SHIRLEY Athletic bounced back with an impressive away win over Cresconians last Saturday.
Although fielding a weakened side, it was Shirley who grabbed the initiative. Surging forward, they were rewarded with a pair of penalties. Matt Whitehouse converted the first, but hit the post with the other.
It was quickly forgotten though, as newcomer Adrian Chapko added a second. He finished a surging run through the Cresconians defence with a cool lob over the onrushing keeper.
The second half was much the same. Tom Craine proved himself to be a constant thorn in Cresconians’ side, bagging a brace. The home side then pulled back a couple making for a slightly nervy finish, but Shirley held out to take all three points.
Craine got the man-of-the-match nod, just ahead of goalkeeper Aaron Burkett, who pulled off a string of fine saves at pivotal moments.
The win was just what the team needed after opening the new campaign with a home defeat.
Following a poor pre-season, Shirley struggled against a Boldmere side that finished third in the league last year. Although they started brightly, Athletic were overrun in midfield, eventually going down 4-0.
Shirley will now look to carry through the momentum of Saturday’s win to their next match, at home to Old Wulfrunians on September 8, kick off at 2:30pm.