Saturday 25th September 2010
By Stuart Lenton
We went into the game keen to maintain the excellent start to the season we had achieved, but Thames Borough were to provide a stern test from start to finish.
Prior to kick off the aim was to keep the game tight to begin with and work on exploiting any gaps left in the Thames Borough defence. We lined up in the same formation as the week previous at Seven Acre’s in a 4-5-1 shape. We had benefited from the extra man in the middle and enjoyed vast amounts of possession whilst still managing to maintain a consistent threat on the Seven Acre goal, and were hoping for a repeat this week.
However what was to come was the opposite and after 3 minutes we found ourselves 1 nil down to a disputable Thames Borough penalty. For the next 15 minutes we were unable to gain any sort of grip on the game and looked a shadow of the team from previous weeks. On the half hour we decided to revert to 4-4-2 moving Jim Lenton up top to partner Ben Slade and Louis Hussey from the centre of the park to right midfield.
Almost instantly we created an opening with Jim striking the opposing crossbar and shortly after, a Matt Pragnell header at the far post levelled the score. We came in at half time at evens; although confident we would be able to progress and win the game in the second half.
Although Thames Borough came at us and did move the ball round well in places we largely controlled the game and dealt with any threat that came our way. On 60 minutes a Jim Lenton through ball was met by Ben Slade who made no mistake as we gained the advantage. 2 – 1 the Guild with the job far from done.
A mix up in our defence lead to a frustrating Thames Borough equaliser on 70 minutes; again we would have to create an opening to regain the advantage, which thankfully on 75 minutes we achieved, the pleasing factor leading up to our 3rd goal is that we continued the rhythm and tempo we had set prior to the Thames Borough equaliser, kept focus and belief and pushed on to cause an own goal. A deep cross into the opposing box lead to a mix up in their defence and powerful strike by their defender towards his own goal, narrowly missing Dan Head's face and nestling in the bottom of the net, Lovely, a slice of well deserved luck.
The fourth goal arrived in injury time, a memorable moment provided by Ben Slade, as he raced clear and lobbed the oncoming Thames Borough keeper from 25 yards. 4 – 2 and game over.
Overall we grinded out a well deserved win, we displayed a valuable quality of being largely unaffected by an opposing equaliser, knowing we are the better team on the day, and being focused enough to continue and win the game. We have a good chance of success this season with the squad and personnel we possess, but will need to overcome challenges like today on numerous occasions throughout the season, of which I’m confident we can and will.
Man of the Match was Ben Slade who came to the rescue on two occasions and made no mistake with 2 clinical finishes. When working on instinct Ben can and will damage teams this year and his form is crucial as he plays a key role in our squad. A well deserved MOM honour this week.
Well done to all the boys, we look and are a solid unit. A great start to the league campaign.
Onwards and Upwards!
Man of the match: Ben Slade