Saturday 31st March 2007
Dave Martin 2, David Geonoga
3 - 1
By Danny Saines
Squad: Edwards, Morton, Harding, Parsons, Benningfield, Evans, Tanton, Oatley (Geonoga), Martin, Burford, Gardiner (Duffy)
Another 3 points taken from another team riding high at the top end of the table. That''s 7 points now out of a possible 9 in the last 3 weeks against strong sides whom we could easily have collapsed against. Well done people. Again we showed that we can ''hole up'' when necessary, and nick vital goals when needed. The defending of our half and more importantly our goal has been the key to our recent revival and hats off to everyone from the forwards back. Everyone put in 110% (again), and although not too pretty, I think everyone was satisfied with not only their own but the team''s performance as a whole as well.
On paper we lost Greenhough, Daragh, and Village from the previous week(s), but who were replaced by Jack, Sam, and Adam making his first start for 3 months. 3 big names missing with such a tough prospect, but the returning 3 slotted in as if they had never been away. Tant was ''forced'', (well asked), to play a role in the centre of the park (alongside Sam) and it was a role he relished, standing in for the absent Daragh. So much so, in fact, MOM was won by a prosperous 7 votes - picking up over 50% of squad players asked.
We set off in the first half against the wind, which was pretty severe to say the least, and everyone knew that it was time to batten down the hatches for 45 and assess the damage at half time. The small-ish top pitch seemed to suit us psychologically and we got in amongst them doing what I had asked before the game - giving them no time on the ball to get into a pattern. We defended superbly with Paul Parsons and Adam at the back forming a solid partnership. Peter and Jack at full backs gave us pace on the cover and again Dave and Joe out on the flanks gave us much needed outlets. Sam run his proverbials off, with Tant getting in amongst them upsetting the apple cart with some strong challenges. Gibbo chased everything down upfront, and with Paul B''s determination to chase everything back it seemed that Wilmington were not going to get what they had expected - the job done in the first half. And when Dave Martin nicked one with 10 minutes to go until the half time whistle I knew that we were in with a chance.
At half time Tant took over and gave an inspired team talk worthy of any Sunday morning and it was all that I could do to praise everyone who had battled so hard in the first half. We all knew that we had again done the hard part and now it was our turn.
Wilmington come hard at us for the opening 10 minutes and on the line we knew that it was crucial we did not give up our lead. Wilmington were getting more frustrated (with the referee and each other) and it was nice to see that none of the Guild got involved (something else that we had talked about). The referee had a superb game especially when both teams were scrapping for every ball and every point.
Dave Martin then got his second of the game, getting us that crucial first goal of the half and more importantly giving us that cushion from which we could sit on. Dave Geonoga replaced Joe on the right and the rest of the half was a well contested match. Ben came on for Gibbo and with 10 minutes to go, a rare mistake by the back four (well Paul Parsons) offered Wilmington a lifeline and halted Mark''s third clean sheet in a row. The final 5 minutes were going to be interesting to say the least and with 6 minutes of injury time to play Wilmington threw everything at us going 3 at the back to at least take home a point. But with that risk comes a price and twice we counter attacked, first hitting the bar before Dave Geonoga struck our third in the dying seconds.
Excellent stuff boys - another post-winter break performance everyone should be proud of. Well done!