By Alan Whiter
The Old Ruts entertained current league leaders Eversley at Poplar Road in a match that brought together two good footballing teams and one below par referee.
The Ruts were still missing a few players through injury and striker Dave D’Rozario missing the match as he was on a Haggis tasting weekend away.
Both teams started well with the Ruts having the majority of the opening possession. The central midfield trio of Ryan Brown, Nick Raggett and Steve Nash dominated the opening encounters and Man of the Match Reece Smith and Scott Ryder on the flanks were able to get in behind the defence on a number of occasions.
Eversley battled well and managed to create a few half chances which were dealt with by the Ruts back three of Duncan Fraser, Richard Lines and Neil Marshall with the help of Craig Wellstead between the sticks. The Ruts continued to get the ball down and play through to the front two of Mark McDowell and Neil Whyte but the Eversley defence managed to snuff out any real threat on goal. The Ruts had the better of the first half attempts with McDowell and Raggett going close on separate occasions from Brown’s set piece deliveries.
The second half started much like the first with both teams having good possession and creating a few decent half chances. Eversley managed to break the deadlock midway through the second half when they broke down the Ruts right with a good run from their centre forward who struck a fierce shot which was goalbound. Wellstead managed to pull off a great save but unfortunately the ball struck Richard Lines, who had no chance of getting out of the way, and it rolled into the net.
Almost immediately the Ruts were level. From a corner, Smith caused havoc in the box and the ball fell to the feet of Fraser who managed to slot home from close range.
Andy Flanagan was brought on to replace Whyte with Smith moving up front to partner McDowell. Almost immediately McDowell was then sent off for two yellow cards picked up in quick succession. Eversley took the initiative and had the Ruts on the back foot for a long spell. The Ruts battled back and were awarded a penalty when Smith was fouled in the area. The resulting spot kick was duly dispatched by Nash to put the Ruts 2-1 up.
Luke Creates replaced Ryder on the left side of midfield and the Ruts looked to be in control for the last ten minutes of the match with Smith working well to keep possession in the opponents half. In the last few minutes Eversley managed to force an equaliser when they were awarded a dubious free kick which the Ruts defence failed to deal with. The ball fell to their number nine who crashed a shot past the helpless Wellstead.
The Ruts felt like it was a case of two points lost and must get back to winning ways next week when they are at home to Shottermill & Haslemere.