One Step Closer
By Gordon Allan
but one step at a time
After our first fixture against Rottenrow, where we were caught on the back foot a little but ultimately came away with a victory, I'd like to say we were a little bit more prepared this time.
However with both the 1's and 2's having important fixtures as well, the 3's were left a little ravaged losing 3 regular players and scrambling for players as late as midnight on Friday night. Captains/Coaches/Committee need to ensure priorities are set correctly across the club as well as their individual teams eg promotion back into the Central 1 League for the 3's plays into the bigger picture for The Club and it was a shame to see this being so easily overlooked by the higher teams demand for bigger squads.
However we were very lucky to have a very flexible squad and also be able to call on experienced players who made the special effort to come and play. Special mention must go to Grant now for sleeping in through his alarm though and not turning up - beer penalties have been issued.
Based on our first meeting I knew this game would be high intensity and our midfield and defensive line-ups would be put under pressure from the start. We adopted a 4-4-2 formation and made a good start. The game was very level with chances by both teams. This may be biased but I believe Grange were edging on both possession and chances in the early stages of the game.
Our usual Short Corner routine wasn't working out so we adopted "All Options" approach with one of the more direct options resulting in a penalty flick after hitting a foot on the line. With Makers - Takers, Stumpy took responsibility and with calm head slotted it home.
At half-time with a 1-0 lead we decided to revert back to our usual formation and play the way we have enjoyed throughout the season with such success. This changed the focus of the game and took the game more to Rottenrow. A huge amount of effort was shown by everyone who fought hard for every inch on the pitch. We started to get more Short Corners and continued our "All Options" approach. I even tried the experimental keeper nutmeg/trundler push - which I absolutely nailed (but with no goal - shocker). However Stumpy decided that we'd had enough faffing about & nailed the ball in the bottom corner of the goal. Not as classy as mine but a bit more effective.
At 2-0 the game wasn't over and Rottenrow piled on the pressure again. They managed to sneak a goal in at the near post with ~5 minutes to go. Lamby then decided it still wasn't interesting enough and though he'd get himself yellow carded by reverse hitting the ball almost into the Western General like a boss after a very obvious foot foul. We only had to hold on another 2 minutes before the full time whistle went and relief set in.
Ultimately we had achieved what we set out to do at the start of the day which was to soak up the pressure, not over-commit & to take our chances when they were presented.
One of the most challenging but enjoyable games of the season so far.