Saturday 5th April 2008
By Sam Evans
Richard Davies scored a penalty on 60 minutes to win this game for us. Our victory was thoroughly deserved because we played some great football for the first hour. We also battled well, and worked hard off the ball to limit Bridon to long range attempts on goal.
Our team was:
Mark Edwards (goalkeeper)
Peter Morton (left back)
Adam Benningfield (centre back)
Richard Davies (centre back)
Richard Tapsfied (right back)
Barry Putt (left midfield)
Sam Evans (centre midfield)
Daragh Nott (captain, centre midfield)
Jay Blay (right midfield)
Dan Head (centre forward)
Paul Tanton (centre forward)
Danny Saines (sub not used)
The pitch was in a better condition than we expected and we used immediately used this to our advantage; one of our first attacks was a passing move which began with Mark rolling a short ball out and ended with a header on goal. Too many players to mention individually, but it was a great move and really set the tone for the day. Half an hour in and another good move put Dan Head away down the right wing. Their centre back slid across Dan’s path, didn’t get the ball, and I was amazed that the referee didn’t give a penalty. Otherwise I thought the referee had an excellent game and I hope we get him again. The gulf between him and the joker we had last week is massive.
Defensively we were very tight in the first half and Mark did not have a shot to save. Richard Davies (returning from centre midfield) and Adam Benningfield (returning from Thailand) played with each other happily all day long. We also did our jobs off the ball very well. I was really worried by their number 8 early doors as he was floating around and finding space well in their 3-5-2 formation. Danny made a good decision in maintaining our 4-4-2 and asking us to pick the 8 up as was most appropriate. Everyone deserves a mention for contributing to this task because often a player like that can wreak havoc but we cut him out effectively.
At half time we knew we deserved to win the game and we had a real drive to get back out and score. We continued to pass the ball well and on 60 minutes a good pass from Paul Tanton set Daragh Nott free down the right wing. True to form Daragh won a 50-50 tackle and crossed the ball into the box, whereupon a bit of pinball ensued and I’m not too sure exactly what happened. Eventually the ball broke to Barry Putt on the edge of the box and Barry intelligently waited for it to sit up for him (rather than snatching at it and blazing it over the bar) and struck a powerful half-volley. This was destined for the top left corner until their centre back leapt spectacularly across the goal to push the ball round the post with his hands. This was one of the best saves I’ve seen all season and perhaps the guy should look at a career as a goalkeeper. He was sent off and Richard Davies converted the penalty.
It’s amazing how often a team with 10 men end up doing better than they did with 11. It doesn’t help when the team with 11 forget everything they’ve ever known about how to play football and, defenders aside, this is largely what we did. We gave the ball away cheaply, missed our chances to kill the game and generally seemed to panic. We were almost punished for this when following a goalmouth scramble the ball broke to their centre midfielder with the bleach blonde hair and he shot tamely wide from 8 yards. Later, Richard Davies attempted to head a cross from their left wing behind for a corner but actually hit the target and Mark Edwards, already moving in the other direction, stuck out an arm and pushed the ball onto the post. Fortunately we hung for what was a deserved victory.
Performances of note include Barry Putt who once again showed his ability to use the ball well, and Adam Benningfield who won every header he went up for and deservedly took the man of the match award. Pete Morton at left back and Richard Tapsfield at right back also both had solid games. It’s been a while since I’ve slated Taps actually so I’ll mention an incident in the second half when he sprinted 40 yards to reach the ball on the right wing and connected well to roll a smooth pass straight into touch. In general however we all played really well and deserved to win the game. Let’s take the confidence from today into next Saturday’s game. Congratulations also to the first team on winning promotion today.
Man of the match: Adam Benningfield