|1||Paul Chewter (7)|
|2||Ed Shorter (9)|
|3||Pete Rundle (8)|
|4||Nick Clarke (8)|
|5||Michael Cherry (8)|
|6||Ricky Goldup (8)|
|7||Seb Smith (8)|
|8||Ben Large (9)|
|9||Kevin Jordan (7)|
|12||Marcus Passey (6)|
|13||Tim Robinson (6)|
|14||Stuart Norris (7)|
|Hildenborough AFC Res||3|
|Dunton Green Res||1|
Given our performances and results so far, we probably went into this game as favourites for the first time this season against a visiting Dunton Green side who, although have been known as a team who can produce goals, are more known as a team who concede far more than they should.
Our confidence was plain to see from the first whistle and we took the game to the visitors and we were first to the ball much of the time, and the weaknesses in their defence were very clear for all to see as Ben and Seb ran them ragged, and it wasn’t long before we capitalised on their lack of pace, and as Ben chased a through ball that most would have given up hope on, but he reached the ball close to the by line and looped a delightful chip over the stranded ‘keeper and the ball bounced into the top of the net to give us a deserved lead. The Greens were still managing to play some decent football, but with their midfield defending deep and the two strikers were isolated much of the time, so most of their hard work was comfortably dealt with, but they did manage to force a few corners at which they were causing problems. It was not long though that we deservedly extended our lead, after some great work, Seb slipped the ball straight through the defence for Ben to meet on a diagonal run and he unleashed a brilliant shot past the ‘keeper leaving him with no chance.
As the first half wore on, the visitors were getting more composed on the ball and were putting more men forward in an attempt to get themselves back in the game, and it paid off as our back line stepped up and although about 4 players were without doubt in an offside position, the ref deemed one player as on side as he raced through to collect the ball, as we stood their protesting, he neatly tucked the ball away with Mark stranded with no support. Unfortunately their goal had a real impact on what remained of the half, it gave the visitors belief but more than anything it took the wind completely out of our sails and we lost just about every ball for the next 15. After a few worrying moments it was actually a relief to hear the half time whistle.
One sub at half time saw K 2 the J forced off with his dodgy calf and the introduction of Stu to replace him on the left in a like for like switch. The message at half time was clear, calm down and get back on top of the game.
The team responded well and continued to push for the win, but the visitors new found confidence meant the game was now more end to end but the midfield trio of Cherry, Nick and Chris Shorter showed their class and turn defence into attacked with fluidity and it was around midway through the half that we restored our two goal margin. Some great attacking movement down the left hand side involving many of our players resulted in the ball falling to Ben out on the left, still someway out he left the best to last as he sealed his hat trick with a beautiful driven shot that flew arrow like though the entire Dunton Green defence at such speed the ‘keeper probably didn’t even see it until he fished it out of the back of the net.
The pace of the game dropped a little which suited Dunton Green more, and they were still making us work for the points as the game drew on and it took a reflex tip over from mark to maintain our cushion and the introduction of Passey and Tim for Chewy and Seb to add fresh legs and stability, but we were able to claim a deserved win and another 3 points, keeping our 100% record very much alive and us setting an early pace at the top of the league.
Man of the Match was of little dispute as Ben’s fine hat trick was always going to be a talking point of the game, but some others staked a claim for it, including Cherry, who’s all round game is excellent and with his fitness building up, he could prove to be an important member of the squad. Ed also had a very solid game at the back and won all but one header in the entire game and was also often involved in our more fluid footballing moves.
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