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Whyteleafe rue late penalty miss
10:43am Monday 12th August 2013 in Sport
Whyteleafe 2 Rochester United 2
Roscoe D'Sane missed a 90th-minute penalty as Whyteleafe drew their Southern Counties East Football League opener 2-2 with Rochester United.
Both teams will be wondering how they managed not to claim all three points, with the visitors losing a hard-earned two-goal advantage and d'Sane seeing his late spot kick saved by Joe Hagan.
New Whyteleafe manager John Fowler will point to the fact that he was missing four key players through suspension, injury and holiday.
His forward line was the most dented with Gareth Williams side-lined due to a hamstring niggle and Paul Scott suspended. This meant Roscoe D’Sane was a little isolated at times during this match and attacking options were few and far between.
Indeed Fowler made a host of late signings on Thursday night and with four of them in the starting line-up, much of the team hadn’t played together at all before.
Nonetheless, Leafe looked the better passing team throughout the first half and made a few early chances, with winger Lewis David looking the likeliest to score with shots on goal in the second and 16th minutes.
Captain Jason Thompson also had a great long range strike on 12 minutes but this went too far across the goal and wide. Jenson Grant also came close to scoring on 18 minutes as the ball pinged around the Rochester box.
The visitors also had their moments in first half, Graeme Lugar and Dominic Elmes having a few long range efforts but these were easy for Dave Wilkinson to deal with.
Arguably the best chance of the half fell to D’Sane who shook off his marker and looked to have a clear line to meet a cross from the left and head home from close range. But he fell at the last moment and the Rochester defender suggesting he dived. It was difficult to see why he would dive in such a good position in front of goal.
The last chance of the half fell to Rochester’s Anthony Loach whose powerful drive tested Wilkinson.
D’Sane almost scored within two minutes of the restart a glancing header evaded Joe Hagan in the visitors’ goals but drifted wide of the far post. But this point much of the game belonged to Rochester.
Loach forced a fingertip same from Wilkinson on 51 minutes and they almost forced the ball in the net in resulting corner, Wilkinson and Tommy Smith combining well to prevent the goal.
Rochester began to dominate proceedings more and more and eventually they earned their reward by scoring twice in two minutes.
Graeme Lugar and substitute George Lowes were the grateful beneficiaries of some lackadaisical defending in the 64th and 65th minutes.
Whyteleafe looked dead and buried from the stands but the team pulled their socks up and got stuck in. Eventually, a fine cross from the right was met by Lewis David at the back post and Leafe were back in the match on 73 minutes.
Cedric Abraham almost equalised with a powerful header from a corner on 80 minutes which whistled wide but the second goal gamed from D’Sane, who was left woefully unmarked in the middle of the box a minute later. He made no mistake, his shot easily beating Hagan to make the score 2-2.
Whyteleafe were back in the ascendancy and Jason Thompson fired a low shot just wide before the big climax.
This came when D’Sane picked up a stray ball and ran for goal chased by three Rochester defenders. The closest to him was so desperate to prevent the goal he grabbed D’Sane’s arm and didn’t let go.
The referee was left no alternative but to award the penalty and the only contention was whether he would dismiss the defender for preventing a goalscoring opportunity, which he didn’t.
D’Sane stepped up to take the penalty in the 90th minute of the match. He directed it low and firm to the keeper’s left but Hagan reached it at full stretch.
D’Sane pounced for a second bite of the cherry but this too was blocked as was a third effort before the ball was finally cleared. It was a truly breathless finale to what had up until then been a reasonably humdrum early season encounter.
Whyteleafe will be grateful for earning a point having been 2-0 down but sorry they failed to score from the spot so late in the match. Rochester will be kicking themselves for letting a two goal lead slip but relieved in the end they held on for a point.
Whyteleafe: Wilkinson, Pratt, T Smith, Leacock, Abraham, Thompson, David (Baloye), Grant (N’Sangu), Read (Hynes), D’Sane, Graham. Unused sub: Odlum.
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