Elim made the trip to Trinity, in a game that historically fails to provide clean sheets. With both teams having nothing to play for, history became reality in this 10 goal thriller were the points were shared. In the previous encounter, Elim held out for a 3-1 victory with Jones, Kirugi and Bennett the scorers. Both teams suffered a number of notable absences for this fixture, which led to this classic encounter. Please get the popcorn football fans as I take you through this rollercoaster event.
Betancourt picked up the number one jersey to start for Elim in goal for the second time this season. With Elim having issues with midfield, the team was shuffled to suit the 3-5-3 formation. Matewe and Reid were joined at the back by Hurry back in the starting line-up. Kirgui was a late call up to the squad to play right wing, Baldwin was pushed from the back onto the left. Hughes, Clark and Jones were unchanged in the middle and Bennett was joined by Watkins up top. Corey Smith was available from the bench for this fixture and Cook was to make his debut for Elim.
Holy Trinity in their red tops and white shorts kicked off, against the visitors Elim in Green tops and their black shorts. The game was an open affair, just like the previous affair with both teams taking turns to attack and defend. Kirugi was to be the first player to break through and have a real attempt. Breaking into the box, released a shot to smash off the inside of the post and be cleared by the Trinity defence. Trinity on the same side, hit Elim on a counter. The Ball whipped in from their left, floating over the defence for the attacker to fail to hit the target.
Elim trying to stop Trinity Momentum, give a series of free kicks away in their defensive half. Elim made a mess defensively of their set play work which would ultimately lose them their clean sheet. The ball floated in by Trinity from the free-kick connected with a Trinity head, leaving Bentancourt helpless in goal to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Elim failed to learn lessons on how to defend and again the left winger for Trinity floated a ball back post. Matewe was beating for pace with the attacker getting a running start and another header to found the net and double the hosts lead.
Trinity with the aerial dominance whipped a number of crosses in to see out the game. Elim got the ball down and tried playing to their strengths. Captain Clark showed why he had the armband, throwing himself into every tackle.
Kirugi played a short pass forward to Bennett for the striker to play in Jones. Jones hit a fierce low shot passed the Trinity keeper to keep the second half very interesting. That was Jones 5th goal of the season. Elim could not force the equaliser before the break which meant Trinity led 2-1 at half time. The message for the Elim camp was players had to be brave and compete in the air, next goal in the second half was crucial. However, no one was prepared for the goal fest in the next 45 minutes.
Elim kicked the game off and as you would expect took the game to Trinity. In the absence of Dean Smith, Baldwin was on free kick duties. Elim picked up a free kick 5 yards into the Trinity half. The ball travelled into the box to find a connection with Kirgui. Kirugi put the Elim danger man Bennett through for the striker to slot in goal number 12 for him this season. 2-2 on the score line and with Elim getting the next goal momentum had changed to the visitors looking for the 3 points.
With 35 minutes on clock, Watkins was taking off for Corey Smith for a like for like swap. Trinity heads could of went down, but the reds won another cheap free kick on the left. The delivery exceptional for Trinity the marking poor by Elim. Baldwin was out jumped in the middle leaving another red to head Trinity 3-2 up. With Elim shell-shocked, Trinity punished the away team…yes you guessed another cross another head meaning Elim had conceded 4 headers out of 4 in this game. The ball was crossed into the 6-yard box and not dealt with, leaving a simple connection to find the bottom corner.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Elim had to pick themselves up and for the second time found the focus to come from two goals down. Elim tried to unlock Trinity with a cross, for the defence to hold strong and head out. Danger was not over, the big man Reid picked up the ball hitting a half volley to travel through a sea of players and beyond the keeper. 4-3 and Reid had not finished the scoring by a long shot (excuse the pun if you watched the game).
Corey Smith on corner duty, whipped a ball in to find Reid to header the equaliser to make the score 4-4 with 10 minutes left. Elim made their last change with Kirugi making way for Cook on the right hand side. Both teams fighting for the winner, knew this game was going to the wire. Trinity won a free kick in their own box, which was quickly taking and possession lost. The referee was not sure if the Elim players were far enough away which led to a re-take of the kick. The controversy led to a severe lack of concentration from Elim’s 11 men and Trinity cut through the Elim team to release a high and powerful shot to give Trinity a 5-4 lead with 1 minute on the clock. Guess the positives for Elim at least it wasn’t a 5th header but a painful blow at the time.
Was the scoring over …. The answer not Corey kicking off, found Reid Elim piled green shirts forward for the centre back to kick the ball long. Once the ball was released, the keeper was too far beyond his line to stop Reid scoring a 92nd minute equaliser and the defenders first Elim hat-trick. Trinity kicked the game off for 12th and last time, both teams having respect for each other knowing no faults attacking but serious defensive work needs to be carried out next year to challenge for the title. Elim and Trinity on this display both showed fight, spirit and determination and I would advise any neutral looking for a game to attend next season, this one never fails to entertain. The final score here 5-5!!!
Following Elim’s man of the match vote hat-trick hero in the second half, James Reid picked up the award. Elim conclude their season with an away trip to Coventrians. Congratulations on Lee and Jones adding to your respective tallies, James with the hat trick and Cook on the debut for Elim.