March 23, 2023

A goal each i n a frustrating match

By Richard Beale….

For 85 minutes of this match the 100 or so spectators were served up a poor fare, until the final 5 minutes and 6 minutes of injury time, when chances galore were missed and the game could have well finished 4-4!


 Sunday March 5, 2023: AKSA League 1: Esentepe Erdal Barut Stadium.

Weather: Cloudy, very windy, sun later.

I don’t know who will be more pleased with a point, Maraş of course in a relegation “playoff” place, or Esentepe who could well have lost this match.

Esentepe was handicapped with the loss of leading goal scorer Deniz Kıbar, still troubled by his troublesome hamstring. I feel this match would have been tailored made for Deniz, with his speed and skill, he would have been on the goal sheet.

For 85 minutes it was an awful match, scrappy, littered with fouls, a high bounce, and a strong breeze, no side had a player who had the vision and could put his foot on the ball and take charge of the game.

A poor first 30 minutes with neither side creating anything of note until Esentepe took the lead in the 35th minute. The goal came from a free kick 25 yards out, on the right side of the goal and it was the trusty left foot of EMEK KIRILMAZ whose shot rocketed past the Maraş goalkeeper Cenkay and landed firmly in the net. 1-0

And that was really all there was in a poor first half, the ball spending most of the time in the air, with such a poor quality game, no sides creating chances, free kicks would be crucial.


52 minutes another free kick this time to Maraş, 35 yards out, wind assisted taken by Burak, bringing a decent save from the Esentepe goalkeeper Osman, tipping the ball over the bar.

From that corner, the ball hit the left-hand post and was cleared to Hasan who fizzled a 40-yard effort just wide.

Esentepe replied in the 59th when their centre forward Melih hit a 20-yard effort just wide.

The Maraş equaliser came in the 64th minute not surprisingly from another free kick, scored direct from BURAK KARABACAK whose shot went round the wall and beat Osman on his right-hand side. 1-1

As the match entered the final 10 minutes, Esentepe created a couple of half chances that didn’t really trouble the Maraş goalkeeper.

In the 84th minute, substitute İlyas and Emek shared passes down the left, Emek playing the ball across the 6-yard box where it was just missed by Devran.

İlyas then dribbled the ball along the byline before his cross was saved by goalkeeper Cenkay.

A scramble in the goal mouth

Ironically after 85 minutes of drivel, the game had opened up, with both teams searching for the winner. It was end-to-end stuff now, there was a great block in the Maraş area before the visitors broke quickly with Osman pulling off a great save from a shot from the ex Dörtyol player Melih Gök.

In the last minute, Maraş substitute Altay missed a great chance with only the goalkeeper to beat.

As the match entered into 6 minutes of injury time, Melih was through on goal again, this time his shot was deflected for a corner by the legs of Osman, who saved Esentepe once again.

The corner was cleared and Esentepe forced a corner themselves with the last kick of the match. From that corner taken by Salih, Melih, in a bunch of players managed to direct a powerful header goalwards, which produced a fabulous close-range save from Cenkay in the Maraş goal.

The final whistle blew, with a lot of the Maraş players falling to the ground in exhaustion and relief, maybe a point a piece was a fair result for both teams.

ESENTEPE TEAM: Osman (gk) ; Mustafa, Nersin ©, Devran, Emek : Tuğra : Salih, EMRE, Ege Can : Semih (İlyas 64), Melih.

Replacements not used: Ulaş (gk), Mahmut Şen, Mahmut Izoğlu, Okan, Şenol, Şahin, Hüseyin.

MARAŞ TEAM: Cenkay (gk, C), Hasan, Serkan, Anıljan, Ahmet, Mustafa (Altay 64), Burak (Muzaffer 87), Emre, Mehmet Ergün, Oğuz (Barış 80), Onur.

Yellow card – Emek, Melih, Mustafa (Esentepe).

Referee – Mehmet Sezener – not too bad a game, tried to keep the match flowing, in a very difficult match to take charge of.

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