ECB 3 Birkenhead United 1 played 20/06/09 at BCP

 Injuries and suspensions meant five regular players were missing from the starting lineup as Bays took on Birkenhead still smarting from their exit the previous week from the Chatham Cup. Three 16 year olds were on the bench.

The visitors had the advantage of the bitterly cold southerly at their backs and relied on the long ball to lone striker Mauri Wasi to put pressure on the Bays defence in much the same way as they played earlier in the season at Shepherds Park. Wasi's forays were comfortably dealt with by George Suri.

It took only eleven minutes for Bays to strike when Ryan Zoghby headed home from a corner. Four minutes later, Joses Nawo was dumped in the box and Dan Morgan-Howell made no mistake from the spot.

Birkenhead  play a spoiling game and are very good at getting players back to defend in numbers, frustrating attackers. Two goals down, they employed these tactics effectively and aided by some good goalkeeping by custodian Daniel Greaney, kept Bays scoreless for the remainder of the half, despite the overwhelming possession they enjoyed. Jason McKeown was twice denied by the keeper as were Jack Beguely, Zoghby and Nawo. A preponderance of corners saw some desperate defending by the visitors and halftime came with Bays just the two goals up.

A rare poor clearance by Greaney gave Bays a chance early in the second half but Nick Hyde couldn't take advantage. The intensity started to drop away as both teams slogged it out.

Just on the hour a lapse in the Bays defence allowed an unmarked Mooktar Mohammedi a free header and all of a suden it was 2-1 with Birkenhead back in the game. Bays supporters were starting to get nervous especially when the Birkenhead keeper was performing more heroics in denying Nawo twice.

The fears were finally put to rest with nine minutes remaining when Bays were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Nawo drilled the kick through a wall of legs, past the keeper and into the corner of the net to make the game safe.

Some good defensive play with the back four holing good shape. Again hard to covert chances against a team with the second best defensive record in the league.

Team:  Gwilt, Forrest, Suri, Zoghby, Beguely Van Rooyen, Webster, McKeown (Crezee-Tetteroo 83), Hyde, Nawo, Morgan-Howell (Davis 74)

Scorers:  Zoghby 11, Morgan-Howell pen 15, Nawo 81


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