Saturday 3rd December 2005
By Shaun Keddle
How we didn’t win this fixture is a crime against footballing humanity. If football was a boxing match we would have won this easily, on points. However, it is football and not boxing and goals win games not performances.
In the first half New Broms hardly got a kick and we should have been two up inside the first 3 minutes. We squandered around 7 good chances in the first half but a mixture of bad finishing, bad luck, good goalkeeping and the post denied us from taking the lead. Everyone was playing well – the defence was giving no change, the midfield were creating the chances and the forwards were running their defence ragged. The first half is one of the best halves I have ever seen us play; we created chance after chance after chance but failed to hit the net. Liam Williams, Adam Dawson and Neil Connelly had the best chances but half chances also fell to Danny Clark, Gary Harrigan, Sam Small and Aaron Carpenter. The talking and communication was there, we hit some big hefty challenges and people were clearly up for this – the exact response that I wanted after the dismal ‘performance’ the previous week.
Half time came and everyone was praised but when you are playing this well you have to show something for the dominance and that is what we lacked. The first 15 minutes of the second half were the same with further chances created and the New Broms keeper pulled off a couple of decent saves. New Broms had their first shot on goal on 55 minutes. On 60 minutes came the changing point of the match. An individual error left us on the back foot and their centre forward poked the ball past a helpless Jim St John in goal. We could not believe that we were behind and we were still in shock when about 5 minutes later Danny Clark put a strong and fair challenge into the centre midfielder winning the ball, when the ball bounced off his knee and between our two centre halves to leave the midfielder clean through on goal who mis-hit his finish which just happened to end up in the top corner. This really stunned us, it was daylight robbery, when is this luck going to happen to us?
Despite around 25 minutes left to play we were deflated and our body language showed this. The fluency and crisp passing went and we did look as though we would never come back from this, and we didn’t. New Broms could not believe their luck and finished the better side.
Don’t know what to say really about this. Our competitiveness was good, we wanted to bounce back from the previous week and some of our play was excellent. There were some good positives from this game. The one thing we did lack was the ability to get ourselves going again after going 1 and then 2 goals down. There was plenty of time left in the game but our heads went down and lacked belief when this happened.
The defence dominated the voting with Dave Harrigan walking away with man of the match with just about half the votes, well done mate. Sam Small, Richard Davis and Steve Pester also picked up 2 or 3 votes each. I believe that the defence worked very well as a unit and played the ball out and looked comfortable together. Only one individual error let us down and New Broms did not have an attack up until the 55th minute of the game which is a sign of a solid back line and a good performance. If someone said to me before kick off that the defence was only going to make one individual error all match and not let New Broms a chance on goal for the first 55 mins, I would have taken that – with bells on. Sam Small made an impressive positional debut at right back and will start there this week. Joe Oatley looked pacey on the right hand side of midfield and will also look to start if training is attended.
Next week a home game – at last! If we perform like we did last week, it will be impossible to lose. Guess what we will work on in training on Wednesday? Please make sure attendance is high and remember that non-attendance at training can affect your starting position.
On a differing note the Xmas p*** up will be Saturday 17th Dec. The plan will be a cheap and easy option for everyone. Bring a change of clothes to the game – unless you really have want to go out in a yellow and red kit. We will organise fish and chips back at the club then straight to the Walkabout Bar, so we can not only cater for the younger ones in the squad, but give the older ones (i.e. me) a good reason to get p*ssed, try and re-live my youth and have a proper nonce at some young birds with short skirts. I will need to know numbers for the fish & chips, so let me know asap.