Urban menace: reserve skipper Mcloughlin lost a battle of wits with a garden gate this week
I cannot make my mind up about this one. Was it a good performance or a bad one? Was it a point gained or a point dropped? Did we defend heroically or suffer from profligate finishing? Still, a point is better than nothing.
A post-training tussle with his garden gate, and the tetanus jab that followed robbed the Ressies of their talismanic Skipper Macca (yes that it right!), but we were still able to name a full squad of 14. (At this point, many of the team will be scratching their heads saying ‘training? What is that?’ – The past 2 weeks there have been 2 Reserve team players at training. Clearly not on. Get your ample rumps to training and these games we shall win!!)
After the outstanding performance last week, it would be hard to leave any player out, but with Sam Morris dropping down from the 1’s, Ben Carter was the unlucky man. Tough decisions need to be made, but as the Gaffer keeps telling us, we are a 14 man team, not a squad. Elion and Moruzzi made up the other substitutes. Stimpy went up to the ones so we turned to the more than capable custodian Bardgie.
Fair player to Groundsman Mark Carter, considering the rain we had this week, he did a grand job to get the pitch playable – it was better than Norseman’s last week in similar conditions!
To the game – all the early pressure and chances were ours. Tom was put clean through but the oppo keeper saved well with his legs. Soon after, he did the same from his own fullback, and then from the resulting corner, got a hand to a bullet header by German. Zack was absolutely tearing his fullback a new one every time he got the ball, but our final ball was letting us down. Also, we made some poor decisions in our use of the ball – Poor old Kieron was stuck on the left, had acres of space but we were still trying to force the ball down the congested middle. One of the few times we got the ball wide to Kier, he swung in a great low cross that Goal Machine Spencer volleyed home from 10 for his 9th of the season.
We were well on top, and kept on racking up the chances, but were allowing OF back in to the game with poor decisions – the only time they were getting any joy was when we gave the ball away, through poor decision making. We were also reactive rather than proactive – those watching lost count of the amount of times we stood still and let balls drop or did not chase second balls. Even so, OF failed to muster a meaningful effort in the first half.
The second half was a strange affair – OF really coming into it, and us continuing our poor decisions and panicking because of it. Their equaliser came when our defence pushed up for an imaginary offside, and when no whistle came, instead of running back to try and catch the fella we waved our arms in the air and began to moan, giving Bardgie no chance. From this we began to panic, ceding territory and defending dangerously deep. Wanting to utilise the squad, and keep him fresh for next week we replaced Zack for Elion, who had a good chance to score, but clearly was not yet fit to play and had to come off after 10 minutes on the pitch, with Ben coming on for him.
The remainder of the game was ebb and flow, and we nearly nicked it in the closing minutes when Tom, Kieron and Egan were foiled by wonder saves by the keeper.
So what have we learned from this game – some important things;
1. Everyone has off days, and I think this was one of ours. Good to get a point though – earlier in the season we would have capitulated.
2. Too many people were far too concerned with proceedings in the Arsenal-Spurs game. So much so that one player was watching it 20 minutes before the game – not even changed.
3. There was a casual attitude before the game that we have not had in a while, but I did not like. Play Sunday football if that’s your approach.
4. We need to take our chances – I reckon we had 12 shots on target, and they had 2. That does not add up.
Really important to do better next week lads! Get to training!!!
Man of the Match – Oppo Keeper – could have been 5 without him.
Team: Bardgett, Fabb, Nugent (Moruzzi), Egan, Simpson, Wootten, Mbelo, O’Leary, Morris, Amankwah (Kenga) (Carter), Spencer.