Tough report this one – no one likes reading about a 3-0 reverse. But the score line isn’t a great reflection of the game.
A slightly depleted reserves line-up was missing a few regulars but actually started quite brightly on the lovely, if small, lawns at Finchlians. Had we taken an early chance – and there were several, especially through the industry and pace of Aaron – we’d probably have won at a canter. We were managing their threat fairly well until they scored following a clear fowl from a corner. We can’t blame the ref who got about as many wrong in favour of either team over the course of the game, and we had a chance to clear our lines before the ball was smashed home pretty emphatically. That got them going and took the wind from our sails a bit. We dug in and did okay for a period and were still making and missing chances. Aaron deserves another mention as he was the spearhead of most of the best things we did but couldn’t find the net or the killer square ball when it mattered. He’ll have much better days, that is for sure.
We were being overrun a bit though until we pulled a striker into midfield and started to get more control. Half time came and went and we got fresh legs onto the pitch, reverting to 4-4-2 again. We battled fairly gamely but they had the better of it – we couldn’t get our game going. It’s difficult to say exactly why, but the middle of midfield was suffering a bit as we lacked a little energy and bite in there due to a changed squad. In retrospect keeping the extra man in there may have been wiser.
Their second was well taken we got turned around and they threaded through the defence which was left slightly vulnerable by a tiring central midfield pair. The third came as we were chasing the game – it happens. We over committed looking to get back into it and got hit on the counter.
Hard to be overly critical, if we played them ten times, even though we were miles below our best, we’d have beaten them nine times because we had 7-8 really good chances. But we didn’t score. Another day we’d have won not playing very well. Plenty to work on for next week but there’s no reason to throw out either baby or bathwater just yet.
Honourable mentions to Matt who looked every bit a reserves level goalie and made a couple of Bardgeesque saves, Dave Mac who is (in my opinion) playing as well as I have ever seen him play at the moment, Oz and Dan who looked as assured as ever and didn’t let heads go down and Ollie who worked his socks off. We’ll have better days and there is nothing in this division to fear except too many days like this when we under-perform.