Chalford keep title hopes alive thanks to late Minnican penalty


Ben Minnican’s injury time penalty saw Chalford come from behind to beat Bibury 2-1 on Thursday night, ensuring the GNSL Division One title race goes into the final 10 days.

Following Longlevens Reserves’ 9-0 win over Bredon on Wednesday, Chalford knew they had to win – most importantly, but also that they were now behind on the goal difference.

Jay Griffiths had the visitors in a shock lead at half time, after scoring his 19th league goal of the season.

But after Andy Maryon levelled with a well placed header, Chalford were awarded a penalty in stoppage time – which Minnican thundered past an inspired Jake Stevens.

The win means that the title race is now down to three, with Longlevens Reserves, Tredworth Tigers and Chalford the only sides who can lift the title.

Chalford only have one game left, which is against Tredworth – who face Berkeley this weekend in a game they are fully expected to win and win well.

Longlevens have three remaining games, against English Bicknor (4 May), Lydney Town Reserves (7 May) and Woolaston (11 May) – all of which are played before their two rivals face off.

Dale Rawlins’ side know that three wins will more than likely do it after the midweek results, as even if they win their games by a goal, it would leave Chalford needing to beat Tredworth by eight clear goals.

However, if Longlevens drop any points in their remaining three games then we could see a winner takes all fixture on Monday 13 May.

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The game itself started with Bibury looking to make life difficult for their hosts, although Chalford had a number of corners that saw Bibury scramble clear with some desperate defending.

Minnican curled a free kick over from 18 yards, before Andy Maryon’s header looked set to loop into the far post – but Jake Stevens produced a stunning save.

Maryon then sent two further headers wide, before Bibury stunned the current title holders.

After Chalford failed to clear Harry Johnson’s ball forward, Jay Griffiths took the ball onto his left foot and slid his effort past Adam Thomas.

Thomas made a crucial stop right on half time, to keep out his namesake, James Thomas.

Chalford were forced into a change at the break, with Luke Benneyworth replaced by George Parker – with Maryon going back to centre half for the second 45.

And Maryon was the one to level the game. After Stevens produced another fabulous save to tip Minnican’s free kick onto the bar and over, Maryon headed home from the following corner.

From there, Chalford pressed for a winner but were also caught out on the counter, in an end-to-end final 25 minutes.

Adam Thomas denied Griffiths from 20 yards, before substitute Dec Keen broke clear and went one-on-one, only for Thomas to deny him.

Moments later after an offside call that incensed Chalford, Freddie Wilson was dismissed for foul and abusive language.

Stevens made a great smothering save to deny Maryon a winner, but then after a handball in the box, Chalford were awarded a 91st minute penalty.

Minnican stepped up to claim a massive win for his side.

But the drama wasn’t done! In the 96th minute, Greg Carter’s incredible free kick into the box was headed home by Keen, only for the offside flag to cut short celebrations.

Chalford celebrated at full time, whilst Bibury remained positive after a very good first season in Division One – with Dan Shannon praising his players efforts after the game.

Chalford: Thomas, Minnican, Outram, Benneyworth, Lock, Davis, Harris, Keylock, Harry, Maryon, Wilson

Subs: Moore, Roberts, Parker, Loftus, Buckland

Bibury: Stevens, Johnson, Knowles, Carter, Davies, Cook, Day, Hopegood, Field, Thomas, Griffiths

Subs: Wainwright, Arnold, Omalley, Keen, Shannon

C Martin Roofing Man of the Match – Jake Stevens (Bibury)

READ MORE: Check out this weekend’s fixtures in and around Gloucestershire right here

READ MORE: Check out this Sunday’s Women’s fixtures in and around Gloucestershire right here

Cover photo taken by and copyright to Brian Rossiter. Check out his Flickr account for all of his pictures by clicking here

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