by Jeff King
Ebac Northern League Division Two - Wednesday 17th August 2022
Jarrow FC 1 v 2 Chester-le-Street United
A tale of two penalties tells the story of Chester-le-Street picking up their second win in a row on the road at Jarrow as they continue to find their footing in the Ebac Northern League Second Division.
It was another tough night but United will be encouraged that once they came from behind and then held on well after taking the lead. They were however indebted to goal keeper Mauro Asikaogu who made a dramatic late penalty save.
It was a save that preserved that slender lead and confirmed another big three points on the board for the newly-promoted side against established Northern League tivals.
Once again through injuries United were forced into changes both in their starting line-up and on the bench where newly signed 16-year-old Jude Anderson took his place amongst the substitutes.
In the starting XI Jay Gibson returned from injury to replace Ryan O'Connor who was missing due to his injury. Dylan Wilkinson who had limped off early in the win at Brandon was replaced by Thomas Cole who had deputised well from the bench in the previous game.
The opening ten minutes or so of the game saw United dominating possession with some good passing on a great surface without making any penetrating advances into the Jarrow danger area.
The hosts on the other hand looked dangerous when they got the ball forward quickly and behind the Chester defence and had the first real chance of the game. Channon North played Stephen Wilkinson away on the left.
Wilkinson outpaced the United defence and hit a great low ball across the six-yard box where Callum Smith failed by inches to get what would have been a decisive touch. It was a temporary reprieve for Chester as Jarrow struck first on 13 minutes.
A long ball over the top of the Chester defence was anticipated by Asikaogu but he was slow coming off his line and ended up in no-man's land as Joe Ames got to the ball first just inside the box.
Ames rounded the Chester keeper and then did well to find the back of the United net with a cool finish despite two covering defenders trying to get back and defend the line.
As often does, the goal changed the complexion of the game. Jarrow were confident and United tentative and the home side almost doubled their lead when North got on the end of Wilkinson's cross and headed home. But he's just strayed offside and fell foul of the Assistant's correctly raised flag.
It took 24 minutes before Chester registered their first effort on goal. Ryan Muldoon started the move with a good ball to James Morley who made great progress before sliding the ball through to Benji Shodeinde but his toe-poked effort was off balance and off target.
It sparked a good long period of possession from United but there was little penetration or end result as Jarrow closed down the ball and pressed hard to ensure United didn't get a sight of goal.
One the half-hour the dangerous Ames got in a great cross from the right-wing that found the towering North in the middle of the box but he could only direct his header straight at Asikaogu who saved comfortably.
The United forwards were being well marshalled by the Jarrow back-line but an over zealous tackle on Dan Lanning by Nick Little did give Chester a free-kick some 25-yards out. Taylor Campbell had a dip at goal but his curling effort was always rising as it went over the top of the the bar.
Ames responded with another decent right-wing run and cross that Josh Crews did well to clear at the near post in front of North with the resultant Jarrow corner being well dealt with by Chester's defence.
United were now starting to stretch the home side and really coming into the game. Gibson initiated a lovely move with an inciteful ball to Lanning. He did well to find Shodeinde in the box who flicked it towards goal.
The ball appeared to be going wide but Alex Fil did well to get to it and fire it across goal where Alex Bone almost turned it into his own net but it flashed narrowly wide. Campbell's corner tried to pick Crews out but the Jarrow defence cleared their lines.
United almost drew level with another nice move. This time James Morley did well on the left and then drove forward cutting in to find Gibson. Gibson in turn showed great footwork to go past a couple of players and then set Lanning up inside the box.
The striker twisted inside and hit a great shot that beat James Lone all ends up but cannoned to safety off the post. It was really unlucky but did seem to lift United who did level the game up with a really classy goal on 43 minutes.
Muldoon started the move with a superb surging run from midfield before threading the ball through to Shodeinde who did well to find Fil running wide on the right. Fil advanced and crossed low into the box.
