Right from the start, BB Eagles were on top. There was a slight slope and breeze that were both in the home side’s favour for the first half, but that should take nothing away from them – they were quicker out of the blocks, pressing all over the pitch and making things difficult for Norsemen. They looked to play through their skipper when possible, although they were also happy to play balls in behind the Norsemen back line to stretch the game. The home side went close to taking the lead on several occasions – Os cleared two off the line, Zak made 3 or 4 great saves and Meady produced an unbelievable recovery tackle when the centre forward had an open goal from ten yards. The closest the away team went was from a volley by Darran after a great corner by Shane, but in all honesty it was pretty much one way traffic, so to go in 0-0 at half time the Blue Giants couldn’t be too disappointed.
The half-time team talk was a positive one as we were still very much in the game, and the gaffer saw a few things he thought we could change to get to grips with the opposition. The second half showing was much stronger, and Norsemen played with more confidence and positivity, with a bit of help from the conditions. Shaq and Kamali started to get some change out of the full backs, and Darran and Reg were occupying the centre backs to stop them bringing the ball out of defence. BB Eagles still looked dangerous on the break, but the territorial advantage was definitely with the away side. Norsemen went close twice in quick succession, when firstly Kamali and then Shaq dinked fantastic crosses over the keeper, with no one on hand to deliver the slightest of touches needed to take the lead. The away team didn’t have to wait long to take the lead though, a cross from Kamali lead to a goal mouth scramble, with Ollie going close before Shaq bundled over the line on his debut.
With 20 minutes to go, BB Eagles upped their game again, and started piling the pressure on. Zak again was called upon to make a couple of great saves, and the home side hit the outside of the near post twice. Norsemen looked dangerous on the counter, and had a couple of half chances to kill the game off, but it wasn’t to be. Just when it looked like Norsemen had held out and defended their way to a massive 3 points, the Eagles’ advanced midfielder broke through, took the ball round Zak but was taken out by the keeper before he could get a shot away. Penalty. The big number 11 stepped up and confidently sent Zak the wrong way to save a point. There was still time for Norsemen to put the ball in the box from a free kick, but unfortunately the ball fell to Meady rather than a centre forward, and he couldn’t quite get it under control to get a shot on goal. The final whistle went and the referee brought the game to a close.
Tough to take for Norsemen who had two points taken away at the death, but in fairness BB Eagles had dominated the game for at least an hour so deserved something out of it. The positives for the Blue Giants were the fight and resolve shown, and the fact that the unbeaten run is extended to 6 games. If we show this attitude in every game we’ll have a strong season – that desire coupled with the football we can play on our day will stand us in good stead.
MOM for me was Zak Shayler, he made some great saves to keep us in it and organised the defence well.