The overall club availability is a funny thing, as we lined up this week mob handed with 15 players and 1 supporter (thank you Terry), and was a far cry from 2 weeks ago when we were barely getting a team out. Indeed we looked like the opening scene from X-Factor with enough youngsters to make up Stereo-Kicks and enough oldies to make up the judging panel – not saying who was scary spice, but he umpired the ladies game before us, and got very angry with the umpires in our game.
Into a home game vs. 3rd place Thames Valley 1s, and nothing to lose. OK so we had a game to lose, but funnily enough that wasn’t the deliberate plan. Team selection was interesting if not challenging, but we started really well and our determination and youth, mixed with some decent skill and really playing as team paid off as Matt Breese who complained about being left back drifted up in to their D, received a deflection on the edge of the D and placed the ball back in (with a curious bobble we may add) into the goal for a 1-0 lead. First half was really close, and I genuinely feel (and this was endorsed by the only supporter Terry) that we were the better team and could actually steal a win here. Thames Valley scored 2 more, one which was a lucky short corner flick which deflected off Matt Smith’s back away from Ollie who otherwise was stopping most shots. We replied with goals from Jamie Perkins, and whom thankfully made my very wide shot on goal look like a perfect pass to Jamie on the far post for a tap-in, and Matt Smith getting his revenge with a short-corner hit deflecting off a defenders foot and into the Thames Valley goal for 3-3 at half time.
This was as usual a game of 2 halves, and whilst the actual play was evenly placed, the goal tally’s sort of drifted apart a bit. Perhaps bad luck, perhaps more clinical finishing by Thames Valley, perhaps that skilful/annoying aerial from the back, but Thames Valley scored another 3. We battled hard, and finally rewarded with Jack dribbling into their D, realising he was on his strong side, and he could not reverse shot it in (?) and for once placed the ball beyond the keepers reach for a 6-4 end score line.
So a 10 goal thriller, and seems wrong to score 4, play well and lose, but that’s Hockey for you. Thames Valley were the better team (just) and had more clinical finishing, but we gave them a good game. Results see Thames Valley move up to 2nd place and us down to 8th; but 3 teams sit below us in the drop zone of doom, and a single win could see us jump 2 if not 3 places next week. Must win game vs. Addiscombe next week. Steve