Scorers: Fullerton, Brade, tbc
So, the season begins anew. After a disappointing end to the last season, Saturday offered a fresh start to build upon for a title challenge. Unfortunately we seemed to forget this for the first 20 minutes and it was like being back in April all over again. We lacked confidence on the ball, confidence with each other and we looked a little bit scared in all honesty. Now, this can be put down to 5 new faces in the side, it’s a difficult level to play and allows no opportunity for selfish play. Southgate were chasing everything and closing down as if they were possessed and it worked. They took a 2 goal lead, not from individual mistakes but rather lack of teamwork, runners not being picked up and some lax passing. I think we were a little shell shocked in all honesty.
Fortunately this is not a story of all doom and gloom, after finding ourselves 2 goals down we started to wake up. Once we got the ball down and started passing to feet we really got a rhythm going, Southgate were penned back quite deep and although we didn’t create many clear cut chance the gulf in technical quality began to show, and we made it count although not in the way you’d expect. We scored from a corner. Yes. That’s right, a set piece goal; a rarity to say the least. So we ended the half only a goal down and looking on the up. The second half started as the first ended, with us dominating possession and controlling the play, after about 15 minutes of play we got the important equalizer, and from another corner. John put in a vicious corner, fast, flat and curling and Kurt puts it in the net. Kurt claims to have read the flight of the ball to a simple tap in, I saw it more like Kurt being hit by the ball which rolled in, either way it was a deserved comeback.
Now, everyone knows what you’re shouted at by your centre halves when you score. “Lads, let’s keep it solid for the next 5 minutes”, yes? Well either someone didn’t shout that or someone didn’t listen and the worst happened. A simple midfield run through the middle a one-two and they were through and scored with a bit of luck. So now 3-2 down and all the hard work thrown away far too easily. But we didn’t throw a fit or going into a strop, we did the right thing. We remembered what we had achieved and went about repeating and we did. Ashley eventually got the equaliser with a lucky/perfectly aimed (delete as appropriate) headed lob from 18 yards, helped by the keeper seemingly not being able to jump or raise his arms over his head.
It ended 3-3, probably a fair result because we didn’t defend well enough as a team to deserve a victory. Its points on the board, but to be honest, if we play like that more often this season, promotion will be well out of our reach. We need to up our game, not only technically but mentally. We need to work for each other and defend and attack as a unit.