Photo by Nigel Owen.
A last-minute penalty by Conor Higginson was enough to send Ollerton Town to their first league win of the season as they edged past lowly East Hull at The Fast Frame Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Ollerton had made a relatively slow start to the new campaign, picking up 3 points from their opening five fixtures whilst East Hull were rooted to the foot of the NCEL Division One table having lost all six of their fixtures, shipping 36 goals in the process.
Both sides came into the game on the back of 7-0 defeats last time out, Ollerton’s in the FA Vase to step 5 side South Normanton Athletic, meaning this game presented the two teams with a perfect opportunity to write some of those wrongs and get some points on the table.
It was a fairly even opening ten minutes with both sides trying to gain a foothold in the contest. Ollerton were enjoying some neat passages of play in and around the East Hull area whilst the more direct approach of the visitors caused the Ollerton defence some nervy moments.
The home side’s first chance came from a free-kick 25 yards from goal, but Julian Topliss saw his curling effort parried away by Harrison Chapman-Dusher in the East Hull goal.
A minute later, East Hull had a great opportunity to take the lead but George Harrison’s aim was somewhat out of tune as he fired over the bar from just inside the area.
In the 19th minute, Ollerton’s Ben Partridge used his pace to skip round Chapman-Dusher and he crossed into the middle for Lewis Bingham who neatly teed up Sean Dickinson, only for the midfielder to bobble a shot wide of the target.
It looked like the opening goal could go to either side and East Hull created two half chances in quick succession but were only able to find the side netting on both occasions.
East Hull certainly didn’t look like a side languishing at the bottom in the 32nd minute, a thunderous strike by Stephen Cooper forced Ollerton ‘keeper Levi Owen into a strong save.
Ollerton almost found that elusive opener in the 37th minute as Partridge’s cross into the box caused havoc. Tom Moody and Sean Dickinson both saw efforts from close range blocked well before the ball rolled out for captain Sam Stretton who also saw his low effort denied by the body of an East Hull defender.
Two minutes later and it was Ollerton who went close again. A dinked ball over the top found Bingham beating the offside trap but his jabbed effort lacked power and it was tipped wide for a corner.
With the game goalless at the interval, both sets of managers will have been looking for a strong start to the second half for their teams but it was Ollerton who started the brighter, finally taking the lead in the 50th minute. The ball dropped to wing-back Lewis Murr just inside the area and he had the space to bend a lovely effort into the far corner and past the dive of Chapman-Dusher.
Murr could have got a second in the 65th minute but after meeting Partridge’s cross at the back post, his header from a tight angle could only find the side netting.
After taking the lead, Ollerton would have been looking to control proceedings and perhaps add one or two more goals to their tally. Instead, they gifted East Hull a way back into the game. A mix-up at the back involving ‘keeper Levi Owen resulted in an indirect free-kick for the visitors 10 yards out. The ball was nudged into the path of Zak Oakshott and he calmly nestled the ball into the bottom corner to level the score.
Ollerton introduced Conor Higginson shortly after the equaliser and with fifteen minutes to go, he almost produced a winner but saw his shot from a corner deflected over the bar.
Then, with time running out, Higginson saw another effort strike the body of an East Hull defender inside the area only this time, referee Piotr Zak pointed to the spot for an alleged handball. It was Higginson himself who stepped up to take it but he showed no signs of pressure, calmly rolling the ball into the corner.
With the first win under their belts, Ollerton will be hoping to build on it and climb up the table whilst East Hull were disappointed not to have come away with a point that they will feel like they deserved.