Saturday 4th October 2008
By Paul Parsons
This was a very different type of win to the last three, and kept our momentum going in the league.
Bexley have always been tough opponents and this was no different, in bleak conditions Piers Moss gave a captain''s midfield performance, putting in lots of hard work, determination and gritty defending. This type of performance is never going to be pretty (particularly in Piers'' case) but we were solid throughout (again, particularly in Piers'' case!).
The back four of me (look who’s talking!) and a fit again Luke Dunne snuffed out the attacking options of long balls upfront and cleared away by the both of us. Ben Tomkins and Michael Seymour gave us good attacking options at full back but also the speed and agility to cover when necessary. There was little between the teams in terms of chances. This was mainly due to the weather conditions, however we had most of the possession, because again, like previous weeks, everyone wanted the ball, and were willing to work hard for each other. This was particularly relevant in midfield with tough tackling by led by Piers, followed up strongly by Josh Travers and helped by Matt Gardiner. A debut game from Stuart Gaynor at right midfield epitomized the level of commitment from the team with real effort in tackling and turning defense into attack.
The first half battle resulted in Jon Ware taking on the Bexley full back after 44 minutes and firing in a low hard shot that the keeper could only parry, Dave Thompson being quickest to the rebound and smashing it home. At the other end Leigh Hawkes in goal was calm and assured with his handling, and also kicking consistently well for Josh to win everything in the air. Matt Gardiner was putting in a very positive performance and not letting the Bexley defence settle on anything.
Bexley might have felt hard done by going in 1-0 down, but we had had all the possession. We were determined to win the second half as well, and no-one was more committed than Josh, who had a fine MOM performance. Suddenly Leigh was called upon to make a superb save high to his right and at full stretch he parried it round the post for a corner. The Bexley squad had been changed and they were exerting some pressure with 25 minutes to go, could we hang on? Well we didn’t try to hang on, that has been a real strength this season, we believed we could do better and created good chances to give us a 2 goal cushion, Josh firing one over the bar from 20 yards out was a chance to put it beyond doubt.
Sean Webber replaced the battered Matt Gardiner and meant that we could try to consolidate the lead with 20 minutes left. However, soon after, Dave gathered the ball from just inside his own half, jinked past one player, saw off another, took on another, then with a mazy run into the box, under pressure with defenders chomping at his heels he smashed one in across the flailing keeper. Dave seemed pleased with his goal too and his celebrations wore him out (jug avoidance?) and he left the field of play immediately to be replaced by Simon Davies.
It is so important to have a strong squad, because we needed the fresh legs and renewed energy as Bexley still did not give up. A controversial free kick was awarded to Bexley after a strong run from the forward was ‘stopped’ by me, the resulting kick was exquisitely taken and hit fiercely into the bottom left of Leigh''s goal. I felt we were all gutted for Leigh at that point because he has deserved a clean sheet to his name from his previous performances. It was not to be, but again the hard work in the first 80 minutes gave us just rewards, see if we can do it for 90 minutes this week lads.