Resilient Central come out on top in a tight game against ten-man Manchester Gregs.
Manchester Central come out on top against Manchester Gregs at the Manchester College, despite being pegged back twice. Goals from Josh Frith, Dario Germano and Dan Burns was enough to edge out Manchester Gregs on Saturday to keep Centrals title hopes alive.
McGuire’s team made two changes from last weeks draw with Chadderton Reserves. Elvis Amoakwa was handed a starting place with Joe Darnell not being available and, Clinton Agho started instead of Buba Sakiliba.
Central started off the game the better with Josh Frith having an effort in the first few minutes, but his curling shot went just wide of the goal. All their pressure paid off in the 5th minute as a through ball from Dario sent Elvis Amoakwa down the line near the Gregs box, he whipped in a great cross to Josh Frith who took a touch before hitting a half volley into the far corner past the diving Gregs keeper to break the deadlock.
Dan Burns could have doubled the scoreline minutes later but couldn’t keep his shot down. A long throw from Dan Parker was flicked on by Amoakwa to Josh Frith whos header was blocked by the Manchester Gregs defender the ball came to Dan Burns on the edge of the area, but he got under the ball, and it went over the bar.
Ben Jupp was called into action as a long throw wasn’t cleared and, it fell to James Purfield who controlled it on his chest before hitting a volley which was a sure goal but Jupp produced a great save to push it over the bar to keep Central in the lead.
Manchester Gregs equalised in the 23rd minute as for the first time in the game Central switched off. A long ball from Dan Forrester into the Central box, Mall Shereen wasn’t tracked by the Central defenders and Shereen headed over the stranded Jupp to make it one apiece.
The game became quite scrappy with neither team managing to carve the other open and only having half chances, neither keeper having to make a save. As the half was coming to an end, Central retook the lead. Dario Germano created and scored the goal himself. Some fantastic individual skill got him past the Gregs defender near the corner flag, before driving into the box and unleashing an unstoppable left-footed shot which flashed past the flat-footed goalkeeper which took Central into the break 2-1 up.
The second half started as the first half ended with neither team taking control of the game and only managing to create half chances. On 60 minutes Manchester Gregs levelled the match up as a low corner was put in, and Bob Semehen volleyed the ball into the back of the net through a crowded box.
It only took Central three minutes to regain the lead. Elvis Amoakwa could have scored moments earlier but put his shot into the side netting, but on the next attack it was Elvis who played the ball over the top of the defenders to send Dan Burns through one on one, and he calmly slotted it under the goalkeeper with his left foot.
Josh Frith could have added to the scoreline; firstly he couldn’t stretch enough to get any power on his shot after a scramble in the box. After a poor header back from a Gregs defender Josh Frith could loop the goalkeeper and find the back of the goal. Manchester Gregs could also have pulled level but after a header looped over Ben Jupp, but Paul Riley was there to head off the line and away to safety.
As the game was coming to a close Gregs went down to 10 men as Waz Ali was sent off for pulling back Josh Frith as the striker was running through towards the goal on a counter attack.
Central saw out the remaining minutes of the game comfortably to win 3-2. This makes it six games unbeaten now.
Next up for Central is third in the league Rochdale Sacred Heart away. Central will be looking to gain three points to keep their title hopes alive.