22 Dec

BURNHAM 4               RAYNERS LANE 4                                                             Buchanan 2                                                             Cathline                                                             Minhas                                                                                      

Rayners Lane travelled to Burnham to take on a side who had topped the embryonic Premier Division North table and have promotion aspirations as well as continuing their impressive run in the FA Vase. The visitors arrived as the league’s top goal scorers and Burnham as second top so the ensuing goal fest should maybe have been expected. In the opening exchanges it was Burnham who looked most likely to open the scoring, firstly denied by an Ivan Atkins goal line clearance and shortly after that with an acrobatic save from Lane stopper Jack Smith. As the half wore on, however, Rayners started to press further up the pitch to disrupt Burnham’s practiced build up and they will be disappointed not to have taken any of the many opportunities they began to create. Elliott Buchanan, Bradley Bubb, Frank Keita and Rio Connell all had really good chances – as well as a number of decent half chances - that went begging as the visitors finished the half strongly. Burnham began the second half on the front foot and a rapid three goal blitz looked to have put them in control. A free-kick from the edge of the box on 49 minutes was driven goal-wards by Leo Decabo, took a deflection off the wall and raced past the wrong footed Smith. They doubled their lead six minutes later when a misplaced clearance found its way to Firas Chniba and he finished well. The third came on 60 minutes when Decabo blasted a penalty into the net after the referee’s assistant had spotted an infringement by Jack Smith. The three goal cushion gave the Burnham players and fans the confidence to start celebrating and ‘The Drum’ made its first appearance of the afternoon. Rayners manager Gary Meakin rang the changes and brought on Kyel Reid and Hassan Jalloh at the expense of Manny Folarin and Bradley Bubb. Both players impressed when they were introduced and Lane began to dominate with Burnham happy to waste time and see the game out. A Kyel Reid corner on 71 minutes found its way to Ivan Atkins and his low shot rebounded off the post and Elliott Buchanan was quickest to react and fired in from close range. The big striker then got his second on 80 minutes when he shot low into the corner from the edge of the box. As we approached the final minutes of the game Alex Cathline was brought on in place of Frank Keita and the move paid dividends as he followed a through ball which the Burnham keeper Carl Dennison had misread and the big striker managed to finish after the ball hit the post and was juggled by the keeper. It was now 3-3 as we entered the last moments of the game, with ‘The Drum’ silent as Burnham contemplated having relinquished a three goal lead. More drama was to come, however, with Referee Nigel Owen now taking his turn to join in the proceedings when he gave a 94th minute penalty that would best be described as ‘soft’ after a Burnham forward fell to the ground in the box. To add salt to the wound the man in the middle issued a second yellow card to Callum Webb for the infringement and Rayners Lane had to see out the additional time with ten men. The penalty was duly dispatched by Decabo for his hat-trick, ‘The Drum’ resumed again and the Burnham bench went wild with excitement. The sizeable additional time that had been added on for Burnham’s time wasting came back to haunt them when Rayners Lane skipper Aaron Minhas fired home after a Kyel Reid corner wasn’t cleared. ‘The Drum’ stopped and the bench sat down again, followed shortly after by the final whistle. The Rayners Lane staff were philosophical after the game – two points dropped after missing so many chances in the first half or a point gained after trailing 3-0 and 4-3 – were both valid arguments but credit to both teams for their part in an entertaining game for all that attended, even ‘The Drum’ banger! Come On The Lane! Rayners Lane – 1. Jack Smith 2. Manny Folarin (Sub: 16 Hassan Jalloh, 60)  3. Callum Webb 4. Keano Robinson 5. Ian Atkins 6. Troy Perez-Duah 7. Frank Keita (Sub: 17 Alex Cathline, 88) 8. Aaron Minhas © 9. Bradley Bubb (Sub: 15 Kyel Reid, 60) 10. Elliott Buchanan 11. Rio Connell Att: 95 Ref: Nigel Owen                      Asst: James Bird / Brian Capel

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