Catz underline promotion credentials with narrow win

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BOTH Catz and Keble were relegated from last season’s premier division and each side was eager to demonstrate their wish to return to the top flight in this hotly contested affair on the Woodstock Road.
It became apparent early on in the game that this would be a very close encounter, with both sides enjoying a fair share of the ball and creating numerous opportunities. For St. Catz, midfielder Gerrard Cole was inflicting most of the damage, his mazy runs down the left flank causing all manner of trouble for the Keble defence.
It was one such run and rolled ball across the box that found striker MacNaughton bearing down on goal. Unfortunately he did not have a finish to match Cole’s run and the shot was scuffed wide. 
Keble relied heavily on midfielders Askham and Singh to pose their threat and despite his diminutive stature, the sheer determination of Askham gave him that extra couple of inches to dominate the aerial battle. Several balls were floated in from Keble’s left flank, but each agonisingly eluded right winger Eckersley.
It was a frantic and frenzied five minute period midway through the first half however, where all the goals were scored. Another driving run from Cole freed up striker Taylor, whose cross come shot was parried over superbly by keeper Unwin.
Taylor then returned the favour by delivering a low flighted cross which Cole pounced upon at the near post to give Catz the lead.
Keble barely had time to assess their defensive error when an overlapping run from assured left back Ekhase forced another corner for Catz. Again Keble failed to deal with the danger and it was a towering leap from defender O’Keefe-O’Donovan that gave Catz their second.
Keble rallied well and amidst some Catz back-slapping, hit back immediately. Captain Singh led the charge and found himself with just the keeper to beat. He made no mistake as he coolly slotted into the bottom right corner.
The second half again saw numerous chances for both sides. Catz’ best efforts however, were comfortably dealt with by rock-solid centre back Orpin-Massey who hardly put a foot wrong all game. Keble pressed tirelessly for the equaliser with lofty forward Gajdus turning even the most hopeful long ball into something dangerous.
On 75 minutes Keble believed they had got their reward when a delightful ball in from Collins was flicked past the keeper by substitute Parry. Wild scenes of jubilation were cut short however, when the Catz linesman ruled an apparent offside. No amount of protest from the Keble ranks could change the ref’s decision and the goal was disallowed. This decision seemed to extinguish the Keble challenge as the game petered to a finish.
Keble captain Singh was frustrated by the result, “We certainly felt it was a goal and are gutted to come away with nothing.”

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