Sunday 29th April 2007
great result against all the odds! Missing a full team of regular players the Sunday team turned up at Downham playing fields to play a Vista side that had one week earlier beaten new champions Centresports. Needless to say there were a few nerves.
The management duo of Tant and Village managed to assemble a squad of 14 players who were all required and truly played with alot of heart and desire. We began with Mark Edwards in goal and a back four of Chris G, Andy Cob, Matty W and PG. The midfield was Jay, myself, Jase and Dan Head. Up front we had Grant and Terry. All performed very well and matched our opponents tackle for tackle.
The game kicked off and to our surprise we probably started slightly the better; snapping into tackles and defending resolutely against a strong Vista forward line who seem to attack from all parts of the pitch. Matty was strong in the air against the big Vista No 9 and Andy Cob kept the other guy quiet. Both PG and Chris were tenacious in the tackle at the back and provided good starting points to launch attacks down our flanks through Jay and Dan who pushed forward at every opportunity.
Both teams played some nice football at points although the concrete-like pitch made for some interesting bobbles and strange first touches. Inspite of this a few half chances were being created and we seemed to have slightly the edge over the first 30 minutes. With the half drawing to a conclusion Dan made another forceful break down the left and beat his full back at the byeline to cut back a great cross to the back post where we had 3 players lining up to score...Jay duly helped himself with an emphatic finish.
At half time Neil C replaced Jase in the middle and as the sun grew hotter we anticipated renewed attacking pressure from Vista. In truth however we started the half well again and found a bit more composure on the ball with both Matty and Neil making some telling passes for our forward line to latch onto. We were unlucky with a few bounces not to create more clear cut scoring opportunities! Terry was replaced by Tant up front as we continued to create problems for the Vista defence. With about 10 minutes gone a break down our right hand side led to the ball not being cleared and a speculative shot cannoned off an unknowing Vista midfielder to totally deceive Mark in goal and it was 1-1. The attitude at this point was superb and we did not fold but took the game back to Vista and another surging run from Dan down the left saw him hit a sweet drive into the bottom corner to re-establish our lead. My achilles problem had flared up again at this point and Village replaced me in the middle for the final 30 minutes.
At 2-1 down Vista had something to prove and despite a couple of our own half breaks they began to dominate possession of the ball as they looked to attack from every angle.The team admirably maintained its shape and with Mark playing well in goal we closed out any real goalscoring chances. Inevitably the constant pressure did tell and with 5 minutes to go one of the Vista midfielders went on another of those mazy elusive runs but was stopped dead in his tracks by Matty. Unfortunately he was halted without the ball and in the penalty area! The penalty was clinically despatched and it was 2-2. Needless to say it was a long 5 minutes left to be played with only really 10 men as Jay was by now just a spectator up front unable to move but forced to stay on with all our subs used up. Some great defending saw the game finish 2-2!
Everyone played their part in this game and we showed some great spirit to hold a good Vista team. Man of the match went to all 14 players who all gave a great account of themselves and ensured the Sunday team''s season ended on a high note.
With so many dropouts due to number of reasons, this was a very good result; however if we are to continue next season we must never have repeat of the total bo**ocks that Vic and myself went through on Saturday right after I''d just finished playing for the 2nds. This left a very bad taste in my mouth.
However Sunday we produced an outstanding attitude and performance against all the odds. With a couple more attacking players we would have definitely got all 3 points.
The first half our defence looked comfortable and we broke quickly and created several half chances which with a bit more composure in front of goal could have lead to a significant half time lead; however we only scored once through Jay M following a Dan Head cross shot to give us deserved 1 nil lead at half-time.
The second half Vista dominated and it was real backs to the wall stuff as they launched wave after wave of attacks. A fortunate deflected goal gave Vista a deserved equaliser but then Dan Head scored a fine solo goal to give us the lead again which we held until 5 minutes to go when Vista scored a penalty after constant pressure. Good luck to Vista in their remaining fixtures as they are one of the best footballing teams in the division and they play the game in the right manner.
Good performances all round especially by Dan Head, Chris G and Matti Wright.
Next season - we must have more regular availability (too many players have missed too many games).
We also need a few younger players - I estimate about 3 or 4.
Lastly I need help, Village is not going to do it next season, and unless someone steps forward and offers me weekly assistance neither am I.
Anyway enjoy the months of rest, I''ll be trying to get myself banned from every golf course in Southern England.