Saturday 6th December 2008
By Sam Evans
This was a convincing victory. We didn’t play that well in the first half but went in 2-1 up. Then in the second half we were well on top and should probably have scored a couple more goals. Our team was:
Evans (RM) (Captain)
With Giorgio injured with a ‘self-diagnosed’ toe problem Pragnell came in at centre back. 10 minutes into the game Russ went up for a header with their centre back and bust his head open – blood was flowing freely and it was pretty gruesome. Fortunately Russ returned to the club after the game having been to hospital and seems to be ok. Tant came on as his replacement.
We went 1-0 down after 20 minutes when we conceded a goal from a corner. Pretty basic really, the cross came over and their guy headed it unchallenged into the net. It was good to see that we didn’t panic and continued to try to play football. We didn’t make a very good job of it though – I thought our passing and communication in the first half was pretty poor (myself included). However, if you have good players who are capable of creating and taking chances then you can score goals and that is what we have. Our first goal came after Tant played me in down the right and I crossed towards Dan. It went over his head and was met by Chopper Charlton steaming in from the left. Chopper hit the ball first time on the half volley with his left foot and it flew into the bottom corner of the net. Our second followed a few moments later. Aaron passed to me on their right and their left back committed himself too early which allowed me to step round him. Then I had time to look up and see a great run from Spence across his man. I played the ball square to him and he hit it (also first time I think?) into the bottom corner of the net. Mark also made a really good save in the first half to keep the score at 2-1.
So at half time we knew we hadn’t played well but we also knew that we were a better team than Crayford and should look to dominate the second half. However as Danny pointed out we have had a habit of conceding goals at the start of the second half and then losing our way so we had to be on our game. We started better than we normally do and went 3-1 up fairly quickly. The ball got played to Dan Head on the left of the area and he tried to play it back across I think towards Tant. Dan was clattered by a challenge so late that a lot of their players didn’t even see it so they thought it wasn’t a foul but it definitely was, and it was definitely in the box. After much arguing, Chopper retained his composure and slotted the penalty home (although not in your normal spot in the corner).
At 3-1 you fancied us to run away with it and we did create another couple of chances, for example Spence was unlucky to see his lob go over the bar. However, despite the fact that Crayford look knackered we allowed them to pressure us more than we should have and we seemed to lose our shape a bit in midfield. We had to rely on a goal line clearance from Pete at one point to keep the score at 3-1. With 20 minutes to go Taps replaced Aaron then with 15 minutes to go Gibbo replaced Tant. If Crayford had scored at this stage it would have set up a grandstand finish but they didn’t, in fact we probably came closer as when we hit them on the break we completely opened them up and should have definitely made it 4-1.
Not to worry though – this was a good victory and has put us joint second in the league. (We are level on points with Thames Borough and have a game in hand on them). Chopper deservedly won man of the match after a dominating performance in midfield. Despite losing Stu we have continued winning games and Chopper is a big part of the reason for this. Next week is the quarter finals of the cup against Otford. This will be a tough game but we should be confident – we are unbeaten in 7 and have won our last 4 games in a row.
Man of the match: Chris Charlton