Sunday 25th November 2007
By Daragh Nott
The Sunday 11 managed to reverse one of their many heavy early season defeats against a good footballing side in Catford Cricket Club. As players have returned from injuries and extended holidays it is no surprise that results have turned in our favour. The unfortunate reality of this league is that if you don’t have a strong squad you will struggle week in week out.
Having a recognised goalie between the posts has been a big factor in our slow revival and with Jumbo being unfortunately injured, Dan Ford has come in and played extremely well with some great saves and is always a commanding presence at the back.
The game started in cagey fashion with their 3 centre midfielders playing some neat passing moves around Matt Pragnell and Jay Hardy in the middle. As they were not moving the ball wide our full backs were largely redundant and just marking space. So a tactical rejig within 10 minutes (smartly called by Andy Cobham and Captain Steve Pester) saw myself (Daragh Nott) and Chris Greenhough pick up their centre forwards with Andy Cobham being the spare man at the back. This allowed Steve Pester to mark their dangerous No 10 and also saw Matt P and Jay start to influence the centre of the park. For the first half an hour we were forced to defend deep and mark our men, with Jason Miller and Sam Evans on the flanks doing an excellent job of tracking back and really protecting the back line. Chris Greenhough was at his tenacious best alongside the ever aware Andy Cobham Catford''s 2 forwards combined both speed and skill making some very intelligent runs and carving out several opportunities requiring some last ditch saves and defending including a superb Andy Cob headed clearance off the line and some timely Steve P interceptions.
With 15 minutes off the 1st half to go, some good forward and midfield interplay worked the ball out to the left where Adam Dawson was fouled.
The free-kick was about 25 yards out midway between the touch line and the 18 yard box on our left. What a goal! Adam again had produced a rabbit from the hat. It was superbly struck into the far post giving the goalie no chance. One of their players accused Adam of "being lucky”, well if that is the case he is "lucky" about 20 times a season. Great goal Adam! The half finished with us 1-0 to the good.
The 2nd half started with one of Catford''s players shooting from the kick-off, Fordy back tracking tipped it onto the bar and we escaped with a corner. An early warning!
Catford started off the brighter and from another corner, one of their midfielders smartly volleyed home a good goal from the edge of the box. Sloppy marking but a finely executed goal! Jason was tiring by this time having worked hard and was replaced by Dan Head on the left. We were beginning to get pegged back and leaving our front 2 Adam and Bobby isolated up front and from a period of sustained pressure one of their forwards finished clinically to put Catford 2-1 up with 20 minutes to go.
All credit to the team however, tackles were still being made and the belief hadn''t disappeared. With 15 minutes to go Bobby Moulson who had again played very well was replaced by Manager Paul Burford and Tant replaced Jay Hardy who had made some great runs and passes from the centre of the park. We pushed Sam Evans next to Matt in the centre who was continuing where he left off last week and Tant had firstname.lastname@example.org the nice job of chasing their tricky substitute.
Our breakthrough came down the left with Dan Head making a typical direct and strong run at their back line to pull the ball back across to the back post where Paul Burford was waiting to smash home the equaliser. Within another 5 minutes we were ahead this time Adam tricked his way past a couple of defenders and hit a great cross which Dan Head dispatched smartly with his head!
The chances didn’t end there and Catford''s keeper scrambled away 2 or 3 goal line clearances in the last 5 minutes as their team seemed to be deflated by conceding 2 quick fire goals. Having said that Dan Ford made a great save to keep the score 3-2 when one of their strikers managed to lose his marker (Me!)...so thank you Dan! A great team performance where we played to our strengths and never gave up.