Saturday 1st November 2008
By Sam Evans
This was a real challenge and it shows how far we have come as a team that many of us felt disappointed not to have taken all three points. With hindsight though we probably didn’t create enough clear cut chances to merit a victory and really a 2-2 draw away to the team in second place is hardly a disaster. Our team was:
Evans (RM) (Captain)
It was clear from the kick off that Seven Acre were the best team we have played so far this season. Their movement was excellent and their wide midfielders were a real attacking threat. Mark made a good save with his feet early on to keep the score at 0-0. Going forward we also started brightly and passed the ball around well. We worked well down the right and Taps made some great overlapping runs. Neth also made some good runs into the channel behind their left back and we posed them as many problems as they posed us.
We went 1-0 up after 25 minutes. After some good passing in midfield the ball got played square to Johnny who had a good first touch and struck a shot from about 25 yards out. Johnny has described this as a “screamer” which “flew into the roof of the net”. Other members of the team reported that the ball “flew into orbit” before being caught by a gust of wind. There is no doubt it was a great goal and we were all jubilant. Unfortunately Seven Acre equalised soon afterwards. Chris did well to close down a shot from outside the box and was unlucky that the ball ricocheted off him and looped high into the air. Their tall striker won the header and made it 1-1.
Soon after that the same player got himself sent off. After a tough challenge with Stu in centre midfield he grabbed Stu by the throat and the ref sent him off. Seven Acre were livid and you can understand why given that the vast majority of referees at our level don’t enforce the laws properly in relation to incidents like this. However, by the letter of the law it is a sending off and it is a risky business to raise your arms. The other noteworthy incident in the first half was a wonderful piece of skill from Taps. As the ball was heading out for a throw to Seven Acre on the half way line Taps sprinted to keep it in play. Under pressure from their left midfielder he performed a kind of rotating Cruyff turn and pivoted past his opponent. A great piece of skill right in front of our bench.
At half time we felt confident that we could push on and take the victory. Danny made a tactical change at half time and changed it from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3. In the second half we started brightly and enjoyed the kind of space you would expect against ten men. However, we didn’t manage to convert this into any decent chances and as the half wore on we started to lose our way. Ricky got injured and was replaced by Lee at centre back who came on and again performed well. After 60 minutes we went 2-1 down when a shot from just inside the box went in the corner of the net.
At this point we changed to 3-4-3 as Pete replaced Taps and went into midfield. Not long after this we won a free kick 25 yards out when Stu was fouled. Stu picked himself up and curled a great free kick into the top left hand corner of the goal. This makes Stu our top scorer, although it should be noted that one of these ‘goals’ was that dubious strike away to Elite. This was originally recorded as ‘OG’ but has now mysteriously been changed to ‘Lenton’. Definite potential for a steward’s enquiry if the leading goal scorer competition is close at the end of the season.
At 2-2 we all fancied that we could push on and nick all three points. Spencer replaced Dan upfront but unfortunately we didn’t create any real opportunities. At the other end Mark made another good save to keep the scores level.
All in all a draw was probably a fair result. Seven Acre will definitely be there or thereabouts at the end of the season and they have noticeable strengthened since last season. In terms of our performance I thought we showed great commitment and competed well in our individual battles. Looking at the league table, 3 points separate 8 teams we are right in the middle of that bunch. We need to string some results together now to lift ourselves up to the top alongside Seven Acre, Bridon Ropes and New Park. Next week is the cup against Eysnford who I know nothing about. Having already been knocked out of one cup competition we should be looking to win and progress into the second round.
Man of the match: Stuart Lenton