Saturday 11th February 2006
So on to another week, this week saw the own goal competition hotly contested in recent weeks won and a new competition has started up with the lads trying to miss from as close as possible.
Arriving quite late this week meant a speedy chat with Des to decide on attacking or defending against Bromley and following our last game with them we opted for attack sticking Paul Dow in midfield and Djan up front to partner Liam (or Lima as the spell check decided it should be).
The team went up to the pitch with an expectancy to win after an impressive last game which saw us dominate but come away with nothing - we felt we had a chance. The team lined up with Steve Tanner in goal, Ryan McGibbon, Mark Friend and myself in the centre and Rod Stoyle on the left. Midfield of George Hillman, Dan Head, Paul Dow and Gene Green on the left. With Liam Hillman and Djan Akwasi up front.
Bromley''s aggressive tactics seemed to throw us and we spent the whole of the first half dreaming of how well we played last week. Consequently we all had a terrible first 45 minutes with Djan for me being the only one to have a decent first half. So seeing as I’m writing the match report no one gets to take the piss out of my own goal, so I’ll do it myself. Having conceded from too many crosses in recent weeks I was determined to get my head on anything that came into the box and I did just that. A cross from just outside the box looked too high for me on the near post but I just managed to get a flick on it sending a majestically placed slow motion header into the top corner. It was so slow I had time to turn around and watch for 5 minutes whilst it floated in.
With the own goal competition won I felt my job was done today and so I decided to watch from close to the left touchline as one of their midfielders walked through our defence and passed to one of their players to place the ball easily into our goal for a two nil lead which looked to bury us.
All that was left in the half was Djan’s attempt at possibly the worst free kick ever curling one sweetly 20 yards over the goal and round the tree at the back of it. Well done mate. Taxi.
So coming in at half time every one was much like myself, we knew we’d played sh*t and could only play better in the second half. I think the water boy got a shock bringing our water on and standing in our huddle only to hear all the expletives under the sun in a short sharp rant from me and Mark.
Back to the pitch. Paul Dow was forced off at half time with an injury and Steve Blanchard took his place in midfield given the task of getting close to their 6 who had been in acres of space pinging balls over the top of us. From early on we looked dangerous and memories of the first half were fading. Excellent play from both full backs Ryan and Rod saw us pushing down the flanks and really getting at Bromley. It was at this stage that George, Liam and Djan really started getting into the game. George was putting together a nice string of showboats which would have troubled Ronaldinho on Soccer Saturday and following in from last week was putting some really classy balls into the box which meant it was inevitable we would score sooner or later.
Our first clear cut chance came early in the 2nd half with George beating his man down the right and getting in behind fizzing a ball past their keeper to Dan on the line who strode in slow motion and hit the sweetest connection over the bar over the fence over the tree and somewhere about 10 miles away from the goal. I think Dan was trying to better Liam’s miss last week and well I think Liam would agree he bettered it by far. Ronnie Rosenthal would have been proud of you mate.
After a few words of encouragement from me (or a major piss take and a few threats) Dan was back up the other end and in typical Dan fashion bounced back to score, George once again getting in behind and crossing for Dan to drill home with power from a yard out. 2-1.
At this point we were all really pushing on and confident of getting back in this game and it really showed. In the second half we showed everything our team is about. Liam and Djan working hard together up front closing down their defence, Dan really getting at their midfield stopping them getting settled and the lads on the wing battling back and covering their full backs. If we could have done this from the first half we would have built up a cricket score.
With us really getting into Bromley now we broke down the left and following a goalmouth scramble and two crosses we had the ball in the back of the net through Dan only for the ref to decide Dan had kicked one of their players in the process which I felt was harsh and it denied Dan another scrambled goal. I must say for a midfielder you do score a lot of striker''s goals (six yard tap ins).
So with us playing so well all that could happen now was the other team break and a fluke goal be scored against us and well it did. A floated ball from our right to left picked out one of their wingers and a mix up between Rod and Steve although neither were to blame saw their captain slot home from distance in a goal reminiscent of our last home game.
This temporarily took the wind out of our sales but not for long. Djan picking up a sweet pass from Liam on the edge of their box, strolled in and scored from the tightest angle getting his first goal whilst playing striker for us. 3-2.
With only minutes on the clock it looked like we weren’t quite going to make it. However, it set the scene for what I feel was our best team goal all season and I’m really pleased the player who scored it did. Rod made a tackle on the left winning the ball and passing to Gene, Gene released to Dan who was in centre left of the pitch, looking up Dan saw Rod making an excellent run forward of Gene down the line and fed him with a neat one touch pass. Rod then passed with his first touch in to Djan who turned sharp and unleashed a fierce shot at goal which the keeper could only parry on to the alert Liam who sprinted in to beat the keeper from about the penalty spot scoring a deserved goal - one which has been coming over the last couple of weeks.
With only minutes on the clock we pushed on not satisfied with a draw and we came close to winning, playing on until the ref stopped us right in our opposition''s box.
If ever there was a case for clichés it was this week. I could have used ‘it’s a funny old game’, ‘it’s a game of two halves’, ‘it’s not over till the fat lady sings’ and countless others but the real story of this game is the difference in the team over the last few months. We would have lost this game a month ago and we would have lost by a cricket score two months ago. I’m proud to be in the team and I’m glad I’m playing with and captaining every one of you. That was a real effort and maybe a sign we''re growing up as a team.
Man of the match went to George this week for an excellent display of wingmanship. I think it''s been deserved over the last few weeks. You’ve really created some chances for us keep it up mate. I think Liam and Dan both deserve a mention as well both having excellent games and both scoring - any other week you’d both have got it I think.
Next week sees us playing Old Addeyans who put eight past us earlier in the season. I think we’ve got something to prove in this game. If we play like we did in the second half we might just get into them. From what I remember they''re not that great anyway.
Look forward to seeing you all Saturday.