March 27, 2023

By Richard Beale…..

Esentepe wonderful journey this season has finally finished, once again in the “big” matches, they have ended up as the bridesmaid. The scoreline suggests an easy win for Değirmenlik but it was only secured in the last 5 minutes when they scored 2 late goals.


Wednesday, May 18, 2022: AKSA League 1 2nd Play Off Match. Girne 20 Temmuz Mete Adanır Stadium.

First of all congratulations to Değirmenlik who secured promotion to the Super League with this win. They are an ambitious club that fortunately has the backing of wealthy sponsors Cashmore Miracle, to enable the club to make some very good transfers. Being a little cynical in the Super League next season they will need “Cashmore” and a Miracle to survive but I wish them well.

Unfortunately, Esentepe could not spoil Değirmenlik’s promotion party, try as they did with plenty of effort this game was a “bridge too far” for this young team.

Değirmenlik had set their stall out before the match started, decking out the 20 Temmuz Stadium with green and white balloons, we had a kind of “Mexican” band, dancing girls, a mascot, ticker tape, air horns, klaxons all adding to a great party atmosphere. Esentepe supporters who came in great numbers, couldn’t afford all that but we had our normal drum !.

On a very warm evening, Esentepe should have taken an early lead in the 13th minute, when Değirmenlik’s defence went missing and they had to thank their goalkeeper Onurhan who made two good blocking saves from close range shots from Semih and Salih before Eser’s final effort was wide from a good position.

Esentepe suffered a huge blow in the 13th minute when their teenage scoring star Bıldırcın – Hüseyin Deynekli- who came into this match with an injury was unable to continue and was replaced by another teenager 17 year old İsmet Güneş.

Değirmenlik took the lead in the 32nd minute with a goal that from Esentepe point of view was disappointing to give away. Mehmet Fatih on the right got the better of Devran, got to the byline before sending a cross to the near post where it was met by their leading goalscorer ILYAS YILMAZ head to beat Onur at his left hand post, the goalkeeper appeared to be flat footed and may have done better. 1-0.

Veteran Esentepe defender Okan Kibar was leading by example, giving inspiration to the youngsters around, throwing himself into the affray, and winning every challenge.

Esentepe supporters gave their team a rousing reception when they came into the break. HALF TIME SCORE: 1-0

Esentepe made 2 changes during the break, though still carrying an injury midfield schemer İlyas Niyazi replaced Hüseyin Ermış and defensive midfielder Mahmut replaced central defender Şenol to give their team more attacking options.

In the space of 5 minutes each team should have scored, firstly in the 60th minute, Esentepe’s young defenders Devran and Mustafa got themselves into a tangle leaving İlyas in on the right and his cross was headed wide by Murat.

The ball immediately was transferred down the other end where Semih chasing a bouncing ball, outstripped the defence, but hit a first time volley over the bar, he is inexperienced, but maybe he had time to control the ball and finish with a better shot.

The game was wide open now 63 minutes İlyas Yilmaz was put clean through but shot straight at Onur. Esentepe were pressing, pushing men forward without looking like scoring and leaving themselves vulnerable at the back.

İlyas continued to look dangerous shooting wide on a couple of occasions, with time running out for Esentepe they were being caught wide open at the back.

85 minutes Emre lost possession of the ball to Turgut and was through on goal, before a thunderous sliding tackle from Okan stopped him in his tracks, not before he tumbled to the floor and referee Fehim pointed to the spot. Maybe justice was done as Turgut’s penalty was saved by the diving Onur diving to his right pushing the ball away.

In the 89th minute TURGUT KAÇAR made amends, making the game safe for Değirmenlik with a spectacular volley at the far post. 2-0.

Esentepe even though the task seem hopeless was still chasing and fighting for every ball but in the 92nd minute İLYAS YILMAZ got his second goal heading in an Emre İmam cross from the right. 3-0.

As the final whistle went hordes of Değirmenlik fans were over the walls to mob their hero’s promotion gained let the party begin. FULL TIME SCORE: 3-0.

SUMMING UP: This was not a defeat for Esentepe, this was a lesson learnt, the majority of this young team would not have experienced a feeling like this before, it must have hurt, and there is a disappointment but they are young enough to remember this and next time they will be better equipped in dealing with it. If this team sticks together, we won’t need playoffs to go up we will automatically go up.

We did miss Bıldırcın, his speed, he can turn a poor ball into a good one and his runs onto goal was cruelly missed – but with big Super League teams “sniffing” around we may have to get used to playing without him soon.

All the team tried their damdest with Okan Kibar an inspiration. My Man of the Match goes to 17 year old SALIH KARAL – who had his best game in Esentepe colours, and must have covered every blade of grass showing good ball control and vision – one to watch in the future.

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