Scorers: Dodimead (2)
Many of the 5s turned up at 1 to watch the 8s game only to find the 8s there with no oppo. This meant we had a bit of time to kill so went to do a pitch inspection to see the damage after our battle in boggy conditions last week. The pitch was thankfully in excellent condition and it was obvious a lot of work had gone in during the week to get it to this position. The early arrival also gave us plenty of time to deal with the dead rat that had taken up a good position on the edge of the box. Rat dealt with, we got changed, did a warm up and then booted the ball in the air for a bit until it was time to kick off. Old Finchleans only had 10 men at kick off so the ref delayed it for 5 minutes for their 11th to turn up and off we went, going downhill first half.
It was a bit ragged early on with Finchlean’s looking to get men forward quickly regardless of the fact it often left them open at the back. They got wide and were causing problems that were being dealt with on the whole. Giovanni worked hard against their quick and tricky left winger and Rae and Robinson were having to pump the ball clear more often than expected. Cook who had stepped up to help us out in goal made a couple of smart stops but we didn’t learn our lesson and when a cross came in from the left their striker pulled away to the far post and was left unmarked to head home.
We hadn’t really created too much apart from some long balls forward which Dodimead and Smith had chased down well and caused trouble in their defence. We had worked hard but never got a grip of the game, Waston and McCley battled in midfield but were outnumbered and it was not until Knight who was back in after several weeks out dropped in to help them that we got on top of them. Knight had a good header well saved just before half time but on the whole we weren’t at the level we needed to be. Their gung-ho approach had made it hard for us for us to get in to the game and they deserved their lead.
We spoke about working harder on and off the ball and being a bit calmer when in possession. We started the second half up the hill and immediately looked a lot more confident. We passed the ball around well going backwards when nothing was on going forward, which is something we hadn’t done enough of. Doyle and Hyde were seeing more and more of the ball and were starting to get forward. We didn’t just keep the ball though we got it into the final third and looked a lot more dangerous. The equaliser came when Knight hit a long shot which the keeper did well to turn on to the post, Smith was following up and crossed to Dodimead who slotted it home. We weren’t level for long though and when a long ball was played forwarded by Rae, Dodimead read the flight better than anyone else and was through on goal. It’s a bit of a blur from here but it ended with Dodimead on the ground on his back, with his head in the 6 yard box but his feat near the penalty spot but he still managed to hook the ball home to give us a 2-1 lead.
Unfortunately we didn’t keep our calm patient football going after this but this was partly due to Finchleans upping their game and throwing bodies forward. The defence were dealing with most of them and we were working hard as a team with Newsom and Smith getting back to help Hyde and Doyle out and it seemed like we would hang on. We even had more chances to kill off the game as Smith got forward and drilled the ball into the box a few times but it either ricocheted off players and away to safety or missed everyone.
The equaliser came for them from a throw from the left that was worked to a man on the edge of the box who turned and hit a great effort that Cook had no chance with. The last 10 minutes were a bit edgy with neither side willing to commit enough forward to try and win for fear of losing. It finished 2-2 which was a fair result overall.
If we had played like we did for most of the second half all the way through we would have won this game and we did well to come back from 1 down at half time especially having to go up hill the second half. Knight somehow managed to come through a full 90 mins, after only playing 30 mins all season, to help us see the game through. Hopefully this is the start of a longer run of games as he’s been a big loss this season. Another point which keeps us mid table with still 6 more league games to go. Next up is Old Park 5s, who we were unlucky to lose 1-0 to after playing the first half with 10 men earlier in the year. As long as we have 11 men all game we’re in with a good chance.