City Come From Two Behind To Hold League Leaders
A superb second-half resurgence sees City come from behind to hold Sevenoaks Town
Canterbury City 2 Sevenoaks Town 2
A superb second-half fight back secured City a highly deserved share of the points as they battled back from two down away at Sevenoaks. A game of two halves saw the hosts go in at the break two goals to the good and no doubt thinking it should have been three or four at least, but a rejuvenated City came back out and pushed them all the way striking back twice to deny the league leaders all three points.
The opening minutes were fairly even with City creating a couple of half chances without really troubling home keeper Ben Bridle-Card but Sevenoaks suddenly scored out of nowhere and were then soon getting into their stride and showing some of the form that has taken them to the top of the league. On eleven minutes, Rory Hill received the ball in midfield as Sevenoaks were beginning to build a regulation move before looking up and from thirty-five yards, he suddenly hit a tremendous strike, lashing the ball home past a stunned Jack Delo in the City goal for 0-1.
It came out of nowhere but all of a sudden Sevenoaks were on a roll and on eighteen minutes they should have doubled their lead when Billy Bennett, with the goal almost at his mercy clubbed his shot into the ground and it bounced up and glanced off the bar before going out - in his defence the ball came to him quickly but he really should have scored. Another 'should have scored' moment came and went shortly after for Sevenoaks when a sweeping home attack down the right saw another clear effort somehow thud off the bar before two City defenders threw themselves forward to block the follow up from the rebound.
It was Sevenoaks in the ascendancy, with City very much second or third best and another opportunity passed the hosts by when a free-kick just six inches outside the City box was wastefully, struck high and wide by Hill. It was beginning to feel a matter of when and not if Sevenoaks would extend their lead and they duly did so on twenty-nine minutes when a cross from the right only had one person's name on it as Jason Thompson thumped the ball home from close range with a determined and unchallenged header for 0-2.
On thirty-four minutes, Sevenoaks went close again when a free-kick from the left was wildly headed up in the air and Delo, running back and facing his own goal was forced to punch it over his own bar to safety. The home side were dominating and when City did get forward they were merely feeding off scraps and over-hit long balls into the channels. A corner routine produced nothing more than an easy save for Bridle-Card, Rob Lawrence had a shot - hit more with hope than purpose blocked away, while another added time corner from City came to nothing, as had the whole first half for the visitors and at half-time, there was looking only likely to be one winner as the teams trooped off with Sevenoaks easily holding their two goal lead.
A change at the restart from City saw Darren Marsden returning from injury and replacing Sam Lawford and immediately there was an injection of purpose and energy into City's play. Seemingly rejuvenated, they took the game to their hosts and began to cause them problems and issues to which Sevenoaks struggled to respond - only they will know if they thought that the game had been won at half-time, but if they did, no-one told City. Within minutes of the restart Matt Martin had produced a lovely turn in the box and fired a shot inches wide of the far post, while a well worked cross from Jamie Maxted only just failed to find a City shirt for a probable goal scoring touch.
On fifty minutes, City were handed a way back into the game when a short corner routine was brought to an abrupt halt when Lawrence was dragged to the floor in the box for a penalty. Dave Pilcher stepped up and coolly slotted it home, sending the keeper the wrong way for 1-2.
Sevenoaks tried to respond as Harrison Carnegie could only fire over the bar when well placed on the edge of the City box, but it was City who were now in charge. Pilcher struck a free-kick over the bar, while Lawrence also volleyed over from open play and Martin went close, not quite getting enough upon a glancing header that went wide. City were then unlucky not to level when a corner found the head of Laurence Harvey who set perfectly for Will Hadler who spun and cracked a goal bound shot that was brilliantly saved by Bridle-Card diving to his left to push the ball out one-handed.
City continued to drive forward as Martin forced a corner following a great pacey break while Marsden was just inches away from finding Pilcher in the box with a superb quick fire cross. City were in a hurry and on a mission and on seventy-seven minutes got their just reward when another crisp, slick, rapid passing move down the right saw the ball pinged across and Maxted pounced to ram it home for 2-2 from close range - nothing less than City deserved.
City didn't rest there and went looking for the winner. Another lightening move down the right ended with Martin seeing his attempted effort blocked and ricochet off a defender before looping up and just over the Sevenoaks bar. The ensuing corner caused confusion aplenty at the back for the hosts, which they were fortunate to survive while from a second corner, Harvey saw his header pawed away by the keeper, while Martin then saw his stinging shot patted down by Bridle-Card.
In a frantic last few minutes, Sevenoaks finally joined in as Delo slid out to save bravely at the feet of an attacker, a header was flicked just over City's bar and deep into added time, a dangerous free-kick was well dealt with by Delo, punching the ball away to safety as the final whistle blew.
All square at the end as Sevenoaks half-time complacency was deservedly punished by City's resurgent and determined spirit.
Final score; Canterbury City 2 Sevenoaks Town 2
City; Jack Delo, Pat Nzuzi, Jamie Maxted, Dan Keyte, Laurence Harvey, Will Hadler, Matt Martin, Joe Nelder (Connor Hendricks), Rob Lawrence (Robel Grant), Dave Pilcher, Sam Lawford (Darren Marsden).