When Saturday comes we awake bright eyed and bushy tailed. The wait is over, the weekend has come and we get to chase a pseudoleather sphere around a rectangular grassy area. Brilliant.
After a disappointing fortnight, the 3s were looking to overcome this ‘blip’ and look to climb the table. We faced a Merton side who turned up en masse and on time. Something we struggle with on weekly basis, so they were already doing better than us and the match hadn’t even started. Anyway, to the match, dissection will come later.
So we started shooting downhill with a slightly modified back line, a changed midfield but a tried and tested front line and we started ok. The defence needed some time to get organised so we allowed them a few breaks including one 1-on-1 whichever as thankfully put wide, eventually we tightened up and kept a lid on a charming, charismatic and eager Merton side. Attacking wise, we were doing ok too. We even went 1-0 up. Ashley with a botched cross-goal header which ended up in the goal. We’ll take that. To be honest by this point we probably should have had at least another, but in every opportunity we had the lines were fluffed and Merton escaped. Nonetheless the first half performance was not too shabby. We had most of the ball and were playing it around well, perhaps need a bit more composure and self-belief but the positives outwieghed the negatives at this point.
Now, the 2nd half. A half we didn’t start until we were 15 minutes in and 2-1 down. I’m not going to say much about the goals, or the referee because I don’t want to throw my iPad across the room in rage. Regardless they happened and we found ourself in a battle against a team who were committed, physical and a little bit insane. A personal favourite moment was a two man strop when a player subbed by their manager, followed by two minutes of vitriolic abuse of the boss man. Regardless of their charm, they outfought us for those 20 minutes and that’s what cost us not only one point, but all three. To cut a long story short, we pushed on, had some chances, hit the crossbar and then conceded another questionable goal (thanks ref).
Now the dissection.
Gentlemen. If you weren’t with us last year you may not know we won our division and are now at a higher level. We did very well last year, almost a perfect season and it provided me with some fantastic footballing memories. But that has gone. We’re now at a higher level. A lever where opposition will be physical, will be tough and will push you. They will not let you run rings around them. They will give you hell. We have lost 3/4 games in the league so far, we’ve not been outplayed for 90 minutes, nor are we technically inferior to any of the sides we’ve faced. But we’ve been outfought at times. They want it more. And that is disgraceful. If you are going to turn up on Saturdays and are not willing to fit for 90 minutes and 3 points, then in all honesty consider why you bothered turning up at all. We’re not in a position to carry people, we need to work hard as a team to get back up the level we should be at. ANd this has to happen soon. In fact it needs to happen on Saturday. This isn’t an easy time, people will get frustrated with each other when were not winning, but if we work hard enough we’ll get over this hill and start to climb the table. If we don’t work hard enough.. Who knows?