The score does not reflect the immense effort put in by the squad this week.
The defining moment came after 15 minutes when Oliver was injured with the score at 0-0. Not only did we lose our goalie, playing well and decisive again as a sweeper keeper, we also effectively lost Will to replace him from his strong position at full-back; the whole team needed to adjust. We then lost Will shortly afterwards until half time with an injury. However, the boys rose to the challenge and continued to frustrate the table toppers by keeping possession of the ball on this fast pitch (a major improvement on last week). We were just about edging the contest in midfield and created some chances early on.
Lewis and Henry combined well as holding midfielders and, with Josh, Jack P-B and Joe P providing additional defensive support this week, we looked much more solid, to the relief of the back four. A penalty and a second goal eventually saw the visitors take the lead but Fred struck back just before half time and we entered the break at 1-2.
With Lewis playing more defensively, we had an additional midfielder willing to head the ball effectively and maintain pressure on the opposition. Barney continued to out-jump some of the taller players and Jamie and Jack F covered each other well physically, blocking off several of the opposition’s attacking moves. George and Morgan also played their part and overall we were looking in good shape. An unfortunate goal was conceded early in the second period (1-3) before Joe P ran through the defence to squeeze in his 11th goal of the season from an acute angle (2-3). A good fourth goal took Wells to 2-4 before Fred finished off another intricate move to claw the score back to within one goal. For the last 15 minutes we did start to look weary and our play less precise, whereas Wells remained strong; they slotted 3 more goals towards the end and the final score was more disappointing than our performance deserved.
Fred again earned special mention; doggedly determined to press the opposition, he won balls that might have been lost earlier in the season. Also bagging 2 goals, he is definitely in the groove. Lewis was imperious in his defensive duties; prepared to be strong and physical whether on the ground, in the air, on the sea and on the beaches, we hope others will follow this example. After half a season of waiting for an effective counter-attack, Barney twice ran from deep to offer a wing back option; on the first occasion, he didn’t get the ball, but on the second, Joe P broke from midfield and found Barney running at pace, offering a great opportunity to attack quickly and effectively. If we can do this from full-back more often, we will prosper from the additional attacking option that this offers. The full-backs need to be fit, but they will enjoy the game more as they become increasingly involved in attacking aspects of the game.