This was not our finest hour (well, 40 minutes if you’re being pedantic). A shame really because when we were good we were very, very good. But, by the final whistle, we were left with lessons learned and lots to think about before we play again.
We got off to a great start. A burst down the wing by Riley led to a tap in by Kieran. Maybe this was going to be another rout. Maybe everyone was going to get on the scoresheet. Maybe this would be as easy as the reverse fixture.
Nope nope nopety nope!
A simple through ball sliced our defence in two and their striker passed the ball in to level. Simple as that.
‘Sloppy!’ shouted one of our players.
Yep, I couldn’t argue with that summary.
A through ball of our own gave Kieran a great chance to regain our lead. He motioned to shoot and feinted at the last minute, totally wrong-footing both the ‘keeper and defender. He then calmly slotted home. 2-1. Awesome.
What wasn’t awesome was a general lack of effort in the rest of the half. Yes, we made some strong challenges across the pitch, but our passing was off, and our tracking back left a lot to be desired.
It came as no surprise, therefore, when Nash Mills deservedly equalised before the break. A drilled shot made its way past our helpless ‘keeper.
The half time team talk was used to remind our boys about the importance of talking to each other. There is no point in making a great run if you’re not going to make anyone aware of it. Also, tracking back when we haven’t got the ball - fairy important if we don’t want to concede again.
Our second half performance was much, much better. The reminders had done the trick and we played much better as a unit. We looked much more like our usual devastating selves.
We retook the lead again fairly quickly. A free kick from deep found Ollie in space in the box. A fantastic bit of control, a lovely turn and a crisp finish made it 3-2.
As for notable highlights, I wrote nothing specific for the rest of the match until the last minute. We had some free kicks which didn’t trouble their ‘keeper. We looked fairly secure at the back and it seemed like we were cruising to a comfortable victory.
But three points were not to be ours. Their forward had a powerful shot which was very well saved by Lewis. The ball rebounded out wide and it looked like the chance had gone. Their winger then dribbled the ball along the byline. A challenge was made by our defender and the ball came very close to going out of play...
The ball was then crossed into the box and tapped into the goal. 3-3.
But, according to our defenders, the ball went out- the goal shouldn’t stand.
The referee consulted with an adult standing on the side line and the goal stood.
Moments later, the final whistle blew and that was that - our first dropped points of the season.
And that’s when things got very disappointing. ‘But the ball was this far out!’ said one of our players - motioning about half a metre with his arms - trying to get a bit outrage growing within the team.
No! No it wasn’t! The ball was definitely not ‘that far out’. I was on the other side of the pitch and could see that it was too close to call.
So, here is what we need to remember:
Lesson 1 - You play to the whistle. Always.
Lesson 2 - When decisions are 50/50, the referee will give the advantage to the attacking side.
Lesson 3 - If we had played better in the match, this incident wouldn’t have been an issue!
There’s one last league match to remind ourselves how we can play.