Saturday 26th April 2008
By Sam Evans
I generally try and avoid cliches, but ‘goals change games’ has never been truer than today. For the first 45 minutes we were in complete control and deserved to be 1-0 up. Then we conceded a poor goal in first half injury time and completely collapsed in the second half.
Our team was:
Mark Edwards (goalkeeper)
Anthony Dine (left back, sub Paul Parsons 60 minutes)
Mark Doyle (centre back)
Richard Davies (centre back)
Richard Tapsfield (right back)
Barry Putt (left midfield, sub Matt Gardiner 70 minutes)
Adam Benninfield (centre midfield)
Daragh Nott (captain, centre midfield)
Jay Blay (right midfield)
Dan Head (centre forward)
Sam Evans (centre forward)
On a red hot day we started very well, managing to pass the ball and create chances. Daragh Nott and Adam Benninfield in centre midfield won lots of the ball for us and we looked in control. Our goal came half an hour in. Their goalkeeper rushed from his penalty area to clear a through ball which Dan Head was chasing. His clearance was poor and landed at the feet of Richard Tapsfield who was 40 yards out. Taps had a good first touch before striking the ball high over the keeper who failed to scamper back to his line quickly enough to prevent the ball going into the net. A great goal. We should have gone in 1-0 but just before half time we took a short free kick on the half way line, lost possession, and were caught out of position defensively. The ball was played through to their striker and Mark Edwards collided with him. Mark nearly saved the penalty but was just unable to keep it out.
At half time we were really deflated, and frustrated to have conceded the goal. However that was no excuse for the way we failed to turn up for the second half. With one or two notable exceptions most of us seemed to go into hiding and we hardly created anything at all. They had a spell of pressure midway through the second half where they forced a number of corners in quick succession. From one of these the ball fell to their massive centre half who attempted a volley. Adam intercepted this well but the ball unfortunately fell right at the guy’s feet and sat up nicely for him to fire it into the net. Later, Mark made a good save at close range to keep the game within reach. We nearly salvaged a point in the final minutes when I had a header at the far post which the keeper got down well to save.
So all in all very disappointing, particularly when you consider that Wickham are fourth in the table. Once again we showed that we can play good football against higher-placed opposition, although we still didn’t create as many chances as we would have liked. The main disappointment though was the way the goal completed changed the game.
Not much comedy today, although I’m sure we all enjoyed Daragh’s attempt at a back-heel on the right wing (air shot). Man of the match was resoundingly won by Richard Tapsfield who continues his good run of form. Taps has consistently performed well defensively and is increasingly proving to be an attacking threat also. Next week is the final game of the season so let’s try and go out with a bang.
Man of the match: Richard Tapsfield