Dan At The Double Earns Moles A Point

by Andrew Finch

Molesey 2-2 Badshot Lea


First goals of the season for Dan Lucas and Dan Coombes secured Molesey’s first point in four games in a hard-fought and controversial 2-2 with Badshot Lea.

On sheer weight of chances, together with the fact that Lea played one half with a crocked keeper, and the other with a defender in goal, the Moles will be disappointed not to have taken all three points, but with the men from Hampshire considered by many to be the best sides faced by the Moles last season and in fine form this term, boss Steve Webb is likely to look on this as a point gained rather than two dropped.

The controversy begun as early as the opening minute, as Jon Ashwood in the Lea goal claimed a cross, and in doing so was clattered by his ex Molesey team-mate Lucas.
Ashwood hobbled through the rest of the half, making some fine saves along the way, and was replaced by substitute defender Barry McCoy at half-time.

With Molesey having looked fairly toothless in attack since the loss of top scorer Matt Baxter a month ago, Webb would have been delighted with the contribution of Arnold Tawonezvi and Farid Ibrahim-Zadeh, both of whom were making their first league starts for the club, and it was Ibrahim-Zadeh who had the games opening chance after dispossessing Marc Kleboe deep inside the Lea half, and he was unfortunate to see his shot come back off the post from a tight angle.

Ashwood made the first of a hat-trick of fine saves from Sam Lampard efforts on 25 minutes, tipping his flick from James McShane’s free kick over the bar, before the Moles took the lead after half an hour.

Ashwood’s kicking had, understandably, been poor after his clash with Lucas, and after one clearance went straight to Lampard, his clever pass sent Ibrahim-Zadeh racing clear.  As he shot for goal the ball took a wicked deflection and looped up and onto the bar, but fell kindly for Lucas to blast home from close range to give the Moles a deserved lead.

Joe Yeates saw a well struck, goal bound volley headed off the line a few minutes later, before Ashwood again thwarted Lampard with a decent save with his feet following good play by Tawonezvi and McShane.

The game hinged on the double dismissal of Molesey’s Luke Elliott and Lea’s Chamal Fenelon, with the big striker reacting to alleged racist abuse by the young Molesey defender.  However the club would be appealing in the strongest possible terms against Elliott’s dismissal, with players on both sides confirming that although his words were not particularly complimentary, there was no racial motivation behind them.

The double sending off had occurred ten minutes before half-time, and another lengthy stoppage ensued when a visibly angry Fenelon refused to leave the dug out after his dismissal.  Elliott was sensibly advised to seek sanctuary in the stand.

It was Fenelon who had the visitors’ only chance of the half after ten minutes prior to his dismissal following a slip by Phil Dexter, but he shot high and wide when well placed.

Ashwood continued to frustrate the Moles, and in particular Lampard, denying him for a third time in a virtually identical stop to Lampard’s second effort, with Ibrahim-Zadeh the provider on this occasion.

Molesey came out for the second half in confident mood, with Ashwood unable to continue and replaced by McCoy, however all of the Moles’ good work in the first half was undone by an equalising goal within seconds of the restart, Dexter misjudging a header and Brad Smith – Molesey’s tormentor last season and on as a half-time substitute – nipping in to finish coolly beyond Colin Harris.

McCoy’s impressive cameo suggested he had seen action between the sticks before, as he did to McShane what Ashwood had done to Lampard in the first half, denying him a goal with a string of fine saves, the first being to superbly tip McShane’s curling effort over the bar, and was unlucky to be beaten when Coombes headed Molesey in front on the hour mark.

A McShane corner had caused confusion in the box before being partially cleared.  McShane crossed once more and Coombes stole in unmarked at the far post to head beyond McCoy, who got a hand to the ball but was unable to keep the ball out.

It was a deserved goal for Coombes, who has stepped out of Steve Brown’s shadow in recent weeks and has arguably been Molesey’s most consistent performer in the 8 games since Brown’s departure.

Further poor defending allowed Smith to nip in and equalise midway through the half, as Darren Blake was allowed too much time to cross from the left, and Smith made his way around a static Yeates to score from close range.

Chances continued to be created at both ends, and the Lea defenders offered McCoy far more protection than they offered Ashwood, with both Tawonezvi and Ibrahim-Zadeh seeing goal-bound shots bravely blocked after McShane had run Dan Griffiths ragged on the Molesey left, before McCoy again earned his keep by tipping a McShane free-kick over the bar.

Smith and fellow substitute James Hinchen both had chances well saved by Harris late on, but the final word say went to McCoy, who produced a breathtaking save to deny McShane once more by tipping his header – destined for the top corner – over the bar.

Next up for the Moles is a visit from Guildford City next Saturday.


Line up:  Colin Harris, Andy Graves, Luke Elliott, Phil Dexter, Joe Yeates [C], Dan Coombes, Dan Lucas, Sam Lampard, Farid Ibrahim-Zadehm, Arnold Tawonezvi (Mickey Hughes 77), James McShane.  Subs (not used) Rob Lewis, Ross Defoe, Billy Pamment, Ezra Nelson