Happy New Year!
After a couple of weeks lay off we were looking forward to the top of the table clash with EBOG, which is also the only team we havn’t played yet. We were expecting a hard game on a difficult pitch and we were not disappointed. The game started at a pace that continued until half time with both teams competing hard for the important points available. We had most of the possession and tried to play our normal game which was disrupted by the competitive nature of the game. However the first half finished goalless with Jack Robery and the EBOGS goalkeeper both making good one on one saves. Everything to play for with neither team really making a mark on the game.
The second half started the same way until we gave a silly free kick away to give EBOGs a chance. A poor free kick that went through all the players was met by a late runner who passed the ball into our goal. This was not the first time we have gone behind this season and won’t be the last, so there was no panicking or doubts that we would pull it back if we carried on with the way we have been playing this season. We were knocking on the door with David Greene hitting the bar from a Matt Roles knock down and It was only a matter of time before the opponents would run out of steam. After a few more attempts we finally scored with Gavin Suddell sliding David Greene though one on one before calmly slotting past the keeper to equalise. The patience of our side was brilliant throughout the second half, reaping the rewards 6 minutes from the end. Matt Roles thumping in a loose ball coming out of there area which he hit through a number of various bodies creating mass celebration throughout the squad. By this time the opposition looked tired and beaten. After more free kicks, cards and a sin bin we finally put the game away when the EBOGs keeper took Gavin Suddell out when he was clean through on goal. Gavin stepped up to take the penalty and made it 3-1.
Looking back it was good to see all the players matching the competitive spirit, in a difficult environment. It is great to have David Greene committing to the rest of the season adding to our talented squad. Now the cobwebs are wiped away we can look forward to the rest of the season with players competing for game time! There were a number of contenders for the man of the match with many consistent performers but it was between 3 players in the end. Alfie Lloyd with another faultless performance in defence and penetrating runs that caused the opposition all sorts of trouble. Chris Morgan Who showed composure when the game was at its most frenetic and his tracking back to help the midfield, as was discussed before we started. And Max Harrowell who swept up and made some crucial headers when the game needed it most. The award goes to Max in the end after much deliberation. The only other thing to add is that we finally seem to be talking more, especially Down the middle with Captain Jake Lawrence, Max and Jack all Piping up!
A final word on our reserve side led by captain Austin Gash. Also yet to lose in their league campaign. They won 3-0 away at Weirside Rangers with players Archie Lloyd, Charlie King and Tyrese Reynolds who have all been part of the first team set up this season stepping up on Saturday. The competitiveness for places between the two sides makes my job very difficult to select a match day squad but a fantastic problem to have. Both the first team and reserves have increased their level of quality so far this season both remaining unbeaten in the league campaigns. A long way to go so lets not take the foot of the gas anytime soon!!
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager