Durham City AFC 1 - 2 Silksworth CW
Saturday 14th January- 2pm - Wearside League - Leyburn Grove
It was a sunny but windy day for a game of football, yet Durham didn't let the cold winter weather freeze their progress. After an impressive first half performance against Farringdon last week and despite the final result, the Lads showed that they are still fighting and compete with anyone on their day.
Gaffer Wayne Gredziak and his coaching staff, opted for a 4-3-3 formation with Liam Peverley returning in goal after illness and Bailey Jones replacing Kallum Hannah upfront.
From the first whistle, Durham took the game to Silksworth, whilst it took them a little longer to settle into the game compared with last week. The Citizens eventually found their footing and were quick to intercept any Silksworth passes or win possession through smart tackles and positioning. The wind was picking up as the game started and Durham used this to their advantage incredibly well. Goalkeeper Liam Peverley took a tremendous goal kick which floated over the Silksworth backline and was just waiting for the perfect finish. Bailey Jones was made the run and was inches away from making the much needed contact to place it into the net, however the keeper got their first. Brandon Gredziak, returned to the side after serving his match suspension last week, but quickly found himself back into the referees book in the 10th minute for what seemed like a fair tackle and winning the ball, however the ref thought otherwise and gave the freekick to Silksworth and a yellow card to Brandon.
The Lads continued to press and did not let up in their pursuit of the opener, with Lennox Magalhaes making fantastic runs down the right wing, taking on opponents, dribbling inside and using his pace to beat his man. He had a good opportunity to score, but saw his shot go wide. Craig Megson was also illustrating his brilliant work rate and dedication to chase the ball down, receiving the ball just inside the box and controlling, but he couldn't quite get the connection and the ball went straight into the keepers arms.
With getting numbers forward, Durham did make themselves vulnerable at the back, but Liam Peverley was on hand to pull off some brilliant saves. In the 24th minute, Silksworth won themselves a corner and unfortunately when trying to clear, a Durham player put it into his own net.
The game started to become evenly contested then, with Durham trying to get forward and get an equaliser, whereas Silksworth were looking to add to their goal advantage and played with new energy. A few stop and starts were required for some heavy tackle and fouls. Perhaps suggesting what was to come. As in the 38th minute, Durham went down to 10 men when Brandon Gredziak was given his second yellow of the game. Whilst there appeared to be no contact and was an even battle to jump for the ball, the referee decided to give Brandon his marching orders
It would have been easy then to rule Durham out of the game, especially when coming up against a ninth placed Silksworth side. However, the lads dug deep and showed brilliant resolve, continuing to fight and get forward. They were rewarded for their efforts, when a Silksworth player pushed one of ours in the box and the referee pointed to the spot on the 45th minute. Mark Hemmingway stepped up to take the responsibility and duly dispatched it prior to the ref blowing the whistle for halftime.
The gaffer worked his magic during half-time and made one change, bringing on Andrew Pritchard for Bailey Jones.
The Citizens could have sat back and tried to defend the current scoreline, as a 1-1 draw with 10 men would have been a fantastic achievement for the lads and would have got their first point on the table. However, they continued to show great determination and character.
For the first 10-15 minutes of the second half, both sides had equal amounts of opportunities and possession, with not much to separate the two teams despite the man advantage to Silksworth. However, the opponents were edging the game just slightly and looked the most likely to score. Goalkeeper Liam Peverley, was in incredible form in the Durham goal, making some brillaint goal denying services, most from point blank range and some he had no business saving, continuing to keep The Citizens in it.
The Lads bought their time and waited for the right opportunities to get forward and play a ball in behind the Silksworth defence. In the 68th minute, Andrew Pritchard broke free of the offside trap and was through in on goal. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, the opponents committed a fantastic tackle to take the ball away from Pritchard's feet and put it out of play.
Liam Peverley was once again called into action and kept the score at 1-1. Whereas Louis Davidson came onto the pitch to replace Mark Hemmingway. Lennox Magalhaes continued to be a threat out on the wings and captain Ross Hutchinson and 16-year-old Preston Gredziak were resolute at the back. Yet, despite their best efforts, Durham were left heartbroken when in the 89th minute, Silksworth scored on the run of play and there was not enough time for the lads to mount a last minute equaliser.
A devastating end to what had been a magnificent performance against top opposition and with only 10 men. The Citizens go again next Saturday, in an away game against Durham Corinthians.