Saturday 15th November 2008
Bill Manklow Inter Regional Challenge Cup
By Shaun Keddle
Poor Officiating Results in Cup Exit
On an excellent playing surface (Rusthall were very complimentary about our pitch, well done to Ed our groundsman) the Guild exited the Inter Regional Cup in disputed fashion as a ‘goal’ in the last couple of minutes sealed our fate.
The game started very slowly for the Guild with Rusthall settling down very quickly and getting into their stride. The opening exchanges were dominated by Rusthall who had a couple of half chances on goal. Schoolboy marking at set pieces gave Rusthall further opportunities to break the deadlock, but the chances were never clear cut and the Rustics failed to convert. Set pieces were always a danger as half of the Rusthall side must have been signed directly from the Harlem Globetrotters.
The Guild had its first half chance on goal when an instinctive shot from Cooke was easily gathered by the keeper after 15 mins.
After half an hour Rusthall scored when a ball in from the right was far too easily dispatched into our box with Millins cutting across our defence and finishing into the net. A good goal from Rusthall’s point of view but poor defending from the Guild’s side of things
Just before the break, Graham and Williams swapped over to try to make things happen as we had not seen a great deal of the ball.
The half ended with Rusthall a goal up and having more of the ball, although the Guild battled well.
The second half started and the Guild had their best spell; which resulted in a really good goal. Good build up play by Williams J on the left enabled him the space to deliver a high ball into the box which found his elder sibling. His downward header in to the path of Cooke J tempted the keeper and Cooke J sneaked the finish past him. A well manufactured equaliser.
It was now ‘game on’ and the match livened up with both sides looking for a winner. With twenty minutes gone the Guild were denied a clear cut penalty after Williams L used his speed in the box only for his boots to be tapped away underneath him by a Rusthall centre half. Amazingly enough, the referee waved play on. Down the other end an opportunity for a Rusthall forward to take the victory was presented to him but the fierce strike was matched by the hand of St John in the Guild goal who pulled off an excellent stop. The save was richly applauded on the sidelines by both sets of supporters.
With just a few minutes to go, more confusion in the Rusthall box presented an opportunity to Selmes to finish the match, but his goalbound effort was put tamely into the grateful keeper's arms. Straight from the kick, the Rustics launched a counter attack which saw us lack numbers in defence. Howard went around our goalkeeper and towards goal only to be intercepted by Judge with an excellent intervention. Judge was then tackled from behind with the ball going forward to Burren who finished into an empty net. Surely offside? Not given. Surely a foul? Not given. Surely both? Neither given. The Guild were left extremely disappointed.
After that heartbreaking decision the Guild tried to push forward, but in injury time the ball was once again conceded far too easily and Howard finished with ease from 10 yards. 3-1 it finished which flattered Rusthall and left the Guild somewhat deflated.
The match was played in excellent spirit and there was not one bad foul out on the park. I don’t think it was the best game in the world, but both teams put in a lot of effort and Rusthall will leave the Village knowing that they had a tough game.
I fully understand and abide to the ‘respect the referee campaign’ but its very hard to explain to a changing room full of brutally disappointed players the strange decisions that officials make, especially when some decisions are blatantly obvious and they are the only ones getting paid!
Saturday gave us an opportunity to show the Premier Division what we are all about. To a certain extent we showed them some of the stuff that we can do, but we could have showed them much, much more. We battled and competed well but we were simply not at the races in the first half and gave the visitors time to settle and get into their stride. In the first half we did not organise or take responsibility on set pieces and corners and could have easily been punished. We also never got the ball out wide enough and still do not talk enough!!
The positives are is that we know we can cope with football like that week-in week-out, its getting there that is the problem! So, we have to knuckle down and go on a winning run to launch us upwards in the table. We also scored a very good goal and proved the fruitfulness if the front two work together closely. We also battled very well and competed well for the ball. Our fitness levels were good and got more into the game as it went on.
Man of the match voting was quite evenly split between St John, Judge, Davis and Perkins. St John had an excellent match in goal and was excellent on crosses and relieved the pressure on a number of occasions. In the second half he kept us in the fixture with one of the saves of the season. However, it was Judge who nicked it by one vote for a commanding captain’s performance and at times was the only voice on the pitch. Well done Judge
On a more serious note:
Looking longer term, we still need to address the age-old availability issue that so often rips the carpet out from under our own feet. We are our own worse enemy. Injuries aside, we are still taking too much time off for social activities which will have a diverse affect on results. I want more commitment. I rant about this season after season but nobody appears to listen. If people do listen, they certainly do not react. This week the whole club is short. Week on week we have FOUR players missing with only one of those injured. The seconds, thirds and fourths are in similar selection situations and it’s a joke, although you don’t see me laughing. We need to deal with this quickly or our season could be finished before Xmas.