Damarell leads another Colombians fightback

THEY made life hard for themselves again, but Colombians emerged from the weekend as the only realistic title challengers to Men’s Division One leaders Indies.

Casuals captain Alex Bushell shoots and Colombians goalkeeper Jake Le Marchant is about to make the save at his near post. (Picture by Gareth Le Prevost, 28914050)
Casuals captain Alex Bushell shoots and Colombians goalkeeper Jake Le Marchant is about to make the save at his near post. (Picture by Gareth Le Prevost, 28914050)

For the second successive game against champions Casuals, Zak Damarell’s side fell two goals behind on Saturday afternoon before scoring three times in the last quarter of the game to pick up a crucial three points thanks to a 4-2 victory and move back within five of Indies, who had beaten Elizabeth College earlier in the day.

Although the yellows created the first noteworthy chance of the game with Matt Dorey going close to converting TJ Ozanne’s pass in the third minute, Casuals quickly took a foothold in the game and deservedly took the lead on 9min. when Chris Lowin, who started in a more advanced position than usual in Nick Bachmann’s absence, made the most of that role to score from a few yards out.

The men in black maintained their momentum and Jake Le Marchant was called upon to make a saves from two of Casuals’ College contingent – Charlie Clapham and Cameron Rivers-Moores – before they doubled their lead thanks to an Alex Bushell penalty stroke on 21min.

It had been the Casuals captain’s follow-up to a saved short-corner drag flick that was prevented going in by a Colombians body that gave him the chance to convert from the spot.

Damarell’s side needed a response before half-time and soon they had the benefit of a one-man advantage as Dan Gill was shown a yellow card for not retreating 5m at a free-hit.

While Casuals were down to 10, Colombians halved their deficit as Damarell’s precise finish found the bottom corner at a short-corner.

Andy Whalley nearly restored the two-goal cushion almost immediately, but his reverse-stick strike flashed just wide of the far post, and then on the verge of half-time Le Marchant denied Bushell at a short-corner, the build-up to which had seen Matt de la Mare receive a yellow card to see Colombians end the half and start the second with 10 men.

The first 10 minutes after the turnaround were packed with incidents yet somehow the score remained the same.

Le Marchant was kept busy as he prevented Gill, Dave Morris, Lowin and Whalley from adding a third Casuals goal at one end, while going the other way Damarell was the catalyst of every Colombians attack, but Jack Webber was proving hard to beat too.

Midway through the half, though, the Casuals keeper could do nothing about Ozanne’s penalty stroke that levelled the scores after a short-corner attempt had been blocked on the line by a foot.

Having been made to work so hard for that equaliser, the yellows were then gifted a third with quarter-of-an-hour remaining.

Casuals had ample opportunity to clear their lines when the ball came into a crowded D from right, but they failed to do so and young Isaac Eyton-Jones nipped in at the far post to put his side ahead for the first time.

The champions were stung by conceding such a soft goal and pressed for an equaliser of their own, but Le Marchant was determined not to be beaten again and he kept out both Lowin and Bushell with vital saves.

With two minutes remaining, Damarell landed the decisive blow with a thumping drive at a short-corner that made sure of the points.

There was still time left, though, for Le Marchant to produce his best save of a fine individual performance, acrobatically flying to his right to turn a close-range shot around the post with virtually the last touch of the game.

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