Saturday 28th April 2007
By Shaun Keddle
A decent result given the circumstances against a young and very promising Wickham team.
With seven regular players missing this fixture was always going to be difficult. It was a must win game for both sides, but a draw was probably a fair result. Both sides came away disappointed with the result but very happy with the performances that both sides gave. When going into these games against a top three side, you always need all your boys out, however, St John and Small were out through injury, the Williams boys were still in Oz and Pragnell, Cleaver, B and Cleaver, L were away for the weekend.
The game started and both teams were prepared to get the ball down and play. The tactics of the game were all based on formation as we tried to impose our orthodox 4-4-2 against their 3-5-2 wing back formation. The play was pretty even but it was Edwards in the Guild goal that was first to be worked pulling off a fine stop from point blank range. A real good early confidence boost for Edwards who was deputising for the injured St John. With around 25 mins gone the Guild took the lead after Perkins finished superbly in the corner after a fantastic team effort involving a number of players. The ball was worked from the back with good hold up play from Harrigan. Perkins'' late arrival into the box was not tracked and we took the lead from his strike.
At the half we spoke about getting the ball to do the work as Wickham were a young fit and lively side and the average age of our side had significantly risen given the absentees.
The second half started and Park went looking for the equaliser. Both sides were playing some nice football and the game was very good from a visual prospective. With 70 mins gone Wickham found an equaliser. Some controversy surrounded the goal as the referee judged that an injured player from Park laying on the floor in front of our goal was not interfering with play when it clearly obstructed our keeper. A disappointing manner to concede a goal, but we did have around three attempts to clear the ball prior to the goal. Further controversy was to follow as the man in black overruled their linesman to give us offside when he was 20 yards behind the play and we were clearly on. This was not done once or twice but three times which led to obvious frustration. My thanks to the Wickham linesman who was very fair throughout.
The game ended one all and despite the controversy, the result was a fair one and both managers walked away happy with their respective performances.
As per my previous match report I predicted that Wickham would do well in the league and they have beaten both Tudor and Tonbridge, something that we have failed to do. Provided they can stick together, they will be a force to be reckoned with as time goes on. However, we have taken four good points away from them which just shows us how good we can be.
Man of the match was split between Edwards in goal and Perkins in the middle. Edwards had a safe and assured game in goal while Perkins really drove through the Wickham midfield with plenty of energy and commitment linking up play very well. Other performances to note was the effective pairing of Wright and Head down the left hand side.
This Saturday we have Meridian at home - a game we must win and will be favourites to do so. It’s the type of game which we get both complacent and lazy about and we must look to correct that before Monday''s final. We have 5 players returning. Selections will be difficult, but if you have been away then expect to be on the bench. There will be a meeting straight after Saturday’s game, so please hang around until then.