|1||Ricky Goldup (9)|
|2||Ed Shorter (8)|
|3||Pete Rundle (8)|
|4||Nick Clarke (8)|
|5||Chris Williment (7)|
|6||Marcus Passey (9)|
|7||Sean Ingleson (8)|
|8||Seb Smith (8)|
|9||Ben Large (7)|
|10||Matt Reeves (9)|
|12||Steve Fuller (7)|
|Hildenborough AFC Res||2|
Before the game there sure was a feel good buzz as we departed the pub and made our way to the ground that we had once built to be a fortress, but will we be able to reinstate the elite status this season? Well…Only time will tell over the coming months, but all we can do now is make sure we get the positive start that can be so crucial if we are to have another successful season on the back of our cup success.
So, first game of the season we are hosting Nomads, once the whooping boys of the league, but rumours of change within their ranks have taught us to expect a tough task today. But with 10 minutes before kick off, we were typically ready and warmed up but there was no sign of the opposition, but finally they arrived and the game is started.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to show their intent, they were certainly the quicker out of the blocks and within the first 15 minutes had tested our new look line up which saw us have three lined up at the back (Ricky, Pete n Ed) with Passey roaming in a defensive midfield position that would see him challenging for the ball as often as possible. It was a real test of character to start with, getting used to the formation against what turned out to be a very neat side, but, having done enough to ensure that the visitors warning shots remained just that, we started to get a grip of the game and even fired a few warning shots of our own with the midfield quartet of Ben, Nick Debutant Chris and Captain Matt all showing quality in abundance and feeding the ball through to an extremely tasty looking forward line of Seb and Sean. The most notable effort being orchestrated by Sean who slid a delightful ball after dropping a little deeper on the left and Sebs dummy in the middle let the ball find its way to Matt who had raced from the right hand touchline to drive a shot beyond the stranded ‘keeper, even Seb thought the ball was in as he followed it all the way through, but an unlucky bounce saw the shot bounce off the post and deflect out off Sebs run. Perhaps if Seb was a little more selfish he would have carried on his great goal scoring form from pre-season but it wasn’t to be this time, however it wasn’t long before Seb did deservedly get his name on the score sheet with an extremely well taken goal that gave us the lead that we deserved. That is not to say we were breezing the game, it was with some consistency that Nomads were pressing us back, and it took some smart (and at times desperate) defending and goalkeeping to keep the slender lead up to the half way mark.
The message at halftime was clear, keep doing the same, do not let the work rate drop or they would be back in it. And it was clearly taken on board.
The Second half continued in the same vein as the first, we imposed ourselves more as the game went on and with the introduction of Steve Fuller for the highly impressive but knackered Chris Williment, the midfield played a large part of deciding the games outcome, despite us having more of the ball and looking generally more composed, it seemed that when Nomads did attack, they were more direct than the first half, in particular their No.9 looking rather threatening, which was emphasised by the fact that a long range chip over Mark was only kept out by the cross bar, and then brilliantly cleared by Ricky who was having an extremely impressive debut in defence.
The game appeared to be in the balance in an end to end game but we then managed to give ourselves an extended margin with the type of goal that most would pay to see, we broke forward from the middle with the ball played up to Seb who was on his own and on the toes of the last man in the visitors defence, he expertly held the ball up and slipped it through the defence for Matt to burst through onto, with his run being tracked down the right, he turned his defender and pulled back a cross field pass for Sean to hit first time into the bottom left hand corner giving the ‘keeper no chance.
The visitors continued to press and had a well executed corner cleared off the line, once again by Ricky before late on they manage to finally get the better of our offside trap and with three in support of the runner against a very lonely Mark in goal, they pulled one back to ensure a rather hectic end to a match with our legs looking rather tired. But we managed to hold on to claim all of the first points on offer despite the visiting No4 getting his games mixed up and trying to land a few punches on Mark for standing his ground. This result should be a great boost before a very difficult looking trip to a very capable St. Lawrence side that probably has promotion ambitions.
Ricky was deservedly handed the Man of The Match beer at the end after a great alround nonsense display, but he was pushed all the way by Matt who rose to the challenge having been handed the captains armband with Passey and Seb both also having a superb match to start the season off.
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