The 5A’s took the long road to Blueharts for the first time this season with a new look compared to the first half of the season. Our development team look, combined with several father and son combinations, had given way to a rather more experienced looking team. Injuries, promotions to higher teams and school matches all accounted for our normal array of talented youth.
In place of youth we went for experience and shed loads of it too. Patti and Brian Woolcott took the starting line for us for the first time this season and brought finesse to the forward line. Nigel Dixon had the pads on and we welcomed Leon to a Southgate debut.
With an opposition consisting of experience and youth, this would prove to be a close match. However, the first half suggested otherwise with Blueharts very much on top with all the possession and various short corners. Nigel in goal had more work to do in the first 20 minutes than some goalies get in a full season.
A one goal deficit was quickly followed by a second from a short corner. The Blueharts centre-mid was as good as anyone we will see this season and he was running the show – apart from when Patti nutmegged him on a skilful foray into opposition territory.
0-2 down at half time but 5A’s had played well, backs to the wall style. Michiel, Leon, Mark T all being excellent in the thick of the action. Nigel pulled off numerous saves to keep us in touch with the game.
The second half showed more resilience. We had more possession, the midfield of James, Oli, Michiel and Chris got more control. Peter playing upfront was a constant threat – dropping deeper to get the ball and his strong runs caught the defence out on numerous occasions.
With ten minutes to go, James fed Peter into the D and, not for the first time this season, Peter finished in style. 2-1, could we pull off a stunning comeback?
The answer, alas, was “no”…not for the sake of huge effort, determination and skill. The experienced Blueharts cohort retained possession where they could, to see out the last few minutes.
Honourable mentions for MoM went to Mark T and Peter (scores every time he plays for 5A) but overwhelmingly the winner was Nigel Dixon for his goalkeeping heroics without which we would have conceded many more than the two.
Bedford Vets await us next week in a fourth v fifth battle….