To accommodate City’s first team match, an early kick meant the game was played out in sweltering heat. And it was a testament to both sides that they produced such a high octane clash in testing conditions.
The first half was an evenly contested affair, City opted to pack their midfield to stem the threat of Nova’s dangerous midfield pairing of Lee Homer and Mark McGowen. To the large part the tactic paid off as no side was able to gain a foothold in the match. The first clear cut opening came after 15 minutes, Homer’s pinpoint cross found Bjorn Ellingsen who somehow managed to head over with the goal beckoning. Chances started to come Nova’s way and it was Ellingsen once again who just failed to get a touch from a Ben Bryant cross. However it was the home side who took the lead on the half hour, a long ball over the top found the Nova back four napping and the City striker ran through to coolly round keeper Todd Fox. Nova continued to create chances and had a great shout for a penalty waved away but it was the home side who went in at half time one goal to the good.
The second half saw few early chances, however the game really came to life in the final half hour. Nova’s Bryant latched on to a Mark Dorey through ball and his mazy run was only ended when he was cynically tripped by the City defender which resulted in a red card. Bryant a 17 year old student from St Andrews is a gem of a player and on Saturday was arguably the best player on the park. However even with the player advantage it was the home side who extended their lead when a shot from the edge of the area beat Fox and found the bottom corner.
Nova had to dig deep and Coach Stuart Levy played his trump card in bringing on 43yr striker Nicholas Creasey, what Creasey lacks in pace he more than makes up for it with his speed of thought and he was the pivot for Nova to launch their attacks. Drifting in space between the city midfield and their well marshalled defence, he was soon threading balls though for Nova’s on rushing midfield. They soon pulled a goal back when Stuart Maguire shot from the edge of the area took a slight deflection and nestled in the back of the net. And they were soon on level terms, Bryant once again tortured the City full back before squaring the ball to Creasey, who deftly lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net.
It made for a frantic final 10 minutes as Nova laid siege on the City goal in search of the winner. However it was the home side who looked to have won the game with only minutes remaining. Nova’s players stood still as a corner was whipped in, and the unmarked City striker fired home from close range. But in the final seconds of the game another Nova attack saw Andy Robinson square the ball to Nico Sippel who gleefully side footed home for a share of the spoils.
Nova certainly deserved the point however City would be disappointed at having let slip a two goal advantage. But the game was a great advert for Division 2 football and a great testament to he strength in depth of the Pattaya City Football Club that they could field such a competitive Reserve side and get a point against a very strong looking Nova outfit.
One advantage of the early kick off, was that Nova could now indulge in their second favourite pastime, celebrating a well earned draw in fine style at Jamesons Irish Bar Next Week FC Nova are home to the Scandanvian Vikings at Maprachan Lake, Kick Off 4pm