Santer at the double as Fluxton defeat Countess Wear
- Credit: Archant
Thus far, life in Division Four has been tough for Fluxton with jobs, injuries, and family demands keeping good men off the football pitch.
The squad has been stretched to its limits, and the normally well-oiled Fluxton machine had begun to splutter.
The build up to their meeting with Countess Wear Dynamos this match was more promising; there was talk of reigniting the spirit of Fluxton, and twelve players were confirmed by Thursday night! Uncharted territory then for manager Mark Stoyle who was facing the daunting prospect of naming a substitute.
He need not have worried, for on Friday night a good dog died, and a player got drunk - come kick off, numbers had diminished to ten, but there did live a warm team spirit in the men who took to the pitch, which in turn had its very own warm glow thanks to Elaine Paget, who supplied Magnolia trade emulsion to the last minute line marking efforts.
Countess Weir had 92 per cent possession for the first half hour, utilising their man advantage, but ultimately unable to get round Fluxton’s well organised bus. Matt Sercombe made his usual string of fantastic saves, Jack Burgess and Lee Chapman stood tall at the back, with Graham Hughes to their left bringing his much-missed composure to the side. Midfield sat deep, and lone striker Ryan Gralia covered several miles in his gallant efforts to pedal some pressure onto the Dynamos’ back line.
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On 35 minutes Fluxton won a free kick in their own half. Burgess shaped the ball to meet Santer’s angled run that saw him get in front of his marker and glance a header high into the net from twelve yards out. One man down. One goal up!
Just before half-time Fluxton’s eleventh turned up in the form of new Argentine signing Juan Alaimo. At the break there were words of encouragement from the gaffer, constructive discussion, and a continued sense of a team united.
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Five minutes into the second half it was 1-1.
The Fluxton men looked to their team mates wondering if they were all feeling as unfit as each other; were the first half exertions about to take their toll? The answer came in the form of a quiet team resolve as everyone knuckled down and continued to work for each other.
The Fluxton huff and puff was punctuated by the odd glimmer of good passing football on the resplendent Tipton turf, with wingers Andi Davies and Alex Stone beginning to see more of the ball. A neat sequence of passes in midfield revolving around Stone, culminated in a tame effort from the edge of the box from Santer, who, turning away in disgust at his attempt, didn’t see the ball somehow bumble through the ‘keeper’s gloves and open legs en route to the mocking net.
Stone created the third goal for himself, nimbly dispossessing the Countess Weir defence before calmly curling the ball past the ‘keeper with the outside of his boot.
Fluxton’s discipline and composure stirred the opposite in their opponents, with two players being sent off in the last 20 minutes for desperate hacks and stamps. Fluxton had chances to add to the score line, but, running low on fuel, seemed content to coast to the final whistle.