Hale survive scare to maintain unbeaten record

Ashley Jenkins' second half penalty save proved the turning point. Picture by Charter Photographer
Ashley Jenkins' second half penalty save proved the turning point. Picture by Charter Photographer

Hale Leys United boss Paul Alleyne rued his side’s ‘slow start’ after they dropped their first points of the season in a 2-2 draw against Brimsdown on Saturday.

Hale had won all 18 league games prior to Saturday’s encounter but they made a terrible start and found themselves trailing 2-0 at half-time before Daniel Parsons’ second half strike and a late Alex Woodfine penalty earned United a point.

Alleyne’s side travelled to Brimsdown without midfielders Unas Ilays and Riccardo Whittle and the visitors were on the back foot from kick-off with Brimsdown enjoying much of the early possession, and the hosts deservedly went ahead on 23 minutes.

Hale replied with a period of pressure as they looked to quickly pull level, but instead they were caught on the counter as Brimsdown took a shock 2-0 lead into half-time.

With their unbeaten record under threat, Hale came out a transformed side in the second half as they dominated for large periods with Kevin Mealor having a shot saved before Parsons gave United a glimmer of hope when his effort was deflected into the net with 25 minutes remaining.

That glimmer seemed to have evaporated within minutes though, as the home side were awarded a penalty that surely would have sealed a memorable victory, but Hale goalkeeper Ashley Jenkins brilliantly palmed the spot-kick around the post to keep his side in the game.

This lifted the visitors as they piled forward in search of a dramatic late equaliser and they were handed a glorious opportunity when the referee awarded Hale a penalty. Woodfine held his nerve to coolly convert.

United then almost snatched a last-gasp winner when, in the dying seconds, Nathan Graham hit a superb effort that was somehow kept out by the Brimsdown keeper, forcing Hale to settle for their first non-win of the season.

Alleyne said: “It was a the closet game we have played this season. Brimsdown have obviously brought in some quality player for this fixture but eventually we grinded out a result from the game.

“Again we started slowly and I I feel that had we played better in the first half, we may of got more out of the fixture. We do need to start quicker and we will be addressing that in training this week.

“Man of the Match was an easy selection today as Ashley Jenkins kept us in the game with that superb penalty save – I think that was the turning point of the game.”

Hale do not have a fixture this weekend but they return to their league campaign for a home match against local rivals Aston Clinton on Saturday, January 31.