Codicote grind out home league victory despite two second-half dismissals
PUBLISHED: 12:18 19 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:18 19 February 2016
Nine-man Codicote had Joel and Josh Mason to thank for Tuesday night's hard-fought 1-0 win over Buckingham Athletic at Gosling Stadium, with the former notching his fourth goal in two games while at the other end, the latter made a 95th minute penalty save to ensure the victory.
David Iwediuno and Sam Stephenson both saw red in the second period in innocuous circumstances but the home side just held on for a second successive Spartan South Midlands League Division One triumph.
With some talented youthful players, Buckingham started brightly moving the ball quickly and although they their two leading scorers menacingly lurked in the final third, Cod skipper Mark Bryant marshalled the home back four to keep out the visitors.
The hosts were pressing well and finally the breakthrough came on 40 minutes from Joel Mason.
Some first-class build-up play between Ricky Case and Iwediuno finally saw Sam James deliver the ball into Mason’s feet and his quick turn and left-foot drive nestled in the net.
With the game now into the final few seconds of the half, Codicote looked to extend their lead.
A cross-field ball found Stephenson on the left who cut inside only to curl the ball straight into the arms of the waiting Buckingham keeper.
Straight after the break, ex-WGC player Dean Sadler entered the fray for his first start, replacing Sean Mboto, who had already been booked.
Soon after, Stephenson hassled the defender into a poor clearance and Iwediuno’s first-time 25 yard strike just evaded the far post.
Once again the official intervened as Iwediuno stormed down the flank only to be body checked off the ball. With play waved on, Buckingham had a good counter-attack going but play was stopped for Iwediuno’s response to the collision and to be given a straight red card.
But things soon went from bad to worse for the home side with a full 25 minutes to go an innocuous challenge by Stephenson in front of the Buckingham bench saw the official respond to their complaints and show Stephenson a second yellow.
Codicote were now on the back foot but still managed to create the best chance of the half.
Once again Mason had the young defender in a spin and just as the keeper advanced, the experienced striker lifted the ball over the keeper but also unfortunately for Codicote over the bar.
With still enough time for Buckingham to grab an equaliser, the other Mason began to star.
The young keeper made a great save down to his right on 85 minutes and with the ball still in play, he scrambled across to make sure the striker could only push the ball into the side netting.
Deep into added-time, Buckingham found a gap in the Codicote defence but Cruise could only lift the ball over the bar, but to everyone’s surprise the referee pointed to the spot.
Up stepped King but his low drive to Mason’s right was expertly-saved. The rebound fell back to King again only for the second time Mason spreaded himself to palm the strike off for a corner.