Home league match played on 10 September 2016.
Kicked off at 3:00 PM

Catsfield’s opening home fixture this season would also arguably be their toughest in the shape of Hollington United II. With freshly cut grass and all rabbit holes kindly filled in by Mr. Catsfield and Manager, Nick Gurr – The Rec was looking as good as ever as the Cats looked to add to their season points tally and build on their excellent performance last week. The visiting Hollington team boasted numerous names more than capable in playing up in the highest ESFL divisions.

Team News
Catsfield shuffled their pack and shaped up in a 3-5-2 formation after Manager Nick Gurr was inspired by Wales’ most recent performance against Moldova. The Cats made 3 enforced changes from last week’s victory over Hailsham Athletico.

D. Champion continued in goal, looking for his second consecutive clean sheet, a feat that has not been achieved by the Cats in numerous years! Three central defenders made up the rest of the back line as T. Luke and R. Madge retained their places and were joined by N. Champion.

The midfield saw 2 debuts as D. Booth and K. Manning were joined in the centre of the park with G. Crathern who was deployed in the deeper ‘Makelele’ role. B. Thwaites made his competitive debut replacing the absent J. Vincent on the right of midfield whilst W. Thwaites retained his role on the left.

G. Matthews and S. Harris continued as the pairing up front, the latter looking for his first league goal of the campaign.

M. Rawlings, P. Rollison and P. Waughman were named as the Catsfield subs.

The first half came and went in what seemed like a flash. Chances were at an absolute premium with both sides creating no goal scoring opportunities of note. Both teams cancelling each other out. Hollington then lost their main goal scoring threat after being forced off with a back injury midway through the first half – a real blow to the visitors.

The half time whistle sounded and neither team could say that they deserved to be in front. 0-0 at the break.

The message at half time from the Catsfield Manager was to keep the energy levels up and the space, chances and goals will follow.

The home side were forced in to their own substitution at half time as B. Thwaites picked up a knee injury in the closing stages of the first half. He was replaced by P. Rollison in a straight swap.

Deadlock Broken
The game inevitably opened up in the second half and it wasn’t long until a chance came along. K. Manning found S. Harris on the edge of the box – he was quickly snuffed out by a defender however. It wasn’t long after that until the first goal of the game arrived. In similar circumstances to a goal the previous week, a deep freekick taken by T. Luke was sent in to the box which was met by a thundering header by N. Champion up from the back. His header back across goal was found by an unmarked G. Crathern who simply planted his free header in to the bottom right hand corner of the Hollington goal. 1-0.

The chances then came thick and fast for both sides. A low, driven 25 yard shot from the visitors forced D. Champion in to a smart stop down to his left. G. Matthews then had a decent chance to put the hosts two to the good but his first time volley from a looping cross went high and wide.

Hollington then went for broke by going three at the back and pretty much adopting a 3-3-4 formation in the latter stages of the game. It almost paid off for the visitors as a Hollington midfielder danced his way in to the Catsfield box, he then unleased a shot that rattled the inside of the left hand post before bouncing to safety. They then had a golden chance to equalise when a ball in to the box found a Hollington midfielder in acres of space in the middle of the box. His rushed shot sailed over the bar however.

D. Booth was then replaced by M. Rawlings. Rawlings slotting in at right midfield and Rollison coming in to the centre.

Icing On The Cake
With Hollington in all-out attack mode, it inevitably left huge gaps in their midfield and defence for Catsfield to exploit. The home team made the most of this and killed off the game with 3 minutes remaining. K. Manning found himself in acres of space down the right, he bent his cross around the defenders to find S. Harris at the far side of the box. His first touch sent him in to the box before squaring it to the on-rushing Crathern whose triple deflected first time shot bamboozled the goalkeeper and trickled in to the goal. 2-0.

Catsfield’s second goal killed the game as a contest with the referees whistle coming not long after the second goal.

The second successive impressive team performance from the Cats puts them in great standing already. Joint top of the league in these early stages and the only team in the division who can still boast a 0 in the goals against column. Bexhill United II are up next for Catsfield who will not be getting too carried away with things despite Bexhill losing both their two opening games. The Cats will be looking for their third successive victory as they look to end September with a P: 3, W: 3 record.

FT: Catsfield 2-0 Hollington United II

#UpTheCats #ThePests #GunMetalGreys

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