Saturday 11th April 2009
By Sam Evans
This is the fourth game we have won this season with a goal in the last ten minutes. We are probably as fit as we were last season, and fitter than most teams in the league. That obviously helps, but what has changed is that we now have a belief in our ability to score goals, and a belief that we deserve to be winning games like this. Last season we were the ones conceding late winners and it is no surprise that it feels much better to be delivering cruel blows as opposed to receiving them. Our team was:
Evans (CM) (Captain)
Despite the mid-week rain the pitch was rock hard and many of us wished we had brought trainers. Beaverwood had made a few changes from the previous week and had improved in a couple of areas. Their captain was much more mobile as a central midfielder and their tall striker who came on as sub last week started and was always a handful. From our point of view we tried to get the ball down and play wherever we could but struggled early on as many of our through balls either ran through to their keeper on the short pitch, or found our strikers caught offside by the high line which Beaverwood played.
However we did break through after about 20 minutes. Spence played a good ball to Dan on the edge of the box and Dan had a good first touch before drilling a low shot into the corner of the goal. Our second came soon afterwards. The ball was pinging around in midfield with neither team getting their foot onto it. As it ricocheted to me Beaverwood pushed up in a kamikaze fashion and I was able to flick it through to Daragh. Daragh had a good first touch to get the ball out of his feet and used the outside of his right foot to lift the ball confidently over the keeper who was in no man’s land. It was a great finish from Daragh and it also proves the point which football pundits always make: if your back four are going to push up then you must apply to pressure to the ball.
Unfortunately they scored almost immediately afterwards following a defensive mix up. Perhaps if it had been 2-0 at half time then we might have been more confident in the second half. As it was we seemed to lose our way somewhat and conceded the equaliser with 20 minutes to go. Their tall striker headed the ball down to himself on the right hand side of the penalty area before sending a half volley into the far corner of the net. This strongly resembled Torres’ strike against Blackburn earlier in the day, albeit that his movement wasn’t quite as fast and I would hazard a guess that the guy isn’t Spanish. It was nonetheless a great strike and put our promotion ambitions in jeopardy.
We reacted strongly and began creating good chances. As Beaverwood tired I was played in down the left; I should have done better when clean through. Minutes later Dan was away down the left and squared the ball to Spence who went for the far corner but didn’t quite get enough on the ball. You fancied that we would get one more chance and it came at the end of a great passing move. If memory serves me correctly it was Russ to Daragh, Daragh to Taps then a great ball from Taps to Tant on the right wing. Tant had a good touch and sensibly crossed the ball early before I was marked. He put it right on my head and the keeper was unable to save from close range.
In terms of quality and chances we deserve to have taken 6 points from Beaverwood although I’m sure they will feel hard done by having worked hard and run us close. There were lots of good performances today. Taps stood in at centre back and did a great job alongside Pragnell. They had their work cut out for them with the tall guy but they played him well and Beaverwood hardly created any clear cut chances. Lee played well at right back as did Gibbo at left back, before being replaced by Dave Martin after 20 minutes. Daragh made a welcome return in centre mid and battled well as usual, as well as playing some good passes and getting forward well, particularly in the first 30 minutes. However man of the match with almost a clean sweep was won by Dan Head. Dan worked relentlessly down the left wing and showed how fit and strong he is, as well as scoring a good goal to put him on nine for the season – a great return for a left midfielder.
Those of you who like myself need to get a life will have logged onto Mitoo on Sunday morning to see that Bridon were beaten 4-0 by Elite and that New Park were held 1-1 by Thames Borough. Looking at the fixture list it is noticeable that all of our competitors are playing each other over the next fortnight. This means that if we can win our next two games then we can go into our (probably tougher) final two games of the season in a very strong position.
Man of the match: Dan Head