickford, Kelvin Mushambi, Wilson Mellors-Blair.
As we entered the ground, I noticed we were being stared at - nothing new but I didn't realise who was doing the staring at the time. Bit of a shock when I had a good look. Neil and Jackie Carrington have been friends for ages, indeed Jackie and I work for the same company, but I have never known them attend non-league games - turns out daughter Louise is Ashley Branson's "WAG", and they were at the Valley to see him play.
Arnold looked a bit suspect at the back early doors, and they were caught out in just the 5th minute when poor defending left keeper Martin Kearney hopelessly exposed and although SHAUN RICKFORD only just reached the ball with his out-stretched leg, the touch was enough to send it past Martin Kearney and into the net.
Arnold took a while to shake off the effects of going behind so early in the game, but on 23 they were almost level when Ross Whalin was forced to make a good block as Luke Smithson raced through on goal.
United won a corner on 25 that Kearney went for and dropped - Rickford was able to get to the loose ball first, but hooked it just over the bar.
Whalin was called into action again seconds later - foiling Mitchell Slawson after the striker was played through one-on-one. H-T 0-1
|Whalin saves from Slawson|
The second half began at a farily slow pace, and we had to wait for the first real attempt until the 53rd minute, Kelvin Mushambi hitting the side-netting after Gary Beach picked him out at the far post.
As the ball was played back upfield, a neat cross from the left was met with a sweet side-foot volley from Slawson, but once again Whalin was on hand to save well with his feet.
|Mushambi goes close|
|Whalin blocks well|
The home team got their well deserved equaliser with four minutes to play - skipper JOE WOOD finding himself leading the line, and when the ball was played to him he somehow managed to send it over Whalin, despite the keeper's desperate attempt to save. F-T 1-1
|Joe Wood wheels way in delight!!|
Not the best game we'll see this season, but for the first game of the season, we can't complain.