Report by Justin Edwards
Half time: 0-2
Full time: 0-2
Goals: Bhundia & Whyatt
The second match of our series, away at Old Loughts ground. A little less blue skies this weekend but still a lovely day to get out and play.
2 first half goals, on what should have been more, especially during a second half where we really dominated, with at least half a dozen short corners awarded. Defensively we took a while to settle down but with James Rushton again imperious at sweeper, we knuckled down and the back line of myself, David James, Alex Hyer & Randall Hyer, who was excellent throughout (and played across the back line), kept Old Loughts in check, with Neil Commons in goal called into action a few times and leaving with a clean sheet.
Midfield of Laurence Whyatt at centre, Raj Saha on the right, Simon Holmes on the left and Wayne Garner interchanging on the left/right gave us control. Laurence’s distribution was assured, Simon’s pace and ability to break down play on the left constantly troubled, Raj consistently provided an excellent outlet on the right, linking up well with Leo Garner, who had a couple of great strikes at goal (on another day both would have settled in the bottom left corner but just went agonisingly wide) & Nayan Bhundia in the wing channel up front, and Wayne, who turned the ball over at critical times, before pressing the advantage and consistently putting our forwards in positions where they could exert pressure, threading one lovely ball to Leo, which came so close to getting our 3rd goal.
Up front, Cameron Clayton-Smith and Haimish Patel joined Leo and Nayan. Cameron had another solid game, pushing our advantage on the left and always running good lines for our midfield to find him. Haimish constantly harried the OLs defence, opening up space for others in the D.
The initial goal in the first half was from a lovely reverse stick strike from Nayan, taken from the top right of the D and the ball settling in the bottom left of the goal; nothing the keeper could do about that. The second goal followed some very good build up play, leading to a free hit just outside the centre of the D. Raj passed back to me (one of my few forays up front, as I’d been relieved from centre back duty by Randall!) and I put the ball into Laurence standing just by the P spot; Laurence executed a lovely roll out to the right and set the ball up perfectly for a strike at goal – the ball rocketed into the bottom left corner and I don’t think the keeper saw it.
From the back is where our dominance came from, though, and special mention must go to David James, who had a superb game at right back, constantly driving the play forward, making excellent tackles/interceptions and distributing with vision and maturity, and Alex Hyer, who’s pace and control on the ball and all-round wing back play was first class throughout and equally comfortable whether on the right, left or at centre. With David & Alex giving us options on both the left and right flanks, OLs couldn’t really find an answer. Well played both – votes for man of the match were very tight at the end and I don’t think we could really separate you.
Onwards to the return fixture at SHC next weekend – let’s get another win!