Scorers: Fletcher, Tullett
We finished 2011 with 2 bad results, first at Old Stationers 5s which we lost 3-0 in what we’ll be remembered as “the good, the bad and the ugly”, followed the week after by visitor EBOGS 7s close winner 4-3, it’s a shame we only had half our normal squad but thanks to the boys from the 8s for helping us out.
So with the festive break over, what better game to start the new year with than our own “El Clasico” hosting AP 8s at the “Alberto road estadio”. We were extremely disappointed that we’d lost 1-0 away in a close encounter few month ago and knew we would face another big challenge or two or three… but were confident enough we could win this time.
So onto the match, which to tell you the truth I can’t remember much into details, starting an hour before when Nigel rang me to remind me that the home team wears the away kit, quick detour to the club house and by the time I finally arrived Nigel this time informed me that the 8s has claimed the home team changing room. Their tactic was obvious, anything to destabilise us, in fact right up to KO when they won the toss and decided to swap ends. Well it seemed to work, as the first 15-20min we were all over the place and having a bit of a bumpy ride, mind so were everybody else on the pitch as the lack of proper grass was making hard for passing football.
But we slowly started to get a grip with the game, solid in defence, controlling the midfield and created few chances which finally paid off when from a corner (or cross?) Fletcher the predator was there to slot the clearance from few yards. Things were looking good and it wasn’t long before from a neat pass through their defence that Fletcher was brought down in the penalty area by the 8s keeper, Tullet coolly converted, 2-0. But good things never last that long in the 7s, a combination of the oppos rediscovered “enthusiasm” and a defensive mistake the 8’s scored a goal, 2-1.
With Malloy & Manning unable to carry on after picking up injuries in the last 10min of the first half, my planed tactical substitutions went out of the window at the break and a straight swap the only option, came on Roberts at right mid & Harriman at right back.
We started the second period the same we ended the first, on the back foot, disorganised, but fair do to the 8s, they pressurised us and got under our skin. Watching on the touch line, our recovering captain Andy Brough must have regretted not bringing his boots. But embarrassing as it was, I became more vocal, shouting very loud to be precise, which seemed to work, their keeper putting some great saves until the key moment of the game, when Josh through in their penalty area was taking down once again by their number one, pity the ref didn’t see it like everybody else, that could been 3-1 and possibly game over, but instead after cheaply losing the ball from our own free kick, a quick cross to Bagley on the turn scored a great goal, 2-2. Both team held ‘til the end.
“El Clasico” it was, maybe not for all the good reason, and once again we feel we should have won it, while I’m sure the 8s feel they probably deserved the draw.
Team: Kendall(GK), Malloy(RB), Ricardo(CB), € Caudebec(CB), Tullet(LB), Kennedy(DM), Manning(RM), Brown(CM), Causer(CM), Rose(LM) and Fletcher(CF)
Sub: Roberts(RM) and Harriman(RB)