Saturday 9th October 2010
By Colin Brazier
I bored myself to sleep writing my usual long report so hopefully this version will be more succinct. Mind you, in my defence, I was watching the England game at the time so I was probably halfway to the Land of Nod already.
After late withdrawals by Todd and Matt G., our starting line-up was:
Ivor Swatton – GK
Steve Blanchard jnr - RB
Steve Blanchard snr – CB
Richard Whitlock – CB
Colin Brazier – LB
Luke Allen – RM
Matt Lenton – CM
Neil Barnes – CM
Scott Barnes – LM
Mantas Gaiglas – CF
Connor Barclay – CF
Stand-in manager Mark Edwards with his stiff neck was our only sub.
Crofton started the better and were two up after 20 minutes, but we fought back well with a goal worked down the right by Luke with a cross from Connor to the near post where Mantas met it with a deft header. In between making last ditch tackles at one end, we tried for the equaliser at the other and almost got it with an overhead kick from Mantas but he didn’t catch it 100% and the keeper was able to save.
In the second half we suffered a lack of concentration which let the visitors restore their two goal lead, but again hit back when Scott was ‘embraced’ in the penalty area by a defender – well spotted by the ref – and in the absence of regular taker Matt Gardiner, the other Matt (Lenton) coolly slotted the penalty into the top right hand corner. There then followed a great goal for our equaliser, Mantas’ twisting and flying header 12 yards out from Richard’s free kick guiding the ball in off the post. We almost took the lead from a goalmouth scramble but Crofton scored with a looping header to take the wind out of our sails, and added a fifth late on.
The feeling was if we could have just held on at 3-3 for a few more minutes Crofton might have run out of steam, but they were the better side on the day and deserved their victory. They will be up there at the top with AFC Bromley for much of the season, I’m sure, and it shows how far we have come in such a short space of time that we made them work so hard for the three points.
Man of the Match was won by Mantas, just one vote ahead of Richard Whitlock. That’s 3 out of 3 MoMs for young Mantas, our leading scorer.
One last note: yes, there will be frustrations with our mix of youngsters and veterans, but we must keep the spirit going.
Man of the match: Mantas Gaiglas