Elda Union 2 – 4 CD Thader
By Steve Hibberd
Thader’s visit to Elda for the last match of the season was one of huge importance for the home side.
Before start of play, both Petrel and Orihuela ‘B’ had been relegated, but the big question was, who would join them?
Elda needed to win, and also hope that either Santa Pola or Pena Raval lost.
Back in early April inside Moi Gomez stadium, Thader recorded a convincing 3-1 victory over Elda, which at the time, significantly eased their own relegation worries. So. following a superb recent run of results, the men from Rojales could now go out and enjoy themselves, safe in the knowledge that they would finish in a respectable mid table position.
With Quino suspended and Dani Lucas, Nano and Ruben all rested by manager Raul Mora, it was an opportunity for a number of the fringe players to go out on a high and impress, in the hope of possible contract renewals and they certainly set off at some pace.
However, it was a ‘must win’ game for the home side but their early efforts did little to impress the small, but enthusiastic, crowd.
Indeed on 12 minutes Thader had the ball in the net, but rather than allow the advantage and award the goal, the referee pulled the ball back for a ‘penalty following an earlier handball by Elda’s Julen.
Nino’s weak effort from the spot got exactly what it deserved, and keeper Marco made a comfortable save to preserve the scoreline at 0-0.
As the visitors began to control the game Nino’s earlier blushes were somewhat spared when Kike drilled a shot into the roof of the Elda net following an assist by overlapping full back Borja on 17 minutes.
Then, Yeray blasted narrowly over for Elda on the half hour mark but when Caldron was brought down in the box following a Thader break moments later, the spot kick was claimed by skipper Lloyd who made no mistake, as he blasted it down the middle to put the visitors two goals up.
At this stage the home side were just beginning to wake up to the realisation that they could soon be playing Regional football, and following encouragement from their dug out they finally began to take the game to Thader.
Adrian made a great save from Elda’s Jairo, the rebound from which was hit onto the crossbar by Nestor and then, from the very next attack, Oscar was unlucky when his shot sailed narrowly over the bar.
At this stage the home side were beginning to pile the pressure onto Thader so as the referee blew the half time whistle and Elda jogged into the changing room for their most important team talk of the season, ‘the great escape’ was still quite possibly on.
Unfortunately, though, even the most optimistic of supporters knew they faced an impossible task when, straight from the restart, Nino ran onto a loose ball to make it 3-0 for Thader, and then on 65 minutes when Borja ran the ball into an empty net to make it 4-0, the game really was up for Elda.
They did still try to compete, however, and in an entertaining flurry, two goals from Jairo during the final minutes at least provided the scoreline for the home team with some semblance of respectability.
An entertaining game and a performance that Thader will hope to build on for next season but for Elda, with their few stars set to depart, the road back to Preferente looks increasingly long.