Saturday 10th September 2005
By Paul Parsons
We started this game with 3 defenders on the sideline as subs to bring on should we get so far ahead that we needed to protect the lead. Well after 10 minutes we were 1-0 down after a very long punt upfront by the Elite keeper that defied gravity and bounced through to their forward to slot past a despairing Ivor. Then with 20 minutes gone we were 2-0 down after a lazy (foul) throw from midfield by Elite made us go static in disbelief and they ran with the ball, past the statuesque FOBG team and crossed into an empty net, oh dear.
To be fair I thought we played some good football between these spells, and we tried to keep the ball rather than just hump it upfront for Chris to chase, so all was not lost.
Then came half time, and it was for Paul Ed to announce a change in tactics that proved to turn the game round. We reverted to four at the back, bringing on Mark Friend and sacrificing Joe Lipton (Joe was a model player for FOBG without any complaint about the change, well done Joe). We moved Richard Tapsfield to the right and played me upfront to help out Chris Viner. Clear concise half time team talk, everyone listening, time to add a couple of comments and away we went with renewed vigour.
We started to put pressure on Elite''s back three, and on a couple of occasions ‘unsettled’ them (read: roughed them up a bit by Paul P for that one!). Then we closed them down in midfield with Neil Barnes tirelessly tackling and Richard Coyne creating space and get up and down the field with gusto. Alex on the left was wider and creating some of this space for both himself and Colin to really stretch the opposition. From this pressure Chris V forced a corner, which was whipped in, and in the melee Neil’s shirt was pulled and the ref gave a penalty. Again a clear decision from Paul Ed at the start meant we knew Alex was taking it (to the relief of Neil!) and he blasted it to the right of the keeper to make it 2-1 with 30 minutes still remaining. Game on!
Ivor was cool and assured in goal, saving a couple of very good shots from long range, and again his distribution was good. He was even seen to be smiling at one point! Then from half way Richard T took on a player and beat him, then powered on from this and passed it into the feet of Richard C who calmly controlled the ball, held it up and passed it on to the on rushing Richard T to bury the ball first time from 30 yards in off the post and into a bulging net. It was a ferocious shot!
Our defence was excellent throughout the second half. I cannot remember a ball not being won in the air by either Woody or Mark, Woody just nailing the MOM award with his sensible and assured defensive play on the ground, allowing us to keep possession and allowing the midfield to be involved, rather than bypassing them. Todd was accurate with his free kicks and constantly touch tight to his player and Colin was intercepting everything that was coming his way. Steve V came on with 10 minutes to go and shored things up at the back for the aching Todd.
Sure we rode our luck, Colin knocking one off the line, Ivor steaming out a couple of times and winning his one on ones and Elite hitting the bar, but we too created scoring opportunities and both Richards had very good chances to score as well. That is what football is all about, hard work and creating something out of nothing. A very heartening performance, and one which I am sure Lee Shep was happy to watch! Thanks Lee, and good to see you, no really!