Today’s game saw us come up against league leaders Harvesters North who have started the season strongly having won all four of their opening league fixtures.
Watching the Harvesters team play, it was clear where their success has come from as they played excellent football throughout, passing the ball through the team and very much demonstrating the type of football we try to get our boys to play.
That said, today, even with a couple of boys missing and a couple carrying injuries, we did not let them have it all their own way and certainly gave them something to think about.
To a ‘man’ we battled all over the pitch, tried to close them down and tried to make sure they played their football outside of the danger areas. It was a tough ask and when they did break through for the first time, 5 or 10 minutes in, we could have dropped our heads and allowed them to knock up a cricket score, but instead we dug in deep and started to have a few attacks of our own.
When we did get the ball, we attacked with pace, Sammy again giving the opposition trouble breaking from midfield and with some success down the left hand side with Romeo linking well.
Whilst it took some sophisticated goal-line technology (or at least a very honest Harvesters’ linesman) to register that Romeo’s shot had crossed the line, it was no less than the boys deserved.
The goal seemed to both unsettle Harvesters’ rhythm and give our boys a sense that there was more and we started to mount more and more attacks.
Harvesters were still holding onto the ball well though and they did manage to break though again to take the score to 2 – 1 at half-time.
We had little to say to the boys at half-time, other than to try and keep our shape as it was clear that Harvesters were letting the ball do most of the work when they had possession and that we were the more likely to tire first.
About 10 minutes from the end we undid a lot of the hard work we had done when Harvesters knocked a speculative ball through our defence which we seemed to stop and just watch as Harvesters sent 4 men after it. Kieran, standing in for Matt in goal was unlucky not to get to the ball first as we went 3 – 1 down.
We have seen Harvesters run out in the second half against us before so again it was a test of our mental strength whether we could now stop them piling in with more goals. We again responded tremendously and Ben was unfortunate not to get our second when his shot across the face of goal rebounded off the post and we couldn’t quite get the rebound in.
Both side continued to create chances, and we managed to play long spells of the second half in Harvesters half, but there were no more goals with the final score ending as 3 – 1 to Harvesters.
It was difficult to pick a man of the match today with great performances from Keiran in goal, Ollie and Barsa in defence, Sammy as our attacking centre mid, Romeo out wide and all the boys who rotated through the rest of the mid-field, but given our successes today came from sheer hard work and determination, the man of the match goes to Adam who really exemplified this chasing up and down the pitch and putting in a real shift on behalf of the team.
Well done to all of the boys