Eccleshall 3 St Martins 0
By Jim Tunney
Eagles Down The Saints
With Lewis Dunn, Josh Graham, George Burslem and Alex Russell all unavailable, Kyle Adams and Craig Bould again had to re-vamp the line up for the match against St Martins. New signing Zac Hill was on the bench and there was a welcome return for Dan Needham who had been out through injury since early October.
Eccleshall started sharply and within three minutes David Neligwa forced a good save out of St Martins 'keeper George Austin. Harrison Millington had a shot blocked in the box in St Martins' first effort on goal. The game was pretty much end to end in the early stages, with both sides having chances. On 23 minutes, a stinging shot by Thomas Ash which was heading for the top corner was brilliantly saved by Eagles 'keeper Louis McCarthy who tipped the ball around the post. Two minutes later, Eccleshall took the lead when Izaak Walsh hit a 25 yard screamer into the top corner of the net giving Austin no chance. The Eagles continued to move forward now and on 39 minutes went two up through Luke Walsh. Tom Wakefield made a run and turn to beat the defender and his pass inside was picked up by Walsh outside the box and he curled a shot into the top corner which left Austin standing and watching but unable to do anything. With half time approaching , St Martins came back and McCarthy had to make two smart saves to prevent them getting back in the game. Two superb strikes had given Eagles a deserved interval lead.
HT: Eccleshall 2 St Martins 0
Eagles started the second half very much as they finished the first with Neligwa racing into the box but his effort was wide of the post. They were continuing to press forward at every opportunity and Brad Carr almost set up Conor Docherty but his pass was just too far in front of him. With St Martins looking to pull a goal back , McCarthy spilled the ball but gathered at the second attempt. At this point, Eccleshall introduced Needham and Tommy Van der Laan for Luke Walsh and Carr and shortly after Callum Graybrook had an effort which was deflected for a corner. From this, another shot was just wide of the post. Docherty found Wakefield and his chipped pass led to Jordan Benton volleying wide. Inspired by his earlier goal, Izaak Walsh had another effort but this time blasted the ball over the bar. Eccleshall made the game safe on 85 minutes when Wakefield curled a shot from the edge of the box which sailed over Austin into the far corner of the net. Moments later, Austin prevented another goal as he dived to tip the ball away. With time approaching, a good crossfield ball by Izaak Walsh found Docherty and Austin was forced to save again.
FT: Eccleshall 3 St Martins 0
This was a good Eccleshall performance with back to back clean sheets and three goals which would have graced Match of the Day's Goal of the Month competition.
Eagles: McCarthy, Benton, Docherty, I Walsh, Johnson, Collins, Neligwa, Nwachukwu (Hill), Wakefield, Carr (Van der Laan), L Walsh (Needham).
Unused subs: Wyatt, Downie.