For the second time this season, we left Norsemen last Saturday with 3 points in the league after a well deserved result.
After winning the toss, we decided to play against the hill and strong sun for the first half. To go in at half time 0-0 was a good omen considering the conditions. The surface was good but the sun was quite low in the sky and from the back, we could not distinguish our orange kit from Norsemen’s! Maybe that’s why we had a better pass completion rate than normal!
Norsemen’s only plan was to counter attack by playing ball after ball over the top. Thanks to some great goalkeeping and defending, their threats were nullified time after time. All of the decent football of the half was played by us. Down the wings, Jack and Nathan put the full backs under pressure and Mel and Rich held the middle well. Mel was unlucky when his header came back off the crossbar and Rich should have had a penalty for a definite foul in the area. Even the Norsemen defenders couldn’t keep away from his Egyptian sun tan! Our only negatives were the number of times that we lost possession after being caught off-side, mentioning no names…Rob…and also the ease at how sometimes they were able to counter attack in numbers without being tracked by their markers. At half time, we enjoyed some much needed oranges (my thanks to who ever brought them, I forgot to ask at the time) and agreed that the game was there for the taking.
We started the second half well, playing down hill and playing some good football. Up front, Spencer and Rob were holding up possession and allowing midfield to link up with them. Harald and Ryan also assisted well going forward. Despite dominating the early encounters, any time that Norsemen attacked they looked dangerous. Manuel was tested time and again but they failed to beat the big German! However, we continued to play with confidence. John Scantlebury entered shortly after the break and helped to shore up the midfield. Eventually we were rewarded after a good passage of play when Rob’s cross found Mel at the back post shouting “back post NOW NOW” and he finished with a good header into the top corner. The last twenty minutes of the game felt like ninety! The ref who had a good game, stopped his watch with precision each time there was a stoppage. Every second was added and we began to feel the pressure. Mark Smith came in at right back to help settle things down and help out as Norsemen launched long throw after long throw. Rich Fryer also helped settle things down with his “Let’s calm the %&*# down AP” comment! Each time we cleared our lines and Manuel made some absolutely fantastic saves when required to keep Norsemen scoreless. Even the ref was applauding his saves they were that good!
So far in the league this Norsemen team has scored an average of four goals per game. It was a fantastic result to win away and keep them scoreless and has now put us back in 4th place in the league.
Well done everybody, some brilliant performances all over the pitch but we would not have come away with 3 points had Manuel not put in a Man of the Match performance. Well done Herr Veth! Also, safe travelling to Spencer who played his last game for us on Saturday before he returns to California. Everyone will agree that he was a great addition to our team this season. Top man.
Team: Manuel Veth, Ryan Taylor (Mark Smith), James Goodrum, Mike Myers, Harald Krefting, Nathan Mellows, Mel Loughnane, Richard Fryer, Jack Dudmish (John Scantlebury), Spencer Brooks, Robert Blade.