In the final home game of the season Nailsea entertained old rivals Shirehampton at The Grove on a perfect day for football.
The opening exchanges were even but Shirehampton took the lead on ten minutes when a shot from 40 yards caught United keeper Owen Adamson off of his line with the ball dipping just below the cross bar to give the Bristol side a perfect start. Within two minutes Adamson atoned himself by pushing a goal bound shot around the post to stop Shirehampton doubling their lead.
Nailsea had the next scoring opportunity with James Springett setting up Harry Hope on 20 minutes but his shot was tipped over the bar by the visiting keeper. Nailsea did not have to wait long for the equaliser which came on 23 minutes with Hope doing well to create space on the left before sending a dangerous cross into the goal area where Sam Olsen was waiting to finish the move sending the ball into the back of the Shirehampton net.
On the half an hour mark the visitors were awarded a penalty which although Adamson dived the right way he could not stop the ball squirming into the net to regain the lead for Shirehampton. With five minutes of the first half remaining it took a fine goal line clearance by Scott Fisher who was named as the supporters Player of the Season at the awards ceremony later on in the evening to stop Shirehampton adding to their lead.
With only four minutes left before half time Nailsea scored the equaliser when Harry Hope sent a cross field ball from left to right which was sent back into the centre by Luis Parnham falling to Joe Sharps whose first effort was blocked but followed up to blast the ball past the keeper at the second time of asking.
Shirehampton nearly had the last word with Owen Adamson being forced to make a full length save after the visitors hit the bar with a venomous shot.
Half Time. Nailsea United 2 Shirehampton 2
This was a full on half of football with plenty of goals and near misses with the game having no end of season feel about it.
It was the home side that started the second half the strongest with Hope forcing the keeper to beat the ball away but no oncoming Nailsea forward could take advantage. On 57 minutes a sloppy piece of defensive work gave Shirehampton a chance the take the lead but they spurned the opportunity. Striker Adam Marsden was next to feature when making a good turn to create space to shoot but his effort was turned around the post for a corner. A minute later Shirehampton were presented with another golden chance when a miss hit back pass saw their normally lethal forward Scott Bamford bearing down on goal but on this occasion his control let him down with the running out for a goal kick.
With 15 minutes left on the clock Adam Marsden did well to set up a chance for Harry Hope but the resultant shot was wide of the target. Nailsea then made a double change with Sam Olsen and Luis Parnham giving way to Ben Pinkney and Nathan Hall respectively.
Then on the stroke of full time Shirehampton scored what transpired to be the winning goal when Nailsea were unable to clear their lines with visitors cutting through to place the ball wide of Adamson. The drama was not over as Nailsea had one last chance deep into added time but the headed effort went agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Final Score. Nailsea United 2 Shirehampton 3
So the final home match ended in defeat but the very young Nailsea side could be proud of the way they fought the strong Shirehampton team to the final whistle. If something could be learned from this game and probably from other matches in the season if Nailsea could score when they have the territorial advantage they would have finished higher than their creditable seventh place in the league.
The final match is the return local derby against Nailsea & Tickenham at Fryth Way on Tuesday May 15th with a 7.00pm Kick Off.