Scorers :Watson, Dodimead, Smith
We started slow, very slow, partly due to the fact that half our team had been dragged off so our backs could be photoed while we didn’t warm up, but also due to the slope and the 4s good patient play. The first half was the most one sided half we’ve been in this season. We barely got out of our half and when we did it was mainly long balls to clear that Dodi, Forbes and Smith struggled to chase down. It was pretty relentless and after 15 mins we went one down when we failed to clear out lines, there was a bit of an air shot in defence and Emmanuel was through and tucked away nicely.
We were being overrun in midfield despite working hard and were making panicked clearances at the back, typified by a misjudged header by Rae which Cook superbly tipped over the bar. We were, on the whole, defending well with Robinson and Wright battling hard against Emmanuel who was holding the ball up incredibly well and using his pace to turn and get at us. He managed to spin away a couple of times and fired shots at Cook who saved well. Doyle was keeping fairly quiet and McCley, Bell and Watson were covering a lot of ground in midfield but we just weren’t organised as a team and so left gaps for them to pick their way through. With the ball we weren’t calm enough, either smashing it away back to them or dribbling too much and losing the ball in dangerous positions. This continued and with 5 mins until half time it looked like we might escape only being 1 down at half time. Unfortunately, we failed to get rid when we had the chance to and then Boon fired in from the edge of the box despite a flick or a Robinson boot and a Cook glove.
We started the second half aware that we needed to change our organisation and composure on the ball and we were instantly better. Our passing was quicker and more purposeful, our movement off the ball created more options and we had a bit more fight than the first half. This step up caught the 4s off guard and we scored three quick goals to turn the tie on its head. Firstly Duane won a 50:50 burst past another player into the edge of the box and scooped the ball into the far corner. Lazarou, who came on at half time, looked very good on the ball and was involved in the second goal when he knocked down a Forbes cross to Dodimead who found himself in all sorts of space in the box, had time to take a touch and hit a sweet, unstoppable shot past Thompson. Almost from kick off we took the lead when Dodimead chased the ball down, was fouled by Dudmish and Smith floated a free kick straight in from 35 yards. Somewhere amongst this Dodimead hit the bar with a header and a dubious foul on the keeper prevented another goal.
The second half then finally settled down and became more of an even match. Forbes drove at the defence a few time, Rae took the first and second foul throw of his career which summed up his game. Duane and Bell dominated the midfield until Duane swapped with McCley, ridiculously both being booked by the ref for not being notified, despite him being notified, who took over all the hard work he was doing. The game was still open but with few chances being created due to the hard working defences. Towards the end a cross was put in from the left and Banny rose well to direct a header back across goal and into the far corner.
3-3 (again) was a fair result as the 4s should have been out of sight at half time, but we had the better of the second and battled back superbly well. A really enjoyable game and good to share a few drinks with the 4s afterwards.
We will continue the battle next season…