Scorers: Pope, N’Gola
We started playing some really good football, knocking it around with ease and creating plenty of chances. Dan knocked it in from the edge of the box, it came off their defender and Tris poked it home, 1-0. We were looking in control of the game and like we were going to push on and get a few more, but then the game swung in a nightmare 5 minutes. First the ref gave a dubious free kick which was still quite far out, it was curling but straight at the keeper, unfortunately Gus spilt it (to be fair it was slippery conditions right Gus?) and they beat us to the follow-up to make it 1-1. Seconds later we gave the ball away and their one decent player went on a run and no one could put in a tackle. The space opened up and he slotted it home, making it 2-1. It was sloppy and we should have done better. Still we kept our heads up and came back at them, more chances came and went without us really testing their keeper. Then a long angled ball from Vamps caught our defence flat footed, their striker latched on to it and tried to take it past Gus, who made a good block, but the ball rebounded kindly to the striker, as a slid across the face of the goal to intercept Mike tried to make a recovering challenge and brought the guy down, the ref pointed to the spot. Unfortunately for us it was very well taken, and we found ourselves staring at a 3-1 deficit completely against the run of play.
At half time we felt confident we could get ourselves back in it. After the restart Banny took the game to them, scoring a good goal to bring it back to 3-2. Again we were camped in their half for long periods, having numerous corners and several free kicks around their area, but nothing would land for us. The Vamps started to break up the flow with lots of fouls and we had a further set back when Miguel pulled up with a hamstring injury after what had been a strong debut. When Vamps won a dubious corner with 15 to go the ball landed at Ditmar’s feet, but his unfortunate misskick went straight into the path of a Vamps player from 6 yards out. And that was pretty much that, it was clearly not our day. It was disappointing that towards the end we lost our shape and looked ragged, even a Vamps sending off didn’t help our cause. With 5 to go he stuck out a hand to stop a through ball putting Tris in and having already been booked they finished the game with 10. Still it was a goal we desperately needed and on a day like today nothing went our way.
So it was a very disappointing end. The positives were the way we knocked the ball around in the first half hour, the fact that two of our strikers got on the scoresheet and both Robin coming back into the team and Miguel starting his first looked good. Sadly they were outweighed by the negatives; way too many individual mistakes, misplaced passes, over-hit crosses, ballooned free kicks. It was criminal that we didn’t test their keeper enough and wasted too many chances. Overall we deserved more luck and a lot of decisions went against us. The scoreline in no way represented the one sided nature of this game, one which we could and should have won. But we need to be more clinical and cut out the errors. Now we pick ourselves up again and get back up for it next game. Looks like we have a point to prove…
Man of the match: Pope