Report by Justin Edwards
Half time: 1-1
Full time: 1-3
A late pushback away at St.Albans for 4As/5As but with a lovely spring evening to play in. Luck didn’t go with us over the course of the match, as injuries took their toll, with Freddie Trathen failing a late fitness test before the game and his dad, Duncan, pulling up with a tight quad early in the first half.
Nevertheless, we stuck to our task and matched St.Albans for the first half. Some quality tackles and distribution at sweeper from Toby Munyard, together with myself, Rory Willmott and David James keeping their forwards in check, who all had plenty of running between them. After we lost Duncan, James Rushton pushed into centre midfield (and did an excellent job in an unfamiliar role), with Raj Saha sitting on the left and Nayan Bhundia on the right keeping St. Albans in check. However some sustained pressure from St. Albans told and we conceded a number of short corners, one of which was converted; nothing Jon Dann in between the posts could do about the shot, low and to his far right. 0-1
Further sustained pressure came onto us but we kept it out, with Jon producing a fine double save, first off the L hand pad, as he was falling to cover the shot and then deflecting the ball off his helmet, when the rebound came in. More solid defensive work galvanised the team to exert some pressure on St. Albans and this we did with a lovely flowing move from left to right, leading to James Findlay at left wing, Alastair Whately at centre forward and Arun Solanki at right wing to really put the St.Albans defence under pressure. Not quite sure how we got the short corner but it was duly converted with a strike from Alastair; the ball was briefly in the air but had fallen to below the level of the backboard when it crossed the line. 1-1 and overall a fair reflection of things at the half.
The second half saw further muscular injuries to James Findlay and Toby, who both gave their all for as long as possible, with James playing some lovely stuff at left wing and to whom I’m very grateful for giving me a 5 minute breather, despite struggling himself. Down to the bare 11 halfway through the second half, the legs of the St.Albans young lads (and 3 or 4 subs) finally started to make the difference. Despite everyone on the pitch giving their all and never giving up, exemplified by Raj who ran 1 at short corners all game and left nothing in the tank at the end of the game, we conceded a further 2 goals, one from open play and the other from a short corner, the latter which should not have been awarded, due to a missed use of the back of the stick in the buildup (but that’s the way it goes sometimes). 1-3 at the final whistle.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable game, nevertheless and the approach of our young lads was again first class. Sajiv played with composure and some fine bits of skill, especially at left midfield in the second half, David had another solid game at right back, making well timed interventions and turnovers that put us on the front foot and both Arun and Nayan had very impressive debuts (for their first fixture for the 4As/5As against external opposition), demonstrating bags of potential with which to improve further. Well done all.
Onwards to the return game at Old Loughts next Saturday. Let’s bounce back with a win!