Saturday 24th November 2007
By Sam Evans
I’m writing this at 8.30pm on Saturday night
1) to give me something to do while Jo watches the X-Factor results
2) to try and get my frustrations from today out of my system so I can salvage something from the evening
We should have done much better today. Seven Acre were much weaker than when played them last season and I’m not sure why we didn’t win. We played really well in places, particularly at the start of the second half, but our neat passing in the middle third of the pitch (which was really good) seemed to peter out a bit in the final third. We basically didn’t create enough clear cut chances and if you don’t do that, plus concede soft goals, you will get beat even if you are the better team.
Before going through the game I should mention that Paul Parsons stumbled badly and very nearly fell over when trying to turn around during that strange star-jump warm up thing we do. I forgot to share this with you all after the game so it seems only fair to put it in the match report.
We started off well, playing against the wind was always going to be tough but we dug in and had the better of it in the early stages. Then after about 25 minutes Paul Tanton struck a powerful shot from outside the box which beat the keeper, albeit with a slight deflection. A good lesson in the value of shooting though, as your make your own luck with these things, and we definitely didn’t test the keeper enough today.
Unfortunately we didn’t hold onto our lead and found ourselves 2-1 down at half-time. Their first goal was from a free kick – they floated the ball into the box and many of us, including me, didn’t run back with our men so when Mark made a great save from the header it was one of their shirts who was first to the rebound and scored easily. I can’t remember the second goal clearly but I’m pretty sure it was from a cross, pretty sure Mark saved it again, and pretty sure that we all let him down again by allowing an opponent to be first to the rebound and score. We didn’t deserve to be behind at half time, particularly when our defence had worked hard to shut out the other chances Seven Acre had towards the close of the half – we struggled to get out of our own half at times with the wind in our face, and Pete Morton at right back, Ian Parsfield at left back and Richard Davies and Paul Parsons in the centre all worked very hard and effectively in the latter stages of the first half.
I really thought we would come out and win the game in the second half. We certainly started well, winning the 50/50s which we hadn’t in the first half and really started to dominate the game. Dave Martin was getting lots of the ball on the left wing, at one point sending over a powerful cross which Dan Head did well to reach but just failed to hit the target. But it definitely felt like we were about to score 2 or 3 goals and somehow it didn’t happen. I’m baffled – we were dominating. Bobby Moulson shielded the ball well from their centre backs and brought Daragh Nott and Paul Tanton into play effectively, who were then able to spread the ball wide. Richard Davies also distributed the ball very well from sweeper.
Unfortunately as the game wore on we seemed to lose our way somehow, and simply didn’t create enough chances. Dan Head worked very hard upfront, but we never managed to give him the kind of service which a striker needs. Lee Warren replaced Pete Morton at left back and made an impressive debut, as did Lawrence Hall who replaced me in right midfield. However, we didn’t manage to convert our neat triangular passing in midfield into clear cut chances for our strikers, and so we didn’t score, and so we lost.
Despite that, I still think we can take a lot of positives from this game. In windy conditions we pinged the ball about really nicely at times, and whilst this counts for nothing if you don’t score and also concede soft goals we can still look to take the positives forward to next week. Perhaps I’m being too positive about our performance today, but as we all know “football is a game of opinions” (Nott, 2007). Speaking of Daragh, I shouldn’t finish without mentioning his overhead kick which was a cross into the box – an impressive piece of skill which I didn’t know was in ‘The Dazzler’s’ repertoire, but hope to see again soon. Should also mention the worst free kick in the world ever ™ from Richard Davies: having been under the cosh for a few minutes we’ve won a free kick on the halfway line and are anticipating some respite, Bobby et al are on the edge of the box waiting for a cross, Rich steps up, connects beautifully…. and drives the ball powerfully straight out of play. Apart from that I thought you had a great game mate.
Man of the match: Ian Parsfield