Henry gets Sarnies out of a pickle
Late solo effort rescues point, but these are the bread-and-butter games play-off chasers need to win
GARY MEAKIN’S Egham Town were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw in their Evo-Stik Division One Central promotion push against an Uxbridge side looking to avenge their 7-0 drubbing in September.
Having recovered in the previous game from 2-0 down at half time to win 3-2 against Ware, a decent side sitting in the middle of the table, Egham were unable to do the same here because they were unable to take their chances and were let down by their defensive frailties.
Seconds after Anthony O’Connor, Uxbridge’s number nine, had been denied by an excellent save by Jamie Norris, Egham’s top scorer Brendan Matthew gave them a 20th-minute lead, heading Jake Cass’s excellent cross in off the post for his 20th goal of the season. This was Egham’s 11 unanswered goal against their Middlesex rivals in recent matches.
Ryan Phillips saw his shot deflected for a corner taken by Bajram Pashaj, from which Cass headed wide.
Pashaj was lucky to be able to continue after a brutal challenge and Norris came off worst as Wayne Carter closed in on goal, with the home side calling for a penalty.
the better side but failure to add to their tally almost inevitably let Uxbridge back in.
With seconds remaining before the break some dozy defending left Mitchell Wiseman free to nod home.
Norris, who had missed the Ware game with illness and had not fully recovered, was replaced by former Beaconsfield keeper James Reading at half time, with Phillips also being swapped for Elliott Carey.
Uxbridge were an improved side in the second half and went ahead with Mark Dennison’s header on 66 minutes, again after Egham had not defended a corner. This is an old failing, one of those that historically bedevils Egham but which seemed to have been pretty much eradicated this season.
Before that happened Matthew had a header blocked and had slid in to poke Chris Henry’s crossshot past Paul McCarthy in the visitors’ goal, but he was marginally offside.
Carey went on a solo run that ended with a cross that the Egham players thought had been handled in the box, only for the referee to disagree. Then, in the 65th minute, O’Connor’s clever pass to Carter forced Reading to race out to block the shot, conceding the corner from which Dennison scored.
So far the performance of the home side had been somewhat less than what will be required in the final third of the season if even a playoff place is to be achieved.
Perhaps realising this they upped their game.
Cass had a close-range shot blocked, then hammered a shot which was cleared off the line.
Substitute Ryan De Battista saw his effort hit McCarthy’s right post before Egham’s deserved equaliser came with eight minutes left.
Henry broke down the right, fired in a shot that was blocked straight back to him, before he drilled the rebound in from a tight angle.
Point made: Sarnies boss Gary Meakin will be wanting his men to be more ruthless up front and less generous at the back during the crucial run-in.
Boot-iful: Matthew’s delicious 20th-minute opener for Sarnies served up a slice of joy for the fans.
Henry: The Eighth minute from time was the cue for his equaliser.