BLG 1 - 3 CMS Cameron McKenna
Despite a good performance and coming into the game off the back of a run of good results, like England on Wednesday night, Barlows were ultimately undone against a very good team at the Beckham academy.
Both teams started the game strongly, with Barlows playing some very neat passing football, especially in midfield, which saw James Seale and Hooksie being played through with some fantastic passes only to be thwarted by the linesman's flag on a number of occasions. Early in the game after a fine passing move, Hooksie found himself with the ball, running into the area and was clearly caught by an out-stuck defender's leg. Accentuating the contact, Hooksie dived to the floor. Clear penalty, but protests were waived away by the referee?! After the game, the referee admitted he had seen contact although he had thought it was too early in the game to give a penalty..?! Bizarre reasoning and news to me that there 'penalty powerplay periods' have now been introduced by FIFA??
However, CMS were also playing well, with their striker in the mould of Emile Heskey, who was big, strong, fast and had a good touch was causing us some problems; Bushy and the defence were called upon a few times to clear up some of CMS' good half chances. Eventually CMS made the breakthrough 20 minutes into the game with their over-confident number 10, who had a slight coming together with Si Lenahan at the end of the previous fixture between the teams, caught Bushy slightly off his line with a good finish high in the net. Modest in his celebrations whilst running back to the half way line and in the spirit of the 'respect' campaign he gave the Barlows bench a friendly wave and wished us the best of luck for the rest of the game.. what a lovely chap.
Barlows fought their way back in the game, with Craig A and Robbie C working hard on the wings and Richard C and Pete showing some composed touches in the middle of the park putting the CMS defence under pressure. CMS were forced into a few vindictive challenges to prevent some goal scoring opportunities and which saw the some of their players lucky not to go into the book. Soon, though, the equaliser came. A testing cross from the right was narrowly missed by Craig A making a late run at the back post, but the ball then hit the CMS defender who was desperately running back to mark him and went into the net. 1-1 and back in the game!
Shortly after the restart the wind was taken well and truly out of Barlow's sails, conceding a soft goal from a set piece, and from which Barlows never really recovered. A late runner ran unmarked into an area to cross a flick on from a throw-in, across the face of the goal and the CMS striker made no mistake with an easy finish at the far post. 2-1 and soon the half time whistle blew. A tactical change at half time saw TC come on help give the back 4 some more organisation after the soft second goal.
The second half was very closely fought but then CMS gave Barlows a mountain to climb making it 3-1 early on. The CMS striker robbed the ball off the Barlows defence and slotted the ball home in the bottom corner of the net, finding himself clean through on goal with only the keeper to beat. Barlows battled away well for the rest of the game, but in a half which saw the defences came out on top. Spinksy made a fine comeback from the beaches of Dubai to keep the powerful CMS striker at bay. Unfortunately the CMS defence played well and held firm to not allow Barlows a sniff to get back into the game and reduce the deficit. CMS saw the rest of the game out and probably deservedly took the 3 points.
Barlows, however, gave a good account of themselves with a performance which would have been good enough to see off the majority of teams in the league. As Capello said following the Spain game, it is not a step backwards; it is a step forwards. When you play against CMS everyone understands you can lose sometimes. In the future I hope we can win.
Team: Bushy; Hogan (TC), Robbie O, Spinksy, Piers (Dom); Robbie C, Richard Craig, Pete, Craig A; James S, Hooksie