Norsemen Two's came within a whisker of gaining a well earned point against the league leaders Crouch End Vampires on Saturday, and truth be told, should feel more than slightly disappointed not to do so.
After being put ahead through an Aydin Tayfur first half bicycle kick, as a result of a headed flick on from Mark Sarfo, Norsemen let the half time lead slip by conceding a second half penalty and dropping their guard at the death to go down 2 1. It was a cruel finish to a very committed performance from 11 men who were once again let down by a no show.
Injuries to Collier, Grant and Sarfo - all picked up in the first half - and with many others battered and bruised, meant that it was always going to be an uphill struggle on a very uneven surface. Passing moves were rare but Norsemen did look very good countering down the flanks and getting balls across the box, especially from the left where runners were coming late from the right. On the defensive side, the midfield was up against it with size and experience against them and the physical battles were all seemingly going Crouch Ends way early (despite Dean Bartup being recalled!) .
Norsemen grew into the game however and were deserved leaders at the half 1 nil.
The second half was all Crouch End though. Wave after wave poured forward with Norsemen doing well to mask the injuries and scramble the ball away on many occasions. Despite the constant pressure, opportunities were slim and the pressure to capitalize began to tell on a few Crouch End players with the physical nature of the game spilling over to spite in some instances. Indeed, for all the Crouch End pressure, it was Norsemen who should have iced the game when a Dan Williams square ball was parried into a lunging Tayfun's path. He managed a touch but only wide of the post and an opportunity had passed.
Unfortunately, it came to be that a marking lapse moments from time ensured that Norsemen would go home empty handed but on the back of last weeks win this close match was definitely needed to continue to build the confidence needed going forward. A week off now and with other activities and long term injuries easing, it is hoped that a good run can be put in with a few more points picked up prior to Christmas.