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Match Report

Saturday 28th February 2009

Bridon Ropes Res.
2 - 4
Second XI
Stuart Lenton, Chris Charlton, Spencer Havers, OG.

By Sam Evans

This was a massive result for our season. Seven Acre and Bridon still have to play each other twice so to have won today puts us in a great position to finish at least second. It was a fantastic performance from everybody with some spectacular goals too. Our team was:

Burkett (GK)
Morton (LB)
Pragnell (CB)
Simmons (CB)
Tapsfield (RB)
Nott (RM)
Lenton (CM)
Charlton (CM)
Head (LM)
Tanton (CF)
Evans (CF) (Captain)

Subs: Carpenter, Piper, Havers

The first 20 minutes were tough. Playing against the slope we were trapped in our own half for long periods of the game and our back four and goalkeeper had to work hard to keep the score at 0-0. George Burkett made a couple of good saves early on. We gradually started to come into the game more and Tant began to link up play well upfront. Our best move led to our first goal. We worked the ball to Taps who played the ball down the right to Daragh. Daragh played it square to me and I touched it back to Stu just outside the box. Stu sold the defender a dummy and created space for a wonderful shot which arched over the keeper and into the far corner of the goal.

Arguably 1-0 flattered us at half time but we knew we were in a strong position as we would be playing with the slope in the second half. To their credit Bridon came out fighting and got an equaliser soon after half time. A well struck shot from outside the box found its way through a mass of bodies and into the bottom left hand corner of the net. There was a danger that we would capitulate at this point but we dug in well and continued to create chances of our own. Chris went close as the ball fell to him in the middle of the box and the keeper made a good save. As Dan followed up for the rebound their massive centre half put in a great saving tackle.

Soon after this Chris had to go upfront for a few minutes as he tried to run off an injury. This worked in our favour when a long ball from Taps found Chris in a little space on the left wing. He had a great first touch and as the ball sat up nicely he half-volleyed it into the far corner of the net. This was a really good time to score as it massively steadied our nerves. Unfortunately it was Chris’ last contribution as he was replaced by Johnny who came on as a straight swap in centre mid.

Bridon continued to apply the pressure and George made a string of good saves in goal, one in particular springs to mind where a shot inside the box was heading for the top left hand corner and George got a powerful hand to it to push it away. He also held a good few shots from outside the box. Ricky and Pragnell at centre back organized things well and Taps and Pete at full back worked hard to deal with the constant threat from both wings. Midway through the second half Spencer replaced Tant upfront and immediately began to cause problems as Bridon tired. His first chance came when a good run caused him to be clean through but a good tackle blocked his shot. Soon afterwards though he used his body well to roll his defender and find himself in on goal again. Spence delicately lobbed the ball over the keeper and into the net.

Bridon really went for it at this stage and switched to 3 at the back. They got their reward soon after when we failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to their centre back whose shot from 12 yards ricocheted off the bar and into the net. At 3-2 Daragh was replaced by Aaron and the game became quite open with chances at both ends. Our defence remained resolute and we scored a fourth with 15 minutes to go. A good ball from Stu found me just onside on the right wing and with the Bridon defenders tiring I was able to get in on goal and shoot from close range. The keeper parried it but the rebound hit one of their defenders and dribbled over the line. In the closing few minutes our defensive concentration remained excellent and even though Bridon threw everything at us we held on well. Our fitness levels were also good and I think we looked a lot fitter than them in the second half.

So all in all this was a great result. Literally everybody played really well and Danny made some good tactical decisions. There were two contenders for goal of the season and I think that all of our goals came at really good times for us. Once again the value of digging in when we are under pressure was shown because we have the quality to always create chances. Special mention to George who was making his debut for the Seconds and turned in an excellent performance between the sticks. Man of the match however went to Pragnell who turned in a commanding display at centre back. Pragnell was first to every ball and didn’t really give their strikers a sniff which was a great achievement when you consider that Bridon did spends long periods of the game in our half.