|Date||2 November 2013|
|Result||D 0 - 0|
The 2nd’s went to Stafford with a bit of a mountain to climb. Some last minute call ups from lower teams, a goalkeeper making his 2nd’s debut at the age of 48, exacerbated by an unhelpful cry off twenty minutes before pushback, meant we went to face the team second in the league with a bare eleven, including Rob Hemmings as “walking wounded” who was only meant to be there as emergency cover and ended up selflessly playing the whole game. Given the opposition’s inside knowledge of our players it was clear that they probably expected this to be something of a walk over.
With Rob H staying in the opposition’s 25 as target man, a part of the pitch he is less than familiar with, we had an untried back line and as expected, Stafford piled on the pressure from the start and came close on a couple of occasions early on, but failed to convert. However, the team showed a collective resolve and determination, couple with an excellent work ethic and after the first 15 minutes or so confidence grew and we began to take the game to Stafford going close on a couple of occasions. By way of contrast, whilst Stafford were quick and played a good passing game they rarely seemed to be able to put it all together in the last 25, largely thanks to a great team effort on our part as we constantly broke their moves down. The result was that, other than a couple of breaks down the right that were dealt with, we gave as good as we got and went into half time at 0-0 the far more positive team
The second half was a repeat of the first half really, though by now our confidence was up and Stafford, unable to quite work out why they were not dominating, became more disjointed and frustrated. In fact we probably shaded the second half and could easily have scored 2 or 3 times and ironically as the final whistle went I think Stafford were more relieved to hear it than we were.
A fantastic performance from the team and a result that was well deserved.
Two men of the match – modesty forbids me to make mention of the first* , but Ben Acton was a deserving co-recipient, in a match where many other players had equally good claims on the prize.
* (though if you happen to read Stafford's own report on the game they do refer, in passing, to "3 or 4 magnificent saves from the Old Wolves keeper" - I shall be eating out on this with my sons for weeks to come now!),