ANAGRAM RECORDS TROPHY 2ND ROUND
After a weak first half performance and lucky not to concede a goal, Eagles roared back in the last half an hour of the game to comfortably beat a strong physical side from Essex who were runners up in the competition last season.
All the early pressure came from the visitors who had much of the possession but failed to take half chances to score. Eagles keeper Bradley Gillham did well to punch a corner off the heads of a knot of forwards and defenders in the goal area, and then had to dash from his goal to force a Springfield forward wide of the goal when running clear of defenders. The chip shot over his head from an angle sailed over the crossbar and the far post. Eagles first real attempt to test the visitors keeper did not arrive until the 40th minute when shot from 20 yards by Sam Gittings had to be well saved by the keeper tipping the ball over the crossbar at full stretch. Eagles then claimed a goal when a corner was not cleared and the ball appeared to have crossed the goal line. The referee and assistant referee remained unimpressed.
Eagles worked hard in the second half. Jamie Platt chased down a poor clearance but the keeper dashed out from his goal to gather the ball. Defender Ryan Ellis then ran down the right wing and as the keeper rushed out of goal his cross found Josh Cranwell at the far post, who could only find the side netting from a narrow angle.
Springfield continued to look dangerous on the break but it was the Eagles who got the first goal after 75 minutes when a Mitch Cox free kick was headed into his own net from close range by a defender. Soon after it was 2-0 when Cox was put clear on the right and from 15 yards his low shot took a deflection off a defender into the corner of the net. Springfield had a direct free kick in a central position about 20 yards from goal, but although it went round the Eagles defensive wall it passed wide of a post.
Eagles then scored a third when a Cox cross from the right was headed into the top of the net at the far post by Gittings standing almost on the goal line. Eagles tried to exploit the open spaces as Springfield pushed players forward and sub Kareem Gutzmore burst down the centre but saw his shot well saved by the keeper. The last few minutes were all Springfield. Gillham had to save well at the foot of a post and finally the visitors got a consolation goal from another direct free kick, which this time sailed over the heads of the defensive wall and gave the home keeper no chance of making a save.