|1||Ricky Goldup (8)|
|2||Ed Shorter (8)|
|3||Pete Rundle (8)|
|4||Nick Clarke (9)|
|5||Steve Fuller (7)|
|6||Marcus Passey (7)|
|7||Sean Ingleson (9)|
|8||Seb Smith (8)|
|9||Ben Large (7)|
|10||Matt Reeves (9)|
|12||Kevin Jordan (7)|
|13||Michael Cherry (7)|
|St Lawrence Res||2|
|Hildenborough AFC Res||4|
This weeks away trip to St Lawrence was always going to be a tough match, after a slow start to the season last year, St Lawrence really gathered pace and shot up the table and only just fell short of promotion, claiming 6 points off us along the way, but our confidence was high following our good opening win last week and so a close game was on the cards.
Resorting back to a 4-4-2 formation following last week’s different approach, we only had one change to the starting 11 with Steve Fuller coming into the middle in place of Chris Williment. The subs bench looked impressive with Kev, Chris, Cherry and Chewy all returning from their mistimed holidays.
The game started on the bright afternoon and the home team set the standard high from the very off, they were just as good if not even better than we had expected, and they were running our defence and midfield ragged. Our attack was causing them one or two problems too though, moving the ball from one side to the other neatly and quickly, but it was the home side who were really pushing for the win, having already pulled a fantastic save of Mark who had to react brilliantly top tip an excellent shot over, they took a very deserved lead mid way through the first half after their slick attacking moves beat our defence to set their player though the wings. In all honesty, they were really making us look quite ordinary at times and tested our resilience to the max, and had it not been for some fine tackling, some astute goal keeping and some more accuracy on their shots, they could have been 2 or 3 up by half time, but as it was we managed to restrict them to just the one goal, and a moment of absolute brilliance meant that we could go into half time level at one apiece. Ben was released down the left wing, and after beating two, he came to what seemed a dead end when suddenly he slid the ball backwards to the middle to Sean, who took a touch to bypass the challenge of the defender and then unleashed a fierce shot that left the home ‘keeper with absolutely no chance.
As the half time whistle went, it was obvious that something needed to be done to thwart the home sides dominance, and a change of formation seemed the best way to go, and so we deployed three central Defenders, three central midfielders and a wing-back on either side to shore things up, that, and the introduction of Kev and Chris Shorter for Steve Fuller and Passey.
The second half was much more open than the first and both teams were enjoying good spells of possession, but we were growing in stature as the game wore on, passing the ball more comfortably and starting to open up their defence regularly, so it was no surprise when we took the lead a short while into the second half, and having cleaned up another St. Lawrence attack, we quickly got the ball out and attacked with pace before an initial shot was blocked, Sean was once again on hand to unleash a powerful shot into the back of the net. But against such quality, a one goal margin is never going to be enough and that proved so, as it was not long before the scores were once again tied at 2 all following a quick attack of their own.
So with the game in the balance the next goal was crucial, and with Kev regularly telling Mark his kicks were too long, Mark took that as a challenge and after comfortably collecting an over hit pass, Mark aimed his drop kick goal wards, and with the pitch being so small, the kick caught out the home defence, and the keeper thinking it would be a routine take after the bounce, was caught out as the ball flew over his head and into the net to restore our lead. We took further measures to strengthen up and replaced the tiring Ben with Cherry to add some steel and that is exactly what we got, and it was with great consistency that Cherry would retrieve a loose ball in midfield and turn it into an attack, and with the home side throwing everything at us in order to get something from the game they were leaving some inviting spaces in behind which we repeatedly tried to exploit but it wasn’t until late on that a home side hand blocked a cross in the box that Sean managed to cap an excellent performance by securing his Man of the Match winning hattrick from the spot to secure all the points with the 4-2 score line.
After the shaky first half where we were perhaps a bit lucky, we managed to turn the game around and put in another impressive performance and maintain our 100% record, as well as Sean, we saw some great performances from Nick who worked hard through out, Mark made countless saves and Matty put in another all round display and has earned himself a deserved call up to the first team for next week. Its at times like this though that we need to remember that its only 2 games won, and there is still another 24 to go in the league so we must keep working hard and only in February/March can we start looking at what might be achieved at the end of what will be a long season with a lot of teams who will be hoping for success this year.
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