The 8’s left the pitch on Saturday in good spirits. We managed a fantastic 0-0 against high fliers Old Finchleians 7’s. A clean sheet for us marks a turn in form – in our previous three games we have conceded a total of at least a million goals.
We had a few new faces this week and all the lads played with composure from the off with solid defending at the foundation of our display. Gael and Daniel played their way out from the back with style, rarely putting a foot wrong whilst Junior, Bryce and Liam all put in fantastic shifts in midfield. Rumours that Junior had not played 90 minutes for over three years surely can’t be true on that display!
Special mention this week must go to goalkeeper Tony Bent who was felled by an onrushing attacker in the first 15 minutes and lost all feeling in his arm, we feared a nasty break – if that had happened to any other player in the team they’d have been off, Tony wanted to play on, and play on he did! He commanded his area with authority and made at least three brilliant saves – the most noteable from a free kick in the last ten minutes. Well played Tony.
The first half saw AP battle, we passed the ball well and shut down the oppo early – we were controlling the midfield with Eric and Andy doing their fair share of tracking back, tackling and making a nuisance of themselves. Edd played through some lovely balls but alas we could not make them count. We definitely did not have the match our own way though Old Finchleians 7 are a good young team and they caused us a few problems themselves, what was impressive was the fact that AP never shirked a tackle the whole game and the commitment continued through the team.
Half time saw a couple of changes, Will on for Edd and Adam on for Eric and AP now started to dominate. We were more expansive in the second half, spraying early balls with Liam and Nial getting more space on the wings. Liam came close to a debut goal but just dragged his effort wide of the target. Andy had the ball in the net before too long after a Jenkins shot destined for the far corner was pushed into his path by the keeper but it was (incorrectly) ruled out for offside. Harsh, that bad decision cost us a win. Andy is just too quick over those first five yards sometimes!
We seemed to kick on in the second half with accurate passing a key feature of our game and good little one – two’s sparking off attacking moves. We were definitely in the ascendancy for the first 30 mins of the 2nd half but to be fair to them if Tony had not brilliantly pushed their playmaker’s free kick over the bar in the last ten mins they would have walked away with the points.
A tinge of disappointment not to take the win, especially considering we scored a legitimate goal but Not getting spanked is priceless. This can only bode well for the rest of the 8’s season. Roll on the next game!
M.O.M – A very tricky one this week but my shout goes to a stalwart of the 8’s :
Mr. Dependable: Emlyn ‘The Rock’ Robbins was solid at the back – won everything that came his way on the ground and more importantly in the air and very nearly had the assist of the game.