Saturday 9th December 2006
By Shaun Keddle
Squad: 1. St John; 2. Nott; 3. Cleaver (L); 4. Davis; 5. Judge; 6. Clark; 7. Williams (L); 8. Perkins; 9. Harrigan; 10. Cleaver (B); 11. Martin.
Subs: 12. Connelly; 14. Small; 15 Keddlinihio; 19. Mace
We cruised into the quarter finals of the Sevenoaks Cup after a rampant second half performance, fuelled by allegations of ‘jug-dodging’ by the goal scorers.
At home and on a very decent surface, despite the conditions that mother nature has thrown at it over the past few weeks. We kicked off knowing that we made a weak defence of our title last year and knew we had to make a better account of ourselves this year around. The game started relatively well for us but we did seem a bit over eager in places. With playing lower league opposition comes an air of expectancy which can lead to slack performances and the first half certainly showed that. We had a lot of the ball but could not really make it happen in the last third and looked slightly ragged at the back through lack of responsibility and some hesitancy. An early doors injury to Cleaver, L led to the introduction of Connelly who slipped nicely into the left back position. However, we went ahead just before half time after a chinking run from Barry Cleaver presented a scoring opportunity to Ray Perkins whose strike wrong footed the goalkeeper and rolled in the net.
At the half we spoke about not over trying, playing our game and sticking to what we were best at – two touch football and moving the ball.
In the second half we really took over and dominated proceedings. Clark and Cleaver were superb in midfield and really provided the central base for the team to work off. Perkins doubled his first half tally with a low shot which beat the keeper at the near post. At the back our defenders had the easiest game they could have wished for with Nott, playing his first game this season for the first team, pushing forward from right back at every opportunity. Davis and Judge had things sewn up at the back ably assisted by the ‘experienced’ Connelly. Williams was looking dangerous down the right and getting into the box at every opportunity, scoring one of the goals of the season with a fantastic strike from outside the box and scoring another with his rather pointed nut. On the left hand side Martin was working hard and providing the forwards with the ammunition to attack. Cleaver the Beaver up front was busy. Full of running, shutting down the defenders and getting amongst it. Harrigan was his neat and tidy self, bringing people into play and further adding to his goal haul by grabbing himself a brace. St John in goal had another easy afternoon but it was good to see a significant improvement in his kicking and he did not put a foot wrong all match.
It was disappointing to concede a sloppy goal, just through lack of concentration and not shutting down and we so need to start better against weaker teams to make it easier on ourselves. Overall though I was very pleased with an entertaining and attacking second half which was full of good football. Ray walked away with man of the match from me and also got the players vote as well. Well done Ray, you''re really starting to hit top form and forge a decent partnership with Danny in the centre of the park.
This week we have Tudor Sports away which will be a tough encounter. It''s games against sides like Tudor where you can determine how good you are and we need to bounce back from a poor showing last time out that inflicted our only home loss this season.
Don’t forget our Christmas drink on Saturday 23rd December – we aim to start at 3pm.