With one game a piece in our previous meetings this season, we took on Croxley Panthers for the 3rd time in just 4 weeks and slipped, skidded and slided our way to a superb 2 – 1 away win.
On a pitch that bore barely a blade of grass, and with the pouring rain turning the game into something of a mud-fest, we battled throughout, stuck together as a unit and won out deserved winners.
The first 20 minutes was very much our purple patch with us creating by far the most chances but struggling in the mud to produce anything of enough quality to really close the game out as we did 2 weeks ago. We did however hit the net first with Sammy putting us a goal up six or seven minutes into the game.
We continued to create chances, without any end product, up until about 10 minutes to go in the half when we seemed to step off the pedal a little, stopped harrying them when they were in possession, and allowed them to start drifting into our half. In one of those forays into our half, they did get the wrong side of our defence and we were quite harshly adjusted to have brought the player down in the box for a Croxley penalty. That said, if ever there’s a player you want in goal for such a situation, then it is Matt (aka ‘the cat’) and, having read the script, he made a great save down to his left to deny Croxley a goal.
Unfortunately, Croxley had the wind in their sales at this point and within 2 or 3 minutes they broke through again to take the score to 1 – 1 at half-time.
The second half was a slightly different affair as with the rain making the pitch even slippier, we struggled at times to play the ball out of our half and Matt was called into action a few more times than in the first half to make close range saves. With the pace in our team we did however look menacing on the break, and having missed the couple of opportunities that had fallen to us, with 10 minutes to go Sammy broke through again and completed his brace to take the score to 2 – 1.
The last 5 minutes of the game was a nervy affair, and did become somewhat overheated at one point (no cards were actually shown!) but the boys battled through to protect our lead and even nearly increased it with a few moments to go.
This was a truly spirited performance form the boys which sees us climb another couple of places up the table.
All the boys had solid games today, the boys at the back, including Matt, were tremendous in the trickiest of conditions, the mid-field were spirited, but man of the match goes to Sammy for taking his opportunities when they came to him.