Saturday 3rd September 2005
By Shaun Keddle
A very good start to the season considering we had a few injuries and a change in formation.
With a brand new kit and a new formation we started this game brightly and meant business from the off and repeatedly carved out opportunities with both Dave and Liam going close early on. Further chances were created and went begging before Matt Wilson headed neatly home by getting in front of his man at the near post and heading into the corner after a good cross from Dave Harrigan. We were playing the ball around well and everyone was doing their defensive duties like they meant it. We looked assured and controlled at the back, comfortable in the middle and had plenty of attacking options when going forward. More chances went begging before going into the break 1-0 up. We all felt it should have been more but we were pleased that at this stage it was one way traffic and we were in complete control. Eltham were not at the races in the first half and did not pose a threat up front.
The second half did not go as well for the first 25 minutes and we were very fortunate not to concede as Eltham upped their performance in search of an equaliser and squandered some easy chances. However, we did look lively on the break and from one of these breaks Liam was sent clear on goal to finish at the keeper''s near post and take the pressure off slightly. I did think that would have killed Eltham off as it was very hot and tough going out on the pitch, but Eltham continued to pressurise and were rewarded for their efforts after we gave the ball away in the middle and they netted following a goal line scramble. From this we could have crumbled, but we showed a lot of character by digging in, hard work and plenty of movement.
The effects of Liam''s first half knock were showing and he was subbed which pushed Matt up front. Further breaks were carved out before persistence from Matt Wilson was rewarded by bagging his second of the match. This seemed to settle the nerves and we played out the last 10 minutes with relative ease and composure.
This was an excellent result to get our season off to a good start. What we must try to do is maintain the momentum in both halves and learn to kill off sides more quickly. A second or third goal before half time would have been a fair reflection of our dominance and would have killed Eltham off. With only one goal to show for our dominance the other team is always in with a chance. It was good to see so many good flowing moves with multiple players involved. We defended high up the pitch and all took responsibility for our defensive duties.
Liam worked the centre backs tirelessly with Jamie and Sam preventing the full backs getting forward. Dave and Matt took it in turns breaking forward which really stretched and confused their midfield which left Danny to provide security for the back four. Michael and Steve easily controlled the back line with a solid looking Richard Davis dishing out some hefty challenges with both himself and Aaron using the ball to good affect. Jumbo had a good debut in goal with some good saves and safe hands. Neil came on for the last 10 minutes to provide some nice touches and my apologies to Daragh for not getting a game. We need to build on this good start and take 3 points from next week''s game. We all badly want to get promoted this year and form in the away games will be a key driver behind this success. Same again next week boys.