By George Dugdale
KLAW kept their title challenge alive with a tense victory over CARBS in the IMG Premier League. Two penalty strikes from winger Tom Cole, either side of a CARBS equaliser, were enough to ensure that the league title will be decided in the final fixture of the season.
The opening exchanges were tentative, although a twisting run from Luke Baxter tested the KLAW defence. At the other end of the field, a surging run from Alex Poneskis caused confusion and only some last-ditch defending kept the ball out of the net before a lineman’s flag was eventually raised.
CARBS had arguably had the better of the game and continued to look comfortable in possession after the penalty controversy. It was to the credit of the KLAW defence that goalkeeper Mitchell Greenham was not tested more frequently.
However, CARBS did find a way back into the game moments after Baxter had blasted over when well placed. A deep cross looked to be posing little threat, but a fine leap from a CARBS attacker and a possible deflection off a defender diverted the ball past the stranded Greenham.
If KLAW were to keep their season alive, they would have to improve quickly and thanks to their second penalty of the afternoon, they were gifted the opportunity to restore their lead instantly. A cross from deep appeared harmless enough, but caught the arm of a CARBS defender as he attempted to clear. Cole stepped up once more, this time drilling the ball low into the corner of the net.
CARBS could still have been level shortly before the interval as Sam Pritchard rose highest to nod a corner narrowly wide of the upright.
The first half had seen CARBS dominating possession as KLAW looked to threaten on the counter-attack and the second half was no different. Scott Gregory and Elliot Ashford were superb at the back for KLAW to ensure that relentless CARBS pressure was repelled without damage.
As is to be expected for a game of this importance, tensions were becoming frayed and both sides were giving their all to get the win. This was typified in the final seconds, when a Jonjo Reeves free-kick was cleared off the line by Poneskis.
KLAW’s brave defensive effort now sets up a title decider with leaders and defending champions Earth Soc, which will take place after the Easter break.