Saints turn on the style as Garton hits a hat-trick
DOWNEND Saints came from behind to win a closely-fought first game 2-1, however a hat-trick from Keynsham's Evan Garton and a masterful performance from Star Man Charlie Westbrook saw Keynsham turn the fixture around in the second game as they triumphed 5-4 overall in an enthralling encounter.
The first game started slowly with both teams struggling to hold on to the ball as they adjusted to the boggy conditions, however ten minutes in Keynsham took the lead from a long-range effort.
The ball was picked up 25 yards from goal by Harrison Collings and his snapshot seemed to catch Adam Whale a little off guard, the backpedalling keeper not quite getting strong enough hands on the ball to prevent it from dropping into the corner of his goal.
Keynsham had a chance to double their lead when Zak Greatorex surged beyond two defenders into the Downend box, but just as he was about to pull the trigger Jack Evans nipped in and poked the ball behind for a corner.
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The visitors then came close again when Kieran Jones passed to Jenson Lander who wrapped his foot around the ball and whipped it across the box between the defenders and the goal, however it was just too far in front of Isaac Zanuddin who came sliding in at the back post, but was unable to make proper contact and sent the ball spinning just wide.
Downend started the second half brightly, Evans stinging the hands of Joe Abbott with a 35-yard free-kick before Whale's long punt found Louis Durnell, who slipped the ball left to Teddy Willoughby, but the winger's shot was straight down Abbott's throat.
The home side continued to press and almost found the net when Willoughby's inswinging corner was turned beyond Abbott, but Greatorex was on hand to hook the ball off the line.
However, Downend finally managed to get the equaliser they deserved when Evan's superb diagonal ball from the right floated over the heads of two Keynsham defenders and found Willoughby at the back post, who took one touch before smashing the ball into the top corner from close range.
The momentum was now firmly with Downend who continued to press forward, but with eight minutes to go they were caught out by a swift counter-attack from Keynsham as Freya Clothier carved open the Downend defence with a superb long pass which found Jones.
But after cutting back past one defender the striker's prodded shot was well blocked by Whale.
Then with only four minutes left Downend managed to find the net again.
Whale's punt found Willoughby who threaded the ball between two defenders to Durnell, who stabbed it beyond Abbot from a couple of yards out to give his team a 2-1 lead.
Keynsham didn't give up as they threw everything forward in the last few minutes and they almost equalised during a massive scramble in the Downend box, but a multitude of blocks and saves kept the visitors at bay.
The first game had been pretty evenly matched throughout with both teams having lots of chances to score, but it was Downend who had taken the initiative and went into the second game with a 2-1 lead.
The hosts started the second game intent on building on their lead, and almost did so five minutes in when Jack Jenkins found Charlie Dommett inside the Keynsham box and, as Harry McCarthy came flying out, the striker poked the ball beyond the keeper but also just wide of the post.
However, it was Keynsham who came closest in the opening stages when Charlie Westbrook's vicious shot was brilliantly parried by Patrick Hedge.
The ball fell straight to Evan Garton who tried to fire it over the grounded keeper first time, but his effort from a tight angle thumped the post and the ball flew behind for a goal-kick.
A minute later, though Downend doubled their advantage after Jack Jenkins reacted quickest to a loose ball on the edge of the Keynsham box, prodding it through to Dommett who this time made no mistake as he slotted it past McCarthy.
William Parker then almost added to his team's lead 60 seconds later after he was found by Jenkins, but McCarthy got just enough on the striker's effort to stop it.
The ball was immediately pumped up field by McCarthy and found its way to Wilfred Cains whose fierce strike was well saved by Hedge, but the ball was put back across the box to Garton who turned it beyond the keeper at the far post to make it 1-1 in the second game.
Then five minutes before the end of the first-half, Parker made it 4-2 to Downend overall. The striker twisted this way and that inside the Keynsham box as he beat two defenders before rocketing the ball beyond the reach of McCarthy.
The drama wasn't quite over though as two minutes later Keynsham were awarded a penalty for handball, however Cains' spot-kick was well saved by Hedge.
The first-half of the second game had been action packed with both teams displaying a lot of attacking prowess, but it was still Keynsham who had it all to do as they trailed by two goals despite having just as many chances as their more clinical opponents.
And Downend almost distanced themselves further when Isaac Aspinall sent the ball looping towards the top corner, but McCarthy just managed to reach up and tip the ball wide of the goal.
Downend had two further great chances to score in the opening few minutes of the final period – first, Aspinall firing narrowly wide when one-on-one with McCarthy after some great work by Jenkins. Then Parker found Jenkins, but before the attacker could get his shot away McCarthy flew out and smothered the ball.
This caused alarm bells to ring in the Keynsham camp and the players responded by creating a flurry of chances, Cameron Thorpe poking wide before Westbrook's 30-yard free-kick whistled just past the top corner and some sharp defending from Rauhl Singh preventing Keynsham attackers from following up after Hedge parried a Westbrook effort.
The pressure was beginning to mount, and halfway into the second half Keynsham managed to snatch a goal back. Cains' corner was superbly met by Garton and his powerful header whistled past Hedge into the goal.
Downend almost re-established their two-goal cushion three minutes later when Singh's poked effort bobbled beyond the reach of McCarthy, but fortunately for the visitors the ball struck the post and bounced away to safety.
With just eight minutes to go, Keynsham made their opponents pay for wasting their chances as Cains made it 4-4 overall. Westbrook's fantastic diagonal pass picked out Garton, who knocked it down for the unmarked Cains to drill in from five yards out.
Ninety seconds later, Keynsham netted again, this time Westbrook picking out Garton with another superb through ball and, with Cains in support, Garton completed his hat-trick as he slotted the ball beyond Hedge from just inside the box.
Downend almost salvaged a point late on when Singh's corner fell to Aspinall on the penalty spot, but the shot flew beyond the dive of the keeper and thundered into the post, before falling into the arms of the grateful McCarthy who was sprawled on the floor.
The final whistle sounded with the scoreline at 5-4 to Keynsham who had overturned a two-goal deficit in the space of 12 minutes to snatch three points from under the noses of a strong and slightly unfortunate Downend side, who ultimately were punished for their profligacy in front of goal.
Downend Saints: Adam Whale, William Serle, Teddy Willoughby, Jamie Proud, Jack Evans, Louis Durnell, Josh Bowden, Patrick Hedge, William Parker, James Berry, Jack Jenkins, Lewis Helstrip, Isaac Aspinall, Charlie Dommett, Rauhl Singh
Keyndham Town Juniors: Joe Abbott, Isaac Zanuddin, Maxwell Johnstone, Harrison Collings, Freya Clothier, Kieran Jones, Jenson Lander, James Rogers, Zak Greatorex, Harry McCarthy, Alfie Trainer, Evan Garton, Cameron Thorpe, Charlie Westbrook, David Holland, Wilfred Cains