Saturday 7th March 2009
By Paul Parsons
Bouncebackability indeed! Ivor Swatton, Steve Viner and Colin Brazier, all making comebacks for the full 90 minutes and pushing for places in next week's game!
Brave tweaking from the manager Edd, some might say, Vic will probably tell you we were very, very, very short!
Much hilarity in the dressing room ensued with ‘Old Codger’ ‘fitness’ and ‘maturity’ jokes. Then for the team talk……Edd: "Right lads, (looks towards the youngsters, Ben Dutton, Jack Hopper, Sean Webber, Adam Steward, Josh Travers and Dave Thompson) ‘If you go out drinking, partying, taking drugs, and using prostitutes, this is what you’ll end up like….this is Ivor Swatton, and he’s in goal today!". The bemused look on all of their faces was a picture!
The first half was a bit ragged. We created some decent chances, particularly in the first 10 minutes but we failed to convert them. We were under pressure for a lot of the half as we were playing up the slope. Some important interceptions from Colin kept the Bexlians right winger quiet, and Steve and Josh were able to break the play up with help from the hardworking and hard running Dave. Adam was our main outlet again, and we were quick on the counterattack with excellent support from Sean playing upfront.
Adam got crunched in a hefty challenge 30 minutes into the game and wasn’t quite the same after that, but with no subs, he played on and deserved the captain's armband with his hard work. Bexlians scored from a powerful inswinging corner and a lunge from the Bexlians centre back that smashed into the roof of the net from a tight angle. We had had far better chances in the game and this was Bexlians' first. How many times have I said that in recent weeks? Jack and myself were snuffing out anything coming goal bound in the air and under relatively little pressure, as we moved the marking around with good talking and listening from all the back four. An undeserved 2-0 came close to the end of the half with a couple of long aerial passes, a flat back four, and a chip over Ivor.
We talked at half time of keeping the tempo up and belief in our good football up to now. The slope of the pitch played a huge part in the game, unlike the referee who was mainly a bystander. And it was due to this, that tempers flared, players started getting at each other and it got much more scrappy. I’ll leave you to decide whether it was the pitch that did it, or the ref….we continued to link the play, Josh was excellent in midfield doing this and Simon Davies was called on to do the same in midfield too, a role where he created some excellent opportunities for the front two to run on to defence splitting passes.
Ben (MOM) was finding more and more confidence as the half went on and put in some fantastic balls into the box that really tested the Bexlians keeper. Dave flicked on one such ball, and Josh was there at the far post to smash it home and give us some hope with 30 minutes remaining. More pressure ensued from us and we started to play with just two at the back for each corner that we were winning, Simon eventually flicking one on, for Dave to hit his first attempt at the keeper and then follow up with a poke into the net. 2-2 and game on with over 10 minutes left; however, a crunching tackle on Dave put him out of the game and we had to rein back our ambitions and safeguard the one point.
Chances at both ends led to chances to win the game, Ivor making two great saves, one from a free kick and one on his near post, that were both stinging shots, but at his age he doesn’t need them anyway! More screaming and shouting from Bexlians, that we were not getting drawn in to showed how composed and focused we were on winning, and how our good football, is the way to win games. However none of the protests were met with any response from pitchside or referee, and we were all just about content if a little frustrated with a draw in difficult circumstances.