A goalkeeping masterclass from Dan Brabham helped Shortwood United earn a point in a six-goal thriller at Hereford Pegasus, writes Jim Cunneen.
Boss Matt Blythe lauded the performance of his keeper, he said : “We showed terrific character to come back from a goal down three times and Dan Brabham was outstanding again – the wonder save near the end and the fact that he was carrying an injury for most of the game is full credit to him, but the whole side was excellent today!”
For Pegasus, Carlos Moreira showed from the off that he was going to be a handful and Louis Peyton had a good afternoon against him and deserved better than the twists of fate he received in the second half.
Both sides attacked with a will and Wildie forced a good save from Brabham after a fast break while at the other end Joe Tryner’s header forced Moroney to tip the ball over the bar. Thomas missed a good chance for the hosts and Max Harper – Emerson had a header hooked off the line.
Saul Thomas opened the scoring for Peggy, but straight from the restart Charlie Hobbs race forward and with his fellow players urging him to shoot, he duly obliged and smacked the ball into the bottom corner and scored his first goal for the club.
Wood had two chances to score before the break. Josh Beadle saw his 25-yard strike hit the bar and Luke Soule scuffed a shot wide. Brabham needed lengthy treatment for a leg injury before continuing and his continuance proved vital.
Pegasus went in front after 48 minutes in bizarre circumstances. Moreira ran on and appeared to lose possession and then run into Peyton. Referee Wright immediately pointed to the spot to the consternation of the Wood players and Panniers slammed the ball home. Again Wood fought back and was level shortly after. Hobbs and Soule combined well and when Soule passed to Beadle the midfielder curled a delightful shot in at the far post.
Brabham turned a shot onto the post, Soule just failed to get onto the end of a Harper – Emerson cross and Moroney made a fine save to deny Soule in a one-on-one situation.
After 75 minutes a cross from the right rebounded into Brabham’s hands off the foot of the luckless Peyton and the referee adjudged it a deliberate back pass. When the ball was pushed back to Panniers he smacked the ball home despite Brabham’s desperate attempt to block it to give Pegasus the lead for the third time. Again Wood responded and scored the goal of the game from the move of the game just 3 minutes later.
A sublime move ended with Barrett crossing where a flying header from Harper – Emerson put the sides level again. He was immediately engulfed by his teammates and the celebration was long and justified.
Brabham was the Wood hero 5 minutes from the end when he made an astonishing reaction save to keep out a close-range effort and preserve the precious point both sides deserved after a fine afternoon’s entertainment.
Shortwood: Brabham, Peyton, Barrett, Tunnicliff (Nowell 53), Tryner, Byrnes, Hobbs (Lewis 67), Beadle, Soule, Harper – Emerson, Phin
Shortwood Reserves beat Cheltenham Saracens Development 7-1 with goals from Thomas King (2), Dan Moreton (2), Lewis Fogg, Shay Lyons, and Billy Montague.