East Coast Bays Summer Sevens
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The Premiers and Development team have finished their season.
A large crowd attended Shepherds Park to watch the two best sides in the Northern Premier League fight out the championship.
Birkenhead needed only a point to clinch the title, whilst Bays had to win and then hope Birkenhead missed out in their final game away to Bay Olympic next week. So the home side were content to sit back, deny Bays and rely on a counter attack to grab a goal.
A third minute fumble by Birkenhead keeper, John Fletcher, when he dropped the ball from a corner, set the pulses racing, but the ball was scrambled clear. Fletcher then redeemed himself minutes later, diving to save a Jason Hicks drive.
Hick had another drive that just cleared the crossbar while Baptiste Azame put Eric Jones-Seekie through with a great pass but the final shot was off-target.
Birkenhead had their moments with Jack Hobson-McVeigh forcing a fine save from Alex Carr, Sam Margetts heading wide and Godwin Darkwa making a great run only to spoil it with poor finishing.
All this in the first half hour.
The final fifteen minutes of the half saw both teams create chances but failing to finish, then in stoppage time, Phil Edginton, cleared a Birkenhead attack, Bays countered and a Kris Carpenter header was cleared off the line in the final seconds of a pulsating first half.
The contest continued after the break. Dillon Barnett was just wide and Birkenhead’s Dylan Windust forced a good save from Carr. Just past the hour, Carr again denied Hobson-McVeigh.
Fletcher made a great save under pressure as the clock ticked down, then saved at feet, and also denied Jack Beguely.
Into the last ten minutes Bays went to three at the back as Birkenhead, sniffing the final point they needed were happy to defend. Edginton was blocked, a Hicks drive hammered into a Birkenhead defender and the follow-up was missed.
Into stoppage time, two minutes had elapsed and Bays won a corner, the ball was crossed, not cleared, and Jones-Seekie scrambled the ball into the net, putting Birkenhead’s celebrations on hold. There were still another five minutes of added time, with Birkenhead desperate to grab an equalizer and Bays determined this was not going to happed.
The final whistle sounded, Bays jubilant, Birkenhead downcast, but they have another chance next week to clinch the championship. For Bays, in retrospect, a couple of poor results in recent games means they have to rely on others if they are to be crowned champions.
Team: Carr, Beguely, Carpenter (Darkwa 60), Edginton, Wynne, Bresnahan, McKeown (Messenger 83), Azame, Hicks, Jones-Seekie, Barnett (Escolme 76)
Scorer: Jones-Seekie 92