MGBSFL DIVISION ONE
SOUTHGATE HARMEN 1 SPEC FC 1
SPEC FC dropped points for the first time this season, but they were taken to the wire by a 10-man Harmen team at Chase Lodge.
The first half was fairly even, with no real chances for either side, with the away side perhaps slightly stronger, however they were unable to make their domination count with Harmen defending well. SPEC hit the woodwork from a set piece midway through the half.
An inspired change at half time by Joel Alterman and Ben Adaki made the difference. Ricky Rinder moved out to the wing and gave the SPEC right-back a torrid time, and was the provider for the opening goal. The goal came as goalkeeper Harry Fine kicked the ball out wide, to Rinder who took the ball down, took on the full back and delivered a good cross for Lee Greenfield to finish with aplomb.
Prior to the opening goal, Harmen went down to 10 men after James Sandler saw red after a moment of madness, kicking out at an opponent leaving the referee with no choice but to show him a red card.
SPEC then fought back well and were denied by a flying save from Fine after a free-kick from 25 yards took a wicked deflection.
Moving into injury time, SPEC won a penalty after the ball struck the hand of Mitchell Green in front of goal. The penalty was initially fantastically saved by Fine, who was Harmen’s MOTM, however the referee ordered the kick to be re-taken, which James Lesner fired into the top right-hand corner, leaving the keeper with no chance.
With SPEC celebrating the draw like it was a win, this shows that Southgate Harmen were unlucky to come away without all three points.
Harmen manager Samuel Castle told JC Sport: "The boys played unbelievable well today, and still dominated the game even with 10 men. The ref cost us two points with a decision which doesn’t get given in the Premier League. But we will take the positives out of the game and build on a great performance. Shirley Park up next."
SPEC FC's James Lesner told JC Sport: "It was a very tight match where both keepers performed admirably. On the balance of play, the draw was a fair result.
"Harmen showed that they’re a strong and committed team and the fact that we got a point despite playing well below our best gives us encouragement moving forward.
"Regarding the re-taken penalty decision, it’s natural for Harmen to feel frustrated to concede a last-minute goal, though having watched the first penalty back on video, we can confirm that there were some players in the box and therefore the correct decision was made for it to be retaken."