Selwyn XI edge out Jesus in five-goal thriller

Lili Bidwell 27 February 2017

Selwyn dug deep late on to clinch a 3-2 victory against title challengers Jesus in a delayed Saturday afternoon kick-off.

Playing in front of their own fans, Jesus continued their impressive form of late with a strong start against a Selwyn team for whom defeat would plunge them into a late relegation battle. Taking the game to the away side, Jesus deservedly took the lead within five minutes when skipper Ryan Law latched onto a pin-point through ball to smash home past temporary keeper Sam Comb, in for the suspended Keir Baker.

This sloppy start seemed to thrust Selwyn into action, who responded by shifting the ball faster to the wings. And, before ten minutes had elapsed, intricate play down the right brought about the equaliser as Simon Fox received a low cross to fire in his first goal in Selwyn colours. However, the frantic pace of the game showed no signs of relenting as almost immediately afterwards, the away side found themselves with a free kick on the edge of the box. Stepping up to the mark, Fox clinched his and Selwyn's second of the game as his effort deflected in off the Jesus wall to completely turn the game on its head.

Like the proverbial London bus, Fox almost tripled his account shortly after with another free-kick, only for the Jesus wall to do its duty. However, Selwyn's surge was not to end there, as central midfielder Charlie Stone opened his account for the season with a majestic half-volley that found its way into the bottom corner. 3-1, and only 15 minutes played.

Seemingly shell-shocked, the home side regrouped and began to assert their authority on the game through the central midfield trio of Harry Roocroft, Tom O'Loughlan and Yash Singh, who used their aerial advantage over their Selwyn counterparts to keep the away side camped in their own half until half-time.

With the wind on their backs, Jesus started the second half in much the same dominating fashion as they had the first. As well as controlling the midfield, the home side began to bombard the penalty area with crosses from winger Demetris Demtriou. As could be expected, game began to open up past the hour mark as long periods of time spent defending for Selwyn began to take their toll on fitness levels.

However fresh legs in the form of Eman Goriola almost paid off for the away side, turning his man only to see his effort sail harmlessly over Hamish McGregor's crossbar. Indeed Selwyn periodically threatened on the counter, with winger Tom Higgins Toon squandering a golden opportunity to put the game to bed as he chipped over from six yards out.

However as the corner count reached double figures, Jesus finally got the second that their dominance deserved. After failing to clear their lines, a mix-up between Comb and skipper Joe Hudson allowed George Raikes to sneak in and poke the ball into the bottom corner. With the deficit reduced to just one, Jesus pressed yet harder for the equaliser, with Harry Roocroft heading over from a corner and Demetris Demtriou trying his luck from distance.

For all their possession though, Jesus struggled to break through the well-disciplined Selwyn back four, with centre backs Hudson and Harry Robertson often on hand to break up play at the critical moment. With an additional six minutes awarded after successive outbreaks of cramp — and the ball deflating following a Law piledriver — Jesus gave it one final push, but eventually the away side held on to ensure all three points.