Scorers: Stevenson, Spencer
After a six week layoff the 4s returned to action with an away trip to league leading Norsemen.
We started the game on the front foot with Norsemen initially struggling to get going. Jones and Carpenter controlled the centre of the park and we looked dangerous when playing down the wings with some great crosses into the box from Earle and O’Leary. We took the lead with a pinpoint cross by O’Leary from the right which Stevenson converted with a twisting header. Norsemen equalised shortly afterwards when a through ball down the right found their winger one on one who made no mistake. We continued having the better of the midfield and took the advantage again when, following an O’Leary corner was initially cleared, we recovered the ball and another pinpoint cross from O’Leary found Spencer at the back post who smartly volley home. We pressed for a third but were caught on the break and a cross from the left found an on rushing Norseman at the back post to side foot in another equaliser. The rest of the half was very much end to end with Norseman neutralised by a combination of astute tactical fouling and some great goalkeeping by Lloyd with the stand out save seeing him deflect a shot bound for the top corner onto the cross bar to the disbelief of the Norseman striker. We also created plenty of chances to score through Stevenson, who couldn’t turn the ball in after an Earle slalom down the left, and Earle sliding in at the back post and just putting the ball wide from yet another O’Leary cross after a great team move.
Second half saw Norsemen up the pressure on our midfield two with the number 12 in particular putting in some robust challenges one of which led to a brief bout of handbags with Carpenter. This was followed up shortly afterwards with a late studs showing tackle on Long which the protesting Spencer was informed was “the best tackle you have ever seen mate” – the ref obviously not agreeing and booking the player. In between all this Norsemen had taken a two goal advantage first via a scrappy goal when we failed to clear the ball and then via a towering header from their centre forward which wouldn’t have looked out of place in an Andy Carrol highlight reel. Compared to the first half we really struggled to get to grips with the increasingly muddy conditions which cut off out supply line to the strikers. We created a couple of half chances but never really troubled the Norsemen keeper.
Once again a mixed performance, we looked very good in the first half and should probably have had a couple more goals at the break while Norsemen showed why they are leading the league as they had just that bit more belief and intensity in the second half while our heads dropped a little once they had taken the lead.
Squad: Edwards, McGlogan, Long, J.Smith, Fox, McMorran, Jones, Carpenter, Earle, Forbes, Tolcher, T.Spencer, Stevenson, O’Leary