Redbridge rally rocks leaders
PUBLISHED: 21:57 26 January 2013
Maldon 2 Redbridge 2
Jacob Cleaver’s 86th-minute goal earned hard-working Motormen a surprise point at table-topping Maldon.
The visitors, thrashed 11-0 at nearby Heybridge only a few weeks earlier, looked to be heading home empty-handed once again as Maldon moved two goals clear in the 73rd minute.
But Cleaver converted a pass from Lee Martin soon after to give Redbridge hope, then cashed in when keeper Joe Wright made a mess of Glen Golby’s backpass to tap in an equaliser.
Young striker Cleaver was agonisingly close to a hat-trick when played in by substitute Anthony Okadigbo seconds later, but Wright managed to get something on his shot to deflect it behind.
Maldon supporters had cleared the pitch of snow earlier in the day to enable the match to go ahead and the hosts had the better of the first half.
John Glowacki steered an early chance just over the crossbar, before Lee Boylan forced a fine one-handed save from Dean Neil on 13 minutes.
The dangerous Boylan turned a low cross from Frank Everett wide of the far post before his first-time cross from the right was fired wide of the near post by James Robinson.
And Boylan clipped another effort against the far post on 26 minutes, before Michael Toner stepped out of the Maldon defence and let fly from fully 25 yards past a full-stretch Neil and the left upright.
Motormen got a brief glimpse of goal when Ryan Reed’s deflected drive forced a routine save from Wright, before Reed’s driven cross caught Martin somewhat by surprise and his header flew wide.
But the visitors had another let-off two minutes before the break when Robinson found Boylan in the box and his left-footed shot on the turn thumped back off the post.
Redbridge, with Danny Hayes catching the eye on the right, made a bright start to the second half, with George Monger’s deflected shot calling Wright into action and Cleaver dispossessing Golby to test the home keeper once more.
Neil denied Ollie Berquez at the other end, while Robinson fired a good chance over from a long throw-in, before the hosts broke the deadlock in controversial fashion.
A corner from the left found Boylan, whose header was nodded away by Charlie Rolls stationed at the far post.
But the linesman on that side of the ground signalled a goal and referee Carl Pease awarded it, to the chagrin of the visitors.
Neil produced a fine, blocking save to thwart Boylan as he looked to convert Dave Wareham’s low cross, then saw the striker clip the top of the crossbar with another header from the resulting corner.
And Neil pawed a Ben Bradbury shot away, before Robinson finally beat him for a second time with a low shot into the corner.
The game looked over at that point and Redbridge boss Steve Portway sent 16-year-old son Charlie on for Jay Porter, to gain some first-team experience it seemed, with 15 minutes remaining.
But Rolls and Monger swapped passes on the left before Martin picked out Cleaver to halve the deficit and suddenly Motormen, with captain Nikki Beale, central defensive partner Sam Holloway and the ever-green Garry Skerritt throwing their bodies into challenges, believed.
Cleaver refused to give up the chase when Golby passed back to Wright, earning his rewards when the keeper sliced his kick horribly.
But Wright atoned for his error by denying Cleaver a third, then dived to keep out Monger’s free-kick on 88 minutes.
Maldon might have won it in the second minute of injury time when Jack Cowley’s high ball in from the left found Everett at the far post, but his downward header somehow bounced over.
It would have been so harsh on spirited Motormen and, thankfully, they were able to travel home in high spirits.
Redbridge: Neil, Hayes, Rolls, Skeritt, Beale, Holloway, Reed (McDonald 68), Monger, Cleaver, Martin (Okadigbo 80), Porter (Portway 75).
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