After a disappointing result last week against Bexhill Rovers in the league, Catsfield’s attention was once again on beginning another cup run on Saturday as they took on Mayfield at The Rec. The visitors are doing well in their respective league campaign and can boast being a division above Catsfield in the ESFL structure. In what was going to be a tough test for the Cats was made even more challenging as only 12 players plus Manager Nick Gurr, who hadn’t played a minute all season so far, were available for selection.
With only 12 players plus himself available, Manager Nick Gurr had very limited personnel to choose from as Catsfield changed from 4-4-2 from the past few games to a 4-4-1-1 formation for this game.
Catsfield number 1, D. Champion continued in goal. 2 changes in the back four from last week as G. Paffett started at right back and I. Swain at left back. A change in central defence saw R. Madge partnered by usual attacking midfielder D. Booth – a position in which he has some experience but hasn’t played in for a number of years.
The midfield had an air of familiarity about it as J. Vincent and W. Thwaites started down the flanks. The central midfield duo were made up of P. Rollison and the returning K. Manning.
Another change up front saw S. Harris start in the number 10 role behind J. Jones who continued to lead the line.
That left only B. Thwaites and N. Gurr as the Catsfield subs.
The Cats begun brightly carving out numerous chances in the opening quarter of an hour. Harris having two long range strikes saved, Jones shooting narrowly wide on two occasions and W. Thwaites cutely lobbing the goalkeeper only to see his effort clip the top of the bar before going over. Catsfield really should have been 2 or 3 goals to the good already.
The turning point in the game happened in only the 15th minute. A nasty clash of heads between K. Manning and a Mayfield midfielder saw both players draw blood. Unluckily for Catsfield, Manning came off much worse, a gash in the back of the head meant a substitution, a trip straight to A&E and 5 stitches in the crown whilst the Mayfield man only came away with a bloody nose. The long delay killed all of the Catsfield momentum, not to mention the loss of one of their key influential midfielders having to be substituted. Gurr reshuffled the pack as Vincent came in to central midfield whilst B. Thwaites came on in right midfield.
Catsfield were then made to rue their missed chances as a Mayfield striker broke down the left managing to get all the way to the byline before cutting back across goal to an unmarked man at the back post to simply tap in, an undeserved lead at this point. 0-1. The home sides injury luck then went from bad to worse as Madge limped off having to be replaced by Gurr, who, up to this point, had not played a single minute this campaign. With no recognised centre back now on the pitch for Catsfield, another reshuffle saw Booth and Swain in the middle with Gurr slotting in at left back.
The Cats then conceded again on the stroke of half time. A corner swung pinballed about in the penalty area before being swept home by a visiting defender up from the back. 0-2. Thankfully the referees half time whistle sounded not too long after as the Cats needed to regroup.
Rub Of The Green
Once again Catsfield started the half well. W. Thwaites shooting narrowly over after controlling well from a cross 10 minutes after the break. This would end up being the home sides last real meaningful opportunity. The Cats afternoon was then summed up in the 55th minute. A routine backpass to goalkeeper Champion was belted clear, only for it to hit Swain on the hip 30 yards out – the ball bouncing off him and landing at the feet of the opposition striker who simply rolled it in to an empty net from the edge of the box. 0-3.
The third Mayfield goal killed the game as it became a stop, start affair in the final half an hour with niggly, frustrated tackles from the home side. 0-3 became 0-4 just after the hour mark as a visiting midfielder found some space and fired past Champion.
With the game over as a contest now the Catsfield frustration resulted in Jones picking up a booking for dissent and W. Thwaites receiving the same punishment for tripping an onrushing midfielder.
With the game now petering out in to nothingness, the Cats were just waiting for the full time whistle. Mayfield weren’t finished just yet though and scored a quick fire double in the last 5 minutes. The visiting striker tapping in to an empty net after being squared to and then 3 minutes later firing low in to the bottom right hand corner to make it 0-6.
The referees whistle final whistle eventually came, not before booking Madge, who was now watching from the sideline, for having a bit of handbags with the Mayfield linesman. The 0-6 result will look like a convincing white wash on paper but Catsfield can consider themselves very unlucky. It was a day of what ifs for the home side, if they’d converted one or two of their early chances and Manning was able to stay on the pitch the final result would be completely different.
Cup Action Continues
The Cats will look to put this result behind them and are hoping that a season’s worth of bad luck all came in one game. Catsfield, who are now without a win in three games, are desperate to recapture their early season form that saw them win 4 of their opening 5 games.
Catsfield are in cup action again next week as The Rec will host Sovereign Saints, league leaders of Division 4, in the SCFA Junior Cup. With even more absentees confirmed already for this one, the Cats will be struggling to find a starting XI let alone worrying about subs!
FT: Catsfield 0-6 Mayfield
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