Saturday 12th May 2007
By Sam Evans
I think a lot of us felt intimidated by the swearing and aggression during this game. But enough about Greenhough''s girlfriend. We played a lot of good football in the first half and deserved to be 3-1 up at half time. Paul Burford''s 4-5-1 formation worked very well and perhaps we should bear that in mind for next season. We adapted our formation well; at times Djan stayed upfront with Gibbo to make it a conventional 4-4-2. Other times Djan came back into midfield so it was a 4-5-1 and this helped us to stop Wilmington passing the ball through us - they often resorted to aimless balls over the top; and at other times Djan''s presence in centre midfield allowed myself and Dave Martin to really push on down the wings in what resembled more of a 4-3-3. This fluidity relied on Richard Davies and Paul Tanton showing their experience and talking to the other 3 midfielders to ensure our shape was always right for the situation. This worked really well, especially in the first half.
The 4-3-3 formation led to all of our goals - my two came from being free to make runs beyond their back four, confident that if we lost the ball we had enough manpower to cover my absence; and in a similar fashion Dave''s goal came from a very attacking run down the left, and a fabulous finish - goal of the season anyone? To be debated at the end of season do perhaps. There can be no doubt that Dave likes this pitch.
Unfortunately Wilmington came out for the second half strongly and we knew we''d have to work hard to keep them out. A couple of soft goals didn''t help but these things happen and it’s best they happen in the last game of the season with nothing riding on it. As we lost our lead we also lost our momentum and conceded more goals, although 6-3 was not a fair reflection of the game, particularly after our first half performance. Chris Greenhough turned in a great display at right back and was deservedly man of the match - he will be missed next season as he plies his trade in the Sunday league. Pete Morton at left back also played well, as did our 2 centre backs Jack Harding and Paul Burford. Geof made a welcome return in goal, much sooner than a lot of us expected and it was good to see him back. David Geonaga and Joe Lipton came on towards the end of the game and turned in decent displays - there will be good competition for places next season.
''Next season'' was our focus back in the changing room. Everyone stressed the importance of staying fit over the summer so we can be firing on all cylinders from the first game of next season onwards. We have shown that we are capable of beating the top teams in this league and can pass the ball as well as anyone. What we need is consistency next season - if we can get more of a settled team and string some good results together early on then there is no reason why we can''t be pushing for promotion. Let''s make sure we''re all working hard on Wednesday nights over the summer and giving Danny a headache over team selections.
Man of the match – Chris Greenhough