Saturday 7th October 2006
By Danny Saines
What a difference a week makes...
After the problems of the previous week, where we played fairly abysmally away to Beaverwood, where we were short of defending personnel and even shorter of options on the bench (apart from Terry who came on to give us some sort of fighting spirit), Saturday was never going to be looking good. We had already lost another defender in Adam being away (along with Matty Wright) but had gained Village back and I was determined to revert back to a 4-4-2 to quell the dissatisfaction in the ranks. When Greenhough pulled out with a knee injury on Saturday morning playing 2 at the back now looked a distinct possibility!! With a couple of other absentees we were down to a bare eleven along with the rest of the club. Not ideal when needing to inject some much needed team spirit back in to the reserves.
But sometimes these things can have a reverse effect and immediately we spoke in the changing room about the situation we found ourselves in and how we needed to laugh about it all and start enjoying our football again. After sweating over a back 2, 3, or 4 all morning, Jack pipes up out of the blue informing me that Terry plays alongside him on a Sunday as centre back come sweeper. And not a bad one at that. Thanks for that Jack. Slightly earlier next time as so I can enjoy Soccer AM over me Shreddies rather than who the hell is going to partner Village for 90 minutes!!
With a quick consultation with Colin, we came up with a formation and personnel that looked good on paper and with Andy Cobham arriving to get changed up as a covering sub (cheers Andy) our preparation started to take shape and come kick off I believed we were all up for it, taking revenge for the performance over at theirs at the beginning of the season.
And then we kicked off.
The problem you have when playing a brand new back four (and with one who isn''t really a full back) is that it is going to a few minutes to adjust.
10 minutes in fact.
10 minutes where we found ourselves two nil down and all over the place.
BUT and this is the important bit - once we had sorted out the back four and worked out who was doing what job and when - the back 4 played superbly for the rest of the game. Effort could not be faulted. Nor commitment, and Terry and Village had absolute stormers against a fairly robust 4-4-2.
This seemed to rub off on the rest of the team and from then on and in all departments our spirit returned and I knew that we could get back into it especially with Tant and Dan up front who had been knocking them in all season. And get back into we did within 10 minutes of going two down. And then to draw level in injury time of the first half was a massive blow for Beaverwood, who to be fair had lumped the ball down our throats for 35 minutes but to no avail, Tant and Rich Coyne getting the goals in the first half.
At half time we concentrated on everything that we had done well and everything that we needed to do to win the game. I think what everybody thrived on was that after going down to early goals that we had come back in such a positive manner. Heads never dropped and we had continued to play some good football throughout the half. You must remember that the week before over at Foots Cray I don''t think we strung more than 3 passes together all match.
Out for the second half and within minutes the referee had awarded us a blatant penalty on a foul on Dan Head. Daragh wanted it but luckily this time I was not looking at my notes and duly shouted for him to go play with the traffic whilst Richard Davis coolly stepped up and banged it home. Just kidding Daragh. Three two up, but was it too early? For the next 20 minutes Beaverwood kept up their game plan of launching it at the big centre whereupon Village matched him header for header with Terry cleaning up the second ball as per my half time instructions. Jack was also having a cracker, man to man marking Beaverwood''s other trickier forward. A good player but no match for our Jack. Gardiner, already on a yellow card from the first half through dissent, was nearly given his marching orders after some retaliation on Beaverwood''s number 7 and we knew it was time for a change as we would not beat them with 10 men. Andy warmed up on the line and once the kids were sorted out (cheers Col) it was a straight swap at right back. Before we had time to settle Beaverwood managed to equalise with a goal that on any other day could have gone anywhere.
Apparently Andy did get some kind of block on the shot as well which may have helped it look like a top corner screamer. Picking the ball from the back of the net was about as much as Mark had done all half really. That''s how tight we had been. So, Beaverwood had managed to get themselves back into it and with a few choice remarks sarcastically aimed at the line and my choice of substitution, I, along with the rest of the Guild were fuming.
Beaverwood were riding high and looking for that winner. Tactically they changed their lunking game plan (which seemed odd as they had no real coaching staff on the line), but basically the right back started pushing up down our left and more and more having a man over for us to deal with. Debutant to the reserves, Dave Martin, having a really good game (out on the left) now had a bit more to cope with and cope with it he did, showing that not only can he attack down the left and throw in some good quality crosses, he can also defend as well, listening to my instructions all the time down on that line. Having lost Lee Cleaver to the firsts, the reserves were in desperate need of a left sided player to give us some much needed balance. Dan Head was also asked to do a job for us down that left to cut out the full back''s supply and again no questions asked. This is what it is all about. And then, with 5 minutes to go, after a well worked move, Tant coolly took his second of the day to edge us in front 4 - 3. YES!!
Beaverwood knew that they were well and truly beat and ended the game as they had began - launching the long ball into our box, hoping for a physical knockdown for the number 9 to pounce on. Village loved every minute of it.
After the game our spirits were high as everyone knew what effort had gone in to getting the 3 points. 3 points taking us to second in the league albeit with a game in hand. Having played 5, and only losing 1, all we have to do now is take that spirit on our travels with us to our away games. We have 3 of them on the bounce now so only time will tell.
Village got man of the match by the way - by one vote to Terry. Hard luck Tel. I voted for you.