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Eddie the Eagle hits Albion Sports' title hopes
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Eccleshill United 1 Albion Sports 0
A solitary, quality strike from Marcus Edwards separated the sides at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium but Eccleshill United deserved the three points from the Bradford derby.
The Eagles were the form team, having not lost since early January, but title-chasing Albion Sports were still expected to win this Baris Northern Counties East Division One derby.
Despite Albion’s urgency in the early exchanges, the first shot on target, from Liam Ormsby, did not come until the 15th minute.
It led to two consecutive corners, which were both delivered by former Eccleshill man Charlie Flaherty, but it was not a happy return for him.
Flaherty’s new side were soon chasing the game and his afternoon ended when he was substituted in the 63rd minute. There was a warning for Albion midway through the first half when a flicked header from Drake Trease put Doug Stevenson through and his chip beat visitors’ keeper Aaron Brian but hit the bar.
Minutes later Trease set Edwards away and the Eagles’ leading scorer finished with aplomb.
On the half-hour Edwards had another chance but on that occasion his volley was blocked for a corner and a later free-kick from the striker was tipped over by the agile Brian.
Just before the break Trease got round both of Albion’s centre backs but he fired his shot just wide.
The second half was broken up by substitutions, injuries and yellow cards but the Eagles dominated the majority of the period. It was not until the last five minutes, and six of stoppage time, that Eccleshill had to defend.
Albion forward Karl Hall had a half-hearted penalty appeal turned down and clipped the bar with a header. However, the Eagles proved to be as strong in defence as they had been all over the pitch and keeper Karl Martens was alert when called upon.
Eagles boss Bobby Davison said: “The pitch is not the best. These boys train on smooth artificial grass but they are good players and adapt well.
“The results have been good recently and confidence is growing. I thought we deserved to win this one.”
Davison’s counterpart Kulwinder Sandhu was left disappointed.
“A good start and ten minutes at the end is not good enough and I thought we were flat but Eccleshill were really up for it,” said Sandhu.
“I think a draw might have been a fairer result as there were few chances and we did hit the bar late on.
“But, you can’t take anything away from Eccleshill because Bobby has got them well organised and focused.”