Shodeinde had followed his pass like good forwards do and was perfectly placed to get onto Fil's great ball and smash it into the back of the net from about 10 yards out giving Lone no chance and sending the sides in to the changing rooms level.
Within five minutes of the restart Shodeinde should have doubled his and his side's tally. Another lung-bursting run from Muldoon took him into an excellent position to deliver a great ball t the unmarked striker inside the Jarrow box.
With only Lone to beat though Shodeinde got his finish all wrong and blazed the ball over the top from 12-yards out.
Another chance was spurned by United moments later when Muldoon in full flight again was fouled by Daniel Smith. Campbell floated the free-kick into the box and Gibson found himself with a free header that he didn't connect well with and the ball was wide of the target.
Little had been seen of the home side at this stage and even when substitute Ethan Carter got free his low long shot didn't trouble Asikaogu wo smothered it easily.
On 68 minutes United did take the lead their play from the end of the first-half and in the opening quarter of the second deserved. Gibson's ball saw Shodeinde do well to win the race too. His angle was tight on the by-line but he turned well only to be upended by Keeper Lone with the referee correctly pointing to the penalty spot.
No card for Lone though as the official felt he'd made a genuine play at the ball and the penalty was punishment enough. Lanning placed the ball on the spot. There did appear to be some confusion as to who would take the kick.
But Lanning had no doubts in his mind despite having missed his last penalty. He steadied himself before sprinting towards the ball and smashing his right-foot shot low past Lone's diving right hand into the bottom corner of the net.
It was Lanning's last action as he was replaced by John Anderson who came on to play in the middle of the park with Gibson moving further forward. The change almost unsettled United who conceded a corner.
Kieran Gohery's delivery into the six-yard box saw Asikaogu fumble the ball which slipped from his grasp but Harry Simpson was taken by surprise and could only head wide from point-blank range.
Another excellent run from the left cutting inside by Morley opened up the Jarrow defence as he found Shodeinde but Little did well to get across and tackle conceding a corner. Campbell delivered and Gibson got in a good header but it was straight at Lone who held it easily.
Jarrow were pushing hard looking for a way back into the game but United were withstanding the pressure well. They made three substitutions with Ethan Gray coming on for Morley, Jude Anderson making his debut in place of Muldoon who'd put in a great shift and Evan Gray coming on for Shodeinde.
Unfortunately the last of these substitutions almost cost United the win. A long ball into the left-hand side of the United box was taken on by Gohery. He tried to round Evan Gray who lazily stuck out a leg and tripped the Jarrow midfielder.
It was a clear-cut penalty and in the 89th minute it was a glorious chance for the home side to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat. Gohery picked himself up and was entrusted with the spot-kick.
He struck his kick well and centrally with Asikaogu diving to his right. But the keeper showed his athleticism by raising his left leg in full flight and deflected the ball to safety. It was a huge moment for United and a crushing one for Jarrow.
It also proved to be the decisive moment as despite injury-time pressure from the home side they were unable to create another chance and United took all three points at the final whistle.
Two words seemed to dominate the after match chat. Resilience and character. Chester's youngsters having the character to come back from a goal down and trn the game around and then the character to hold off a strong Jarrow effort to level.
TEAM : 1. Mauro Asikaogu 2. Thomas Cole 3. Keallan Huddleston 4. Taylor Campbell 5. Josh Crews (c) 6. Ryan Muldoon 7. Alex Fil 8. Jay Gibson 9. Benji Shodeinde 10. Dan Lanning 11. James Morely
SUBS : 12. John Anderson (for Lanning) 13. Matty Pattison - GK (unused) 14. Evan Gray (for Shodeinde) 15. Jude Anderson (for Muldoon) 16. Ethan Gray (for Morley)
SCORERS : Shodeinde, Lanning (pen)
Next Up : Easington Colliery, Ebac Northern League Division 2, home @ The Riverside, Saturday 20th August @ 15:00pm