CANTERBURY MARINERS 2 WOODNESBOROUGH 1
The second of our Super Sunday games saw the 50s in action against a Woodnesborough team that were sitting at the top of the league. After the very unfortunate 4 - 0 defeat that we had suffered against them in the first game of the season, we wanted to give a better account of ourselves, added to the usual spice of a 'derby' game.
The game started with possession being equally divided between both sides. We were moving the ball up through the midfield to Brett with others joining him as he held the ball up, and we got some early shots off, all of which their keeper was equal to. Woodnesborough moved the ball well too, though, and they brought out several smart saves from Jon in our goal. Both sides looked to move the ball quickly but several speeding fouls were also picked up resulting warnings being given out.
One of our attacks saw the ball break to Gareth on the left and his hard low strike was parried away by their keeper. From the resulting corner our pressure told with a Woodnesborough defender straying into his own goal area and the penalty being awarded. Ian stepped up and coolly despatched the spot kick high to the keeper's right to give us first blood and the lead.
Possession continued to be shared with both teams working chances. Jon, in our goal, seemed to be the busier of the two keepers pulling off several fantastic saves to keep us in the game.
However, there was no further scoring and we went in at half time with the one goal lead.
The second half started with Woodnesborough piling on the pressure, striving to get the equaliser. Jon continued to keep them out, along with several timely interceptions and blocks by Paul and Phil in our defence. Brett remained a good outlet and he held the ball up extremely well with the rest of the team all working hard to get up in support. Our desire to get up and help however, again resulted in us giving away more running free kicks and us needing to be wary of moving too fast.
Woodnesborough continued to attack down the flanks which were being defended well. However, on one occasion a ball that was played into their centre forward was partially intercepted and then after bouncing around off of several legs and feet, it unfortunately fell nicely to one of their players right in front of our goal and the resulting shot found its way into the corner of the net.
We didn't let our heads drop and knew that we could still get a result. We pushed harder and again Brett held the ball up well, distributing it to the supporting players as they moved forward. We found more space going forward with Woodnesborough seeming to sit further back. Within five minutes Brett held the ball on the right supported by Jason and Steve. Gareth found space in the middle of the middle and struck a hard low shot first time as the ball was played across in front of their defence. It fizzed past their keeper and into the corner.
Rather than sitting on the slender lead we continued to push and play in the same manner. Supporting moves by the midfield and defence to receive the ball from Brett caused their defence further problems and again saw one of the players move into their own goal area. Unfortunately, their keeper made a fantastic one handed save to deny us getting a third and the buffer of a two goal lead.
Woodnesborough were pushing hard to get back on terms but stoic defending by us saw several more timely blocks, attacks by them being repelled, and anything that did get through was expertly dealt with by Jon, who was having an absolutely blinding game.
Our game management towards the end was spotless. Brett held the ball up and kept possession whilst the team worked hard to support him and continue to keep the ball whilst still trying to get the elusive third goal. Despite our best efforts, it didn't come but we remained strong and held out for another hard fought but well deserved win.
Congratulations to the players on the pitch and the entire squad. I could not have been prouder with the way we worked for each other, moved the ball well and got the win that we all fought hard to achieve and knew we were capable of. We said at the start of the season we needed time playing together to improve and get stronger and that playing Woodnesborough in the first game was unfortunate, and certainly not an accurate reflection of what we could do.
Today, we put that right. To go from a 4 - 0 loss to a richly deserved 2 - 1 victory in just a few months just offers some evidence of just how far we have come and what our full potential may be.
Thank you to a fantastic squad. Everyone gave everything and I am so proud and humble to be able to be part of, what I think is, something special.
Thank you to the unused substitutes Linden and John Wright for again turning up and being in the squad but not getting on the pitch.
Thank you, as ever, to the supporters for their vocal encouragement that is always needed and much appreciated.
I know we cannot sit on our laurels with Bay City up next Sunday but this is a well deserved fantastic victory that we can all enjoy and savour.
Paul Jones Manager