A somewhat pieced-together Tankards team fought and held MBDA to a 0-0 draw in a good, hard match that contained some excellent play with the score just about reflecting the balance of the game.
MBDA are a works team with a couple of skilful players who troubled the M5As last season, and so it would take some resolute defending and organisation to keep them at arms’ length. And that’s what Tankards did, with Aidan Commons, James Rushton and Tony Mastroddi allowing MBDA only a few sniffs in the D, capably swept up by Neil Commons in goal.
With a clutch of willing forwards, the midfield was a little more makeshift, and several players stepped up to take a stint in or two in a position that was unlikely to be their favoured one. However, the experience of Chris Rouse was put to good use alongside relative newcomers Dan Rookes, Fin Sheridan-Licata, Felix Alistair, and Oliver Heaviside, and a scrappy first half gave way to command and control in the second, aided by James Rushton’s advances from the sweeper position.
As the match went on MBDA withdrew further into their own half, then 23, then D, backing off as the Tankards pressed. Unfortunately, despite lots of running and possession, Peter Roughton and Freddie Bachler, alongside the other midfielders, found the MBDA goalkeeper in fine form, being in the right place to stop everything that went near him, and even to deal with two Mastroddi top corner drag flicks from short corners. There’s a reason why they have only conceded four goals in eleven matches so far this season.
At the full-time whistle, MBDA probably felt the most relieved, but Tankards had negotiated a tough fixture and come away with a clean sheet. The overwhelming choice for Man Of The Match was James Rushton, who became increasingly influential as the match went on, sweeping up at the back and making good ground in possession.