|1||Tim Robinson (6)|
|2||Steve Fuller (7)|
|3||Ed Shorter (7)|
|4||Pete Rundle (6)|
|5||Nick Clarke (6)|
|6||Ricky Goldup (6)|
|7||Matt Reeves (7)|
|8||Michael Cherry (7)|
|9||Sean Ingleson (8)|
|10||Ben Large (6)|
|11||Chris Williment (6)|
|12||Marcus Passey (6)|
|13||Sam Hill (7)|
|14||Jak Cook (6)|
|Hildenborough AFC Res||1|
This week we travelled to Riverhead, the team we beat in last years Smiths Cup final, a so far inconsistent team this season who are the only team to beat Kingsdown Racers this season but have lost to far easier teams, we were not sure what to expect.
After freezing for the immaculately up held minutes silence, the game got going, well sort of. Like last seasons final the ball spent the majority of the opening period in the air, with the gusty winds making it hard to read the flight of the ball, and It was the home team who managed to adjust first and used it to their advantage as they managed to let of a number of long-range efforts that were not troubling Tim in goal. As the game wore on the backline were coping with the wind better meaning we were able to gain more possession in the middle of the park with Cherry and Nick working hard to establish themselves in the game, and with a good amount of success in that rarely did the home team find their way through us by playing football.
However we were only playing at half pace and were unable to create many real openings in the first half for Sean or Ben who were running the front line.
With an extremely dull first half closing to a predictable 0-0 score line, with neither keeper really being tested, it was clear that we needed to pick up the pace of the game and assert ourselves for the second half.
In fact both teams upped the pace from the first and the game grew much more open as it went on, and when Nick and Chris made way for Sam and Passey – with Sean dropping into midfield, we really started to take the game to Riverhead, and having put through for a one on one with the keeper Ben was unlucky to see his shot skew wide of the post.
Unfortunately, as is regularly the problem at this level, the ref wasn’t having a particularly good game, not in a particularly biased way, but it was to Riverheads advantage when the ref ignored a blatant push on Pete Rundle forcing him to lose the ball but seconds later he blew up for a similar challenge on a Riverhead player about 20 yards from goal. The No14 turned out to be a dead-ball specialist and curled a delightful ball over the wall into the top corner of the goal to give the home team a slender lead, a lead with didn’t stay that way for long as once again a soft free kick was given to the home team for the No 14 to once again show his class with a similarly taken free kick that was high into the net to put them 2-0 up.
Sean was growing in stature as the second half progressed and he had played through a delightful ball through for Sam to run onto and Sam looked to have got us back in the game with a brilliant chip over the on rushing keeper but the joy turned to frustration as the shot narrowly landed beyond the crossbar onto the roof of the net. But Sean’s never one to be outdone and showed there was more than one free kick expert on the field as after Sam was hacked down just outside the box after some great hold up play, Sean stunned the home keeper with a powerful curler into the side netting of the goal to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
This gave us the belief to get something from the game and after being denied a cast iron penalty as Matt was brought down, we had one last crack as we were given another free kick, unfortunately though, this time Sean was unable to apply the magic touch as the ball well cleared the bar with nearly the final kick of the ball.
With the points once again falling outside our grasp we only had ourselves to blame, had we started the game at the same tempo as we finished then surely the points would have been ours for the taking, but once again we played to the level of the opposition, and although the we did enough to prevent any real openings from open play, we were undone by quality set plays. Man of the Match was deservedly handed to Sean for a determined second half display in the middle of the park and a well-taken goal to put us in sniffing distance of a point.
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