Saturday 6th September 2008
By Sam Evans
You won’t see many better nil-nils than this. Two teams keen to pass the ball on the floor, a competitive game played in the right spirit and a good referee. The surface was greasy so the ball zipped around and the tackles were flying in. This was a great game to play in and probably not bad to watch as well, provided you got a spot under the shelter as it rained all day today. Our team was:
Evans (CM) (Captain)
We definitely had the best of the opening exchanges. We nearly scored when Barry Cleaver crossed the ball from the right wing but my header failed to trouble the keeper. The keeper then made another good save from a corner; the ball fell to me on the edge of the box and despite being wrong-footed he managed to push it away with his foot.
Defensively we kept things very tight. Despite having never played together before Ricky Simmons and Giorgio Fullone formed a solid partnership at centre back. Beckenham were a decent team, able to vary their style. They had a big target mad who held long balls up well, but they also tried to play little one-twos in and around the box. We generally coped with whatever they threw at us. Going forward we played well too, Stuart Lenton had another impressive game in centre midfield, using his excellent first touch to link the play up impressively. Another new partnership, Barry Cleaver and Spencer Havers worked well together upfront, and were unlucky to be given regularly offside by some questionable decisions from the linesman.
At half time Danny made some changes. Bobby Moulson replaced Barry Cleaver upfront. Spencer dropped back in to right midfield, Taps dropped back in to right back, and Mo came off allowing Russell Nethercot to come on up front. Ricky Stevens straight swapped for Chris Charlton down the left and Ricky Simmons switched to left back with Peter coming off thus allowing Adam Benningfield to partner Giorgio at centre back. Lots of changes and lots of switching around allowing the gaffer in his last friendly to try new positions and new partnerships before the start of the seasons league campaign next Saturday.
We came close to winning the game in the second half. Adam Benningfield struck a great free kick which just rose over the bar. Later on Peter Morton connected powerfully from 30 yards out and their keeper made a blinding save. At the other end Beckenham played some neat football and carved us open but Mark Edwards came off his line nice and early to put their midfielder off and his shot went wide. Russell Nethercot played very well upfront and used his pace to cause problems for the Beckenham defenders, and Spencer Havers had a good second half at right mid. Although we probably deserved it more, I think a draw was a fair result.
So this game has given Danny a few selection headaches for next week, but of course that is how it should be. We have worked really hard pre-season and the commitment and team spirit has been excellent. This has lead to some excellent results against strong opposition, and this should fill us with confidence. However all of this will count for nothing if don’t go out on Saturday with the same determination we have shown so far. We need to start as we did in the friendly against the first team, everyone massively up for it, win the physical battle, then let the quality we know we have take care of the rest.
Man of the match today was Giorgio Fullone. Giorgio is incredibly only 16 but is taking the step up to open age football in his stride. Comfortable on the ball, quick and strong, Giorgio has impressed everybody pre-season. We are at home next week which is the best way to start the season. DJ Havers has promised some appropriate tunes for the dressing room and hopefully it won’t rain as much as today. Spencer may also be wearing his lucky pink pants again. We shall see. Bring it on.
Man of the match: Giorgio Fullone