There’s frustration for Eynesbury Rovers and their visitors on the final day of the United Counties League season
- Credit: Archant
There was double disappointment at the end of a Hall Road humdinger on the final day of the United Counties League Premier Division season.
Hosts Eynesbury Rovers and visitors Leicester Nirvana both had reasons to be gutted in the wake of a 2-1 success for the away side.
It was Nirvana who will have felt the most aggrieved after missing out on the title in the most agonising manner. They arrived in Huntingdonshire level on points with AFC Kempston Rovers at the head of Premier Division affairs, but in possession of a superior goal difference.
However, a four-goal swing in their favour quickly became a two-goal deficit as Kempston ran riot to thump Boston Town 7-0 to add the championship crown to a promotion that was already in the bag.
Nirvana did manage to claim victory themselves and the decisive strike in the third minute of stoppage time from substitute Alex Paval proved particularly costly for Eynesbury.
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A draw, which would have been deserved in all honesty, would have kept Mark Ducket’s men in fourth position, but they were undone by a scruffy strike which bounced through a crowd of players and nestled in the corner of the net.
It was a cruel, late blow for a team who had performed with great credit throughout despite seeing some major decisions go against them.
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The last-gasp loss leaves them fifth in the standings, but they will drop to sixth if Holbeach pick up a positive result in their remaining fixture against Wisbech Town on Wednesday night.
All the goals at Hall Road today arrived in the second half with Nirvana hitting the front courtesy of a penalty in the 66th minute. Pearson Mwanyango did the honours from the spot after a foul, which could be described as innocuous at best, by Joe Bradbruy on Reece Morris.
The two teams had traded glaring misses in the moments before that spot-kick with Nirvana frontman Matt Melbourne steering a free header wide and Rovers hitman Lee Bassett bursting into the box but getting his finish all wrong.
Only a fine save from Rovers’ young keeper Kyle de Garis prevented Nirvana from doubling their lead seconds after they had hit the front, before only two atrocious decisions from referee Mark Wetherall prevented Eynesbury from having the chance to level.
Wetherall somehow failed to deem a feet-first challenge from Nirvana goalkeeper Aaron Harris as a foul and then ignored a blatant handball from a visiting defender moments later.
But even Wetherall couldn’t fail to spot the combined efforts of two Nirvana defenders to drag down Matty Bannister as he raced in on goal with 12 minutes to go.
This time the official did point to the spot and James Freshwater stepped up to coolly level, but Eynesbury were undone late on as their end-of-season nosedive continued.
Ducket’s men have only managed to pick up four points from their final seven league fixtures – a run which probably cost them third spot as well as fourth.
But it would be difficult to be critical of a side who sat in 18th place when Ducket succeeded Martin Field at the beginning of December.
Their rise has been remarkable in many ways and hopefully club chiefs will be able to provide their rookie manager (Ducket is just 32 and in his first job) with the tools to continue the improvement next term.
Huntingdon’s four-season stay in the United Counties League Premier Division ended on a low note.
Rock-bottom Town suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Rothwell Corinthians in their final fixture of the campaign today.
Ben Colmer did halve Huntingdon’s arrears with a quarter-of-an-hour to go at Jubilee Park, but the visitors struck again to seal their victory.