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  • Writer's pictureNorth Camp

Knight in white-shorted armour inspires North Camp victory

North Camp make it three wins from three despite falling behind four times. After an expletive-laden half time tirade, Dan Knight swept home the winning penalty with ten minutes left to maintain North Camp's 100% start to the season. In a topsy turvy tie that saw Sandhurst Sports Club go ahead four times, the three points headed back to Queens Road.

In the sweltering Sunday morning heat North Camp started the stronger, finding plenty of room in wide areas. The home team, however, went ahead. A looping ball bounced over the defence and over a despairing Craig Hughes in goal before being Sami Hyypia'd into top corner emphatically by Ben Simpson.

Fortunately, the away side struck back immediately. After good work in the middle, Tom Dallison set Steven Schofield through to slot home his third league goal in as many matches. That manic ebb and flow was to become a theme of this match as North Camp tried to find inroads through their midfield three of Tom Dallison, Alex Barnett and Luke Gurney, and Sandhurst utilised their goalkeeper's 80-yard drop kicks to cause Joe Schoenwerth and Ben Simpson countless problems in central defence.

By the time the second familiar looping goal was scored by the home team's burly striker – this time a straight-legged lob into the net - a shadow was cast over the North Camp dressing room. After three efforts were cleared off the line in as many minutes from attacking corners, Alex Barnett's set piece just before half time evaded everyone as it skipped across the tarmac-like surface and nestled into the far corner.

The relief of equalising quickly dissipated as Dan Knight pulled the team away from delicate ears and towards the nettles and bushes of Aldershot's Polo Fields. Despite the distance from a healthy North Camp contingent, they would still be in earshot of an almighty dressing down after a sub-par first half performance.

With ears still ringing, North Camp faced up to a second half with the sun beaming down and the wind wobbling the ball. That same bouncing ball almost caused the 100% winning record to crumble. Another mix up between defence and goalkeeper left Sandhurst's striker with the simplest of headers that beat the outstretched arms of Bogdan Chitu, a half-time substitute.

Dan Knight replaced Nathan Davis, who had a one-on-one saved by Sandhurst's keeper after the interval, and that set into motion a flurry of goals for both sides. A relaxed and calm attack that began with Bogdan Chitu led to Will Brown threading the ball to Dan Knight. His composed left footed finish made it 3-3, but just a few minutes later North Camp were behind again.

The sun and Groundhog Day-esque goals from the home team, the final one saw another long ball find its way – via a mixture of heads, shins and the boot of Sandhurst's bald-headed beacon – into the North Camp goal. Joe Schoenwerth promptly withdrew himself from the field at his own performance.

As weary legs began to show, Josh King's rugby challenges and Alex Barnett's reintroduction spun the game on its head. The latter's weaving run from the edge and into the penalty area prompted screams of 'shoot' for what felt like an age before he calmly slotted it past the onrushing Sandhurst goalkeeper to equalise once more.

From that point on, North Camp were not going to settle for a point. As the flip-flop game crept into the final ten minutes Dan Knight wriggled his way into the box and was felled by a clumsy challenge. Ripping the ball from Alex Barnett – seeking his hat trick – Dan Knight dusted himself down and fired the spot kick into the top right-hand corner. He managed to show the video to at least two helpless bar staff at The Squirrel after the game.

Imperious performances from Luke Gurney, who ended the half at centre back, and birthday boy Ed Simpkin helped the away team hold onto their first lead of the match until the final whistle. Alex Barnett rightly claims this weeks Webber's MOTM award with an honourable mention of Dan Knight who currently sits joint 1st in the League's player stats on Goals and Assists (not bad from 40 minutes of play...).

It leaves North Camp second on goal difference behind Morley Road Academicals, who join the Camp as the only two unbeaten teams remaining in the league; one that has yet to see any draws.

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