Onions fight back to salvage a point
Flanagan's Onions 2 Boulevard 2
Flanagan's Onions came back from two goals down to earn a point against Boulevard in the Premier Division at Goose Gosling Field on Saturday night.
In the first league meeting between the two sides, Onions found themselves trailing at the break after a pair of goals in two minutes from Marquel Tankard and Ian Coke in the 21st and 22nd.
Coke's strike was particularly impressive, with the diminutive striker beating Stephen Gould, the Onions goalkeeper, with a superb effort from distance to continue his good form this season. Onions, who were largely ineffective during the first period, fought their way back on level terms with a goal blitz of their own early in the second half.
A free kick from Treshun Smith somehow found its way into the net after wrong-footing Daniel Adams, the Boulevard goalkeeper, in the 50th minute.
Michael Lindsey-Bailey, the Onions midfielder, then scored an equaliser almost immediately from the restart, racing onto a through ball and placing his shot past Adams.
Boulevard won a penalty somewhat against the run of play when defender Dustin Luck was harshly penalised for a challenge on midfielder Reiko Trott on the half-hour mark.
Coke, however, missed ensuing penalty, firing well wide of Gould's left-hand post, much to the relief of Onions who came close to finding a winner when Smith struck a bouncing ball against Adams's crossbar late on.
Considering his team's disappointing first-half display, Mick Ward, the Onions coach, said he was happy to salvage another point in his team's fight against relegation.
“It was a game of two halves, literally, and I didn't think we showed up in the first half and said that to the players at half-time,” said Ward, whose side have taken five points from seven games.
“If we play like that every week we're not going to get any results. We came out of the blocks a lot better after the break and hopefully we can start the way we did in the second half in the games going forward.
“I think at half-time I would have taken a point with the way we were playing, but with Tre hitting the crossbar I think it could have perhaps been a missed opportunity.”
Onions face fellow bottom-half teams Dandy Town, Devonshire Colts and Somerset Trojans in their next three games, with Ward admitting it is imperative his side pick up some points.
“We're playing the teams around where we are in the table and each one is a six-pointer,” he said. “We need to pick up those points to really kick on and fight this relegation battle that we all agree we're in now.”
Shaki Worrell, the Boulevard coach, said he was frustrated that his side were unable to defend their two-goal lead but praised Onions' battling spirit.
“I was very disappointed with [Onions'] second goal, the ball somehow drifting in — that was a tough one for us,” he said.
“I think the penalty was the crucial moment. [Coke] is usually very reliable and it was a shame he couldn't get his second of the game.”