TABLE-topping Marlow edged past local rivals Flackwell Heath in the Hellenic Premier Division this weekend, the fourth time the two sides have met this season.
Bragging rights were up for grabs and it was the Blues who came out on top as Ian Davies grabbed two goals to claim his eighth in the league so far, writes Sam Goold Knibbs.
Marlow manager Mark Bartley will be happy with his side after they came from behind twice to overturn the opposition and run out eventual winners, whilst his opposite number will be fuming that his side couldn't hold out until the final whistle.
Both sides have a host of injuries to contend with at this stage of the season as well as suspensions. Fresh faces featured in the Blues line-up, however, it was old veteran Davies who came up with the goods that secured his side’s 12th win of the campaign.
The two rivals have met three times so far with the Heathens coming out on top twice, but the Blues got their own back in the cup last week and looked to extend that in to the league.
However, Flackwell looked to extend the win rate to three over their rivals as they started with more intent. The hosts was let off early after a scramble in their box was just tipped over by the Heathen's Striker Riccardo Cannon in front of goal.
The visitors continued to press early and were almost rewarded for their efforts as Lee Thompson’s lob swooped over a helpless Oneal Garnes, in the Marlow goal, and kissed the crossbar.
But on the third time of asking, Flackwell received. A dubious offside decision was ruled ok by the official who allowed Thompson to charge down the wing and cut back for an unmarked Joe Chandiram to fire in the first of the game.
The home side retaliated early when Ryan Crockford swung in a free-kick for Gary Smith, who was lurking at the back post, to head it in.
Davies will want to forget his first opportunity of the game. When he got in behind the back-four to shuffle past Flackwell’s keeper, Alex Tokarcyzk, he blasted it over an empty net in the last of the first-half’s clear cut chances.
In the second-half it was Marlow that started the brighter. Jamie Piercy was lively on the wing and had a number of chances turned away by Tokarcyzk.
But, as Flackwell soaked up the pressure, they hit back on the counter. On the 62nd minute, Cannon pounced on a lack of communication between Smith and Garnes and grabbed the ball to shuffle past the keeper and rocket it into an open net to make it 2-1.
A midfield battle ensued and it wasn't until late in the second half that another twist in the game would occur. Substitute Ray Spence double stepped his way past defending Dan Lake to swing in a cross for Davies to volley the ball past the keeper.
The goal brought Marlow alive. As they pressed on for the winner, Flackwell dug deep but a keeping error would prove their downfall. A wayward clearance was picked up by Davies who charged into the box and crashed in his second of the game.
Two games apiece between the rivals. Marlow now 6 points clear at the top with room to breathe whilst Flackwell register their fourth defeat away from Wilks Park this season.