BALLWEBNorth West Neasden saw their title hopes severely dented as Ryan Cole’s injury-time strike saw Chigwell come away from Hadley with a dramatic win.

MGBSFL Division One
North West Neasden 0 Chigwell Athletic 1
Sunday, 30 March, 2014

Cole sprung the Neasden offside trap, and in what proved to be the penultimate kick of the match, after Neasden then restarted the match, cooly kept his composure to slot the ball home.

Delighted with the win, Chigwell player-manager Richard Slater said: “It’s always great to win football matches, and even more so when the last kick of the game!

“We kept our focus the whole way through which was really pleasing. As the game went on it was clear one goal was going to win it and to grab the goal in injury time makes it that bit sweeter.”

The preceding 90+ minutes had presented little in the form of goalscoring chances, with Chigwell going close ten minutes before scoring the winner with a ferocious strike which rattled the bar.

And believing his side deserved the points, Slater said: “Overall I think we just shaded it. The back four kept Jamie Kent quiet and that was half the battle won. Some of our play was great, but midway through the second half the game turned flat and scrappy. But the lads once more showed a great spirit, and it was great to keep a clean sheet and win away against one of the teams above us.”

What doesn’t make him as happy is his side’s current placing in the table, which sees them sitting in sixth spot. “It’s disappointing of course,” he says. “We dropped too many points in 2013 and are playing catch up now. We have four games left, three against teams above us. The title looks to have gone but we are more than capable of winning them all. It may be enough to nick third or runners -up, but it’s a massive long shot and pending other teams results.

Commenting on the game, Neasden manager Stirling Kaye said: “It was a very even game with both sides without key players. Neasden had more of the ball over the 90 minutes, but our final ball and decision making let us down.

“When they did get forward, they looked dangerous and made our goalkeeper work. The winner came with the last kick of the game, which was a massive blow, because in the last 15 minutes, we were putting them under pressure. But it’s goals that win games and they scored, we didn’t.

“As a team we gave everything, the lads left nothing on the pitch and as a manager you can ask for no more, we just need to improve in our decision-making. That includes myself as the manager, I have had better days!

Despite the defeat, he’s now hoping his side can push on and enjoy a strong finish to the season. “We have three big games left, have a great bunch of lads and it will need all the team spirit we have built this season to see us over the line,” he said. “Players’ availability will be key and this will be a major factor, we’ve already lost two for the remainder of the season through suspension which is a big blow.

“But we won’t change our way of play and will get the ball down and get on the front foot and take the game to our opponents. You can be sure as a team we will leave nothing on the pitch.”