We returned from our winter break with a trip to Acton in the AFA cup. The game started in a tight and cautious manner with neither side wanting to give much away. Mckibben had an early chance but pulled his effort wide and while A. Wright, Robinson and Hyde were dealing with their big lad up top we weren’t creating much going forward with too many sloppy passes from both sides meaning there was no real rhythm to the game. It looked and felt like the first game after Christmas. We did string a few lovely moves together with Forbes, Dodimead, L. Smith and Mckibben linking well but to no avail.
As the first half wore on Actonians started to take a bit of a hold on the game with runners from midfield causing us problems. The defence held strong with Bonello and Rae helping out when needed and despite some sustained pressure Kelly in goal barely had a shot to save. We almost took the lead when Robinson popped up with a header that just went over the bar but half time came with no breakthrough and we had a chance to try and sort ourselves out a bit.
We decided to try and push the defence up a bit to give Watson, C. Smith and Forbes a bit less ground to cover but the second half started similarly to the way the first ended. Whist Actonians were getting in to dangerous positions as a team we defended really well and held firm. C. Wright was making his comeback and looked likely up top and worked hard to help out in midfield too, We then grew in to the game and it became more open although still littered with misplaced passes. We then thought we’d won it with about 10 minute to go when the ball came out to Dodimead at the edge of the box and he curled a lovely effort into the far corner only for the referee to disallow it as he’d told Mckibben to “leave it”. It was annoying as no Actonian’s player was nearby so he obviously wasn’t trying to put them off but to be fair to the ref he had given us a couple of free kicks earlier for the same thing, just not at quite a critical stage. Actonians did have a couple of excellent chances too but Kelly was up to them.
So extra time came and quite quickly it became clear we were dead on our feet. Bonello, C. Smith, Robinson and A. Wright were all in need of a rest and C. Wright had reinjured his foot that he’d just come back from being out with for several weeks. We worked hard with Kelly in goal making some crucial save but Actonians were too much for us to keep out and they got their first goal from a cross that was headed in at the far post. A second followed soon after due to some poor marking from a corner and a third was added with a lovely lob after Kelly had come off his line to clear. Kelly also made several other excellent save to keep the score vaguely respectable at the end.
Extra time aside we held our own and could have won but for the disallowed goal, the team worked hard defensively and restricted Actonians to very few clear chances we just lacked a bit of creativity going forward at points, and a bit of fitness at the end. Back to league next week and a change to keep our good unbeaten run (in 90minutes) going.