Saturday 4th October 2008
By Sam Evans
Our first win of the season was fully deserved. Despite having the lion’s share of the possession, NASFAT never created a clear cut opportunity. We limited them to speculative efforts from 20-25 yards which Mark dealt with easily. At the other end of the pitch we created 2 clear cut chances and 4 or 5 half chances. Our team was:
Tapsfield (RB) (Sub Benningfield 55)
Havers (RM) (sub Tanton 75)
Lenton (CM) (sub Pragnell 65)
Evans (CF) (Captain)
In the first half NASFAT dominated possession and moved the ball about nicely in midfield. However they failed to create anything for 2 reasons. Firstly they had no cutting edge up front. Secondly our defending was excellent. Ricky and Giorgio once again played really well at centre back, and Pete and Taps had good games at full back. The full backs had to be particularly on their toes as NASFAT’s main tactic was to play long diagonal balls into the channel which we dealt with effectively. After 15 minutes Danny switched Chris into centre mid and put Johnny out on the left which seemed to work well.
Our attacking opportunities were limited in the first half but when we did attack it was clear that we had much more class than them. Chris nearly scored after twenty minutes following a good move down the left. Then Dan went close after 35 minutes after good passing down the right. So at half time we felt that we could definitely score as we had seen that we could open them up. They were very fit though and had definitely had more possession in the first half so the game was very much in the balance.
We scored 10 minutes into the second half. More good passing sent Spencer away on the right wing, and Spencer had the ball on the right hand corner of the box as their full back came across. Spencer shielded the ball well and then sent a dipping shot into the far corner of the goal. It was a great finish from a tricky position and was exactly what we deserved. We nearly made it two a few minutes later when Johnny had a good chance, and I also wasted 2 opportunities at the near post following good moves down the right.
As the game wore on we all dug deep to make sure we hung onto the points as we deserved. I thought our work rate was best typified by Dan who relentlessly chased their defenders down as they tried to pass the ball out from defence. Adam replaced Taps at full back and had a solid performance defensively and also distributed the ball well. Matt replaced Stu in centre mid and broke the play up well. Tant replaced Spencer and came on up front so I dropped back into right mid. Tant linked the play up well and as NASFAT pushed forward we could easily have scored a second. In the end we didn’t need to as we hung on to our 1-0 lead.
So in summary I think there were 3 key points from today. Firstly concentration – we all focussed on our individual jobs and everyone won their personal battle. Secondly goal scoring – once again we created lots of chances which is a massive improvement from last season. Thirdly defending – NASFAT created no clear cut chances because we were well organized defensively. I fully expect us to finish the season with one of the best defensive records in the league.
Today’s comedy award could have been won by any of our players, including myself, who missed good chances. Or it could have been won by their number 8 who embarrassed himself during the first half with a ridiculous dive and squeal following a challenge with Chris. Even his own team mates looked embarrassed. However I think it should go to Tant for a real ‘up and under’ half volley 5 minutes from the end. It was a beautiful connection and if they ever make another Peter Kay ‘have it’ advert Tant has definitely staked his claim to star in the advert I think. To be fair I had one like that a few weeks ago and I know you were watching so maybe that is where it came from.
Next week is the cup. Greenway Reserves have only played one game so far in their league so it is hard to know how good they will be. What we do know is how good we are. We have started the season really well and we should be looking to attack them from the first minute and score some goals. We are on the big first team pitch which will allow us to play the same quality of football which we did in the first half against Knights Old Boys. So let’s continue our good form from this week, enjoy ourselves, and score lots of goals.
Man of the Match :- Ricky Simmons