|Date||20 December 2014|
|Result||W 3 - 2|
|Time played||Normal time|
Another top of the table clash, which after losing 6-3 to Stafford in a friendly last week on a frozen pitch we knew would be difficult. We knew that they would take opportunities presented to them and that they were good at following up half cleared shots.
The game started off with both teams playing a tight game. After about 10 minutes Kram Lally went down challenging for the ball in Stafford’s D, as a result of which he hurt his back. He battled on but having aggravated it further when just trying to hit the ball, he had to retire hurt. We had not got a substitute so were down to 10 men. However we continued to work hard as a team, not letting Stafford settle, and probably had an equal share of possession. With 2 quick and hungry strikers Stafford were always going to be a threat on the break. Sure enough after around 20 minutes they attacked hard and fast and put in a quick cross from the goal line, which their oncoming attacker only had to touch to score, which he did. Their second goal came about 5 minutes later from a short corner.
For all our effort with 10 men in the first half we had not had a strike on goal and against such a strong team it looked as though it was going to be an uphill battle just to contain them. When we were 2-0 up at half time in our last game against Leek Andy had told us a 2-0 lead was a dangerous thing, and we must have remembered this!
For the second half we had a slight re-jig of the midfield which strengthened our right attack. This gave us the majority of the possession in the second half, but it was not until about half way through that we won a short corner, which Adam Tustin struck, it took a deflection off a Stafford player and hit the net, but it was an agonising wait until the umpire decided it was a goal.
With just over 5 minutes to go Puv Samra powered a trademark cross in towards the goal where Barrie Sheldon was ideally placed to put his stick out and guide the ball into the goal.
The score back at 2-2 we thought we had got out of gaol, and needed just to keep it tight to make sure we did not concede a late goal. We gained possession around our 25 and Andy Hamilton was shouting himself hoarse to encourage John Murray and Ed Carver just to take the ball into Stafford’s far corner, which they eventually did then decided to take the ball into the D and won a short corner. From the melee with Barrie positioned by the goalkeeper, the ball came to him and he stuck his stick out to score the winning goal.
Barrie was so delighted with his winning goal that after play restarted he thought he deserved a Christmas card from the umpire so he comprehensively took out one of Stafford’s midfielders as they were coming through to our 25. Sure enough the umpire sent Barrie a green card which all helped to run the clock down and sure enough the game was over as soon as Stafford took their free hit. An excellent result.
So we finish the first half of the season 3 points clear, will we be able to keep it up over the second half? Sadly for us we will be missing Puv Samra who has been a magnificent full back for us, winning the ball with confidence and striking it with venom. His aerials out of defence have been magnificent and have caused plenty of problems for our opponents. We wish Puv all the best for his medical studies in Grenada (it’s a tough life), and we will miss his fantastic contributions to the team.