Saturday 20th September 2008
By Sam Evans
A point away from home isn’t a disaster. And when you consider what a difficult team we were up against, we can be fairly happy with this. We probably should have won, but the main thing is we created lots more chances than we did last week. Defensively we were sound as ever and they didn’t deserve to score two goals against us. Also we should be proud of ourselves that we didn’t get on the referee’s back as much as they did. Regardless of his performance he is a human being and I was pleased to see that we recognized that. Our team was:
Evans (CM) (Captain)
Mark Edwards cemented the reputation of the northerners in the team as bad timekeepers by turning up 5 minutes before kick off. This wouldn’t have been so bad except Mark had the kit! I can however sympathize with Mark, I think us northerners are more relaxed and easy going basically. I’ve got the kit this week so you should all cross your fingers that I turn up on time next Saturday. Anyway it didn’t really cause a problem as the ref turned up 15 minutes late anyway.
We had the best of the opening exchanges before going 1-0 down when I scored an own goal. They had a corner on the left and they whipped it in towards the near post. In my attempt to head the ball behind I powered it into the top corner of the goal. Aerial prowess has never been a strong point of mine and hopefully I can use this new skill at the right end next time. This was a very annoying goal to concede and things got even worse a few minutes later when Stuart Lenton went off injured. Fortunately Johnny replaced him and had a wonderful game in central midfield. Johnny showed a real composure on the ball and linked up play very well.
We dominated the first half from this point and deserved to equalise through Russell Nethercott. Russell picked the ball up 25 yards out and created spaced for himself before shooting hard and low into the bottom left hand corner. We made it 2-1 a few minutes later when Dan Head leapt well against their centre half and sent a looping header into the corner of the goal.
So at half time we felt very positive. In the second half we defended well, Giorgio Fullone and Ricky Simmons kept things very tight at centre back. Adam Benningfield had a good game at left back before he was replaced by Peter Morton who came on and also played well. At right back Richard Tapsfield competed very well and was very vocal. Taps correctly pointed out that Thames often seemed to have a lot of players attacking us and I never quite worked out how they managed it. I think maybe one or two of their midfielders were a bit lazy in not getting back, but this meant that when they hit us on the break they could outnumber us. Anyway, Taps’ organization definitely helped us keep the score at 2-1. Borough’s other main weapon was that ginger kid who was playing upfront but kept dropping into the whole to link the play up. We never really developed a plan to cope with that, instead we relied on our centre backs to deal with whatever he produced which to be fair they did.
Going forward we still looked strong and Spencer Havers in right midfield and Chris Charlton in left midfield both had good games. Borough definitely came back into it though and they ended up scoring when they hit us on the break. One of our attacks petered out with an offside decision and they took the free kick quickly. They played it to the right wing where I scampered over but let the guy beat me too easily. He crossed to the far post and we hadn’t organized ourselves and the striker scored. This was a real kick in the teeth as it would have been great to hold on.
With 20 minutes left I thought a draw was the most likely outcome until their keeper comically got himself sent off – I’ve never seen anyone get so angry because they don’t know how long was left in the game. Against 10 men we really started to dominate. Russell was unlucky to score from a free kick where the replacement keeper made a great save, then Russell almost scored again from the corner. We carved them open again down the right wing and squared it to Russell who was under pressure and definitely made the right decision in trying to chip the keeper, but didn’t quite pull it off. That happens though and the main thing is we are creating loads of chances.
So it finished 2-2 and probably given the last 20 minutes we felt we should have won. Loads of positives though so we shouldn’t feel too disappointed. Man of the match was deservedly won by Johnny who made an excellent debut in centre midfield. At our level availability is always a concern so it is great that we have squad of talented players. It also gives Danny some real selection headaches when everyone is available but that is how it should be.
The main comedy moments from today were: my own goal, their keeper, but best of all I think was when Spencer tripped over the ball on the right wing. I had a great view of this – I though Spence was going to beat the guy as he shimmied one way, then the other, but at the crucial moment he trod on the ball and fell over right in front of their fans. Devastating. Perhaps it’s because you weren’t wearing your lucky pants?
Next week we are at home to Knights Old Boys. They lost their first game although I don’t know how they got on today. Anyway we should definitely look to be beating them. We need to do what we did today and get loads of men forward attacking and create loads of chances. We know that Dan and Russell will score goals if we do that. Then if we don’t make mistakes and concede soft/lucky goals (which every goal we have conceded so far has been) we will win the game. We have players coming back next week which will make us stronger so let’s turn up bright and early at the club and do the business.