Sunday 26th March 2017
Jack Standen Cup
By Vince Wray
Talk about, ‘you only sing when you’re winning’. I haven’t posted one of these reports for a long time but felt compelled to do so after such a heartening performance from the team. Our form of late has been patchy having formed a propensity to miss chances at one end and then lose concentration at the other conceding needless goals. We had a number of injuries leading up to the game and also Kempy was on a weekend jolly to Ireland. Hayden can still win the league and so far this season we’d lost and drawn our league encounters against them. But we felt confident that we could do a job on them and that’s exactly what we did.
The conditions were tricky to say the least, a stiff breeze and a firm uneven surface made it awkward for both sets of players. We got off to a positive start playing against the wind with some very good passing phases in and around their box, Hayden countered us on a couple of occasions and looked dangerous. But we took the lead after 20 mins, Wray seized upon a poor backpass and delivered an unselfish pass from the left that Ennis-Webb simply couldn’t miss. Just five minutes later the effervescent Tanner was bundled over in the area, Ennis-Webb duly despatched the spot kick with his usual aplomb to bring his tally up to 13 for the season so far. Firmly in the ascendancy we wreaked more havoc in Hayden’s defence, the tireless closing down from Ennis-Webb and Wray was putting them under pressure at the back. Backed by the dynamic central midfield of Middleton, Brand and Painter who is now affectionately known as Sammy ‘Kante’ not to be confused with the lesser well known N’Golo.
Hayden snaffled a goal back with a wicked deflected effort just 5 minutes before the half time whistle. It was against the run of play but served as a timely reminder that we still had work to do.
Initially we started the 2nd half in positive fashion and then Hayden seemed to rally and come back into the game. Harpur and Lewis were well tested and had to be at their utmost best to nullify the Hayden attacks. 15 minutes into the 2nd half, Tanner crossed for Wray and he finished comfortably from close range. Barnes came on for Wray with 20 minutes left and made it 4-1 with a mazy dribble into the box and a smart finish. Only Barnes can do this – or so he says! Perfitt was on for Brand. Again Hayden hit back to make it 4-2.
Tanner and Adams were operating imperiously down our flanks, tirelessly breaking up play then getting themselves forward to support the attack.
Row entered proceedings for Ennis-Webb and Chappell was on for Harpur. Late into the game Perfitt sent in a beautiful curling free kick that nestled neatly inside Hayden’s far post – this boy has a great set piece delivery, 5-2 – on cruise control now! All over.
I witnessed a performance today from 16 players who came together on the day with energy, controlled passion & emotion and a never ‘give-up’ kind of attitude. It wasn’t about 11 it was about 16 of us. And also the other 5 players that were unavailable or injured who’d played their parts in earlier rounds. A truly superb performance, anchored by a masterly Captain Judge who is so vital to the team’s defence and belied his 37 years of age and Keeper Hamilton whose safe hands and constant verbal instruction provided the defensive unit with a heightened level of confidence.
We would be completely stupid to think we’ve done all the hard work and we’ve reached the final and that’s good enough – it’s not! No doubt we will have to be at our very best and deliver another performance that raises the bar even further in the final to win it. Can’t wait for the final on 30th April. Well played everyone.