Catsfield played hosts to Pebsham Sibex on Saturday and with both teams languishing in the bottom half of the table it was a must win for both sides. After a week off last week a rejuvenated Catsfield side were still looking to kick start their season, starting with a win Saturday.
With almost a fully fit squad at his disposal, manager Tony Luke continues to pick strong teams which could easily contest in the nether regions of the league. A change from the usual 4-4-2 to a 4-4-1-1 formation was one of a few changes from the last time out at Wittersham.
Winn returned in goal which meant N. Champion moved back out on pitch partnering Graham at centre back. Swain and Pistol filling their usual left and right back roles.
Ever-present Rollison once again started in centre midfield and was partnered by Newman with Booth in right midfield and White dropping from attack back in to left midfield. Bradbury’s return to full fitness saw him play in the ‘number 10’ role as he was given the freedom of playing in the pocket between the midfield and attack.
Top goal scorer Luke took his usual place in attack as he looked to add to his tally with another goal or two here.
10th Minute Game Changer
The Cats started brightly as they looked to grab hold of this match from the off and it was indeed Catsfield who had the first real chance of the tie as Luke broke the offside trap in the 5th minute to find himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper – his early shot went inches wide of the left-hand post. Catsfield were almost made to pay immediately for their missed chance as Pebsham went on to miss two good chances both of which didn’t even end up testing Winn.
It was only the 10th minute when the game changing event occurred and it had more than a shade of the Crowhurst game about it. A through ball to Luke saw him tussling with the defender who duly clattered in to the Catsfield striker bringing him down – stonewall penalty. The referee wasn’t finished there though and proceeded to send the Pebsham defender off with a straight red card, deeming him the last man. White dispatched the penalty with unnerving quality to put the Cats 1-0 up and 1-man up within the first 10 minutes.
Catsfield used their man advantage almost instantly as 1-0 became 2-0 within 4 minutes. Newman finding himself in some room down the right, he then rifled an unstoppable shot into the left hand corner from 20-yards. The game then calmed for a while as Pebsham had to reshuffle and press if they wanted to get anything out of this game which the Cats were now well in control of. Bradbury then went sprawling in the box but the referee waved away his claims for a penalty. The half hour mark almost saw a contender for goal of the season as Newman once again found himself space 30-yards out – he lashed a bullet of a shot which had the goalkeeper beaten but his effort came crashing off the crossbar and away to safety.
The half time whistle came and the half ended 2-0. The Cats were looking to put this game to bed early in the second half with another goal or two and hopefully not recreate the unnecessary pressure they created themselves at Crowhurst.
The Cats restricted Pebsham to very limited chances in the early exchanges in the second half. It was indeed Catsfield that got the crucial third goal and effectively put the game to bed. Good work from Bradbury saw himself dance in to the box and get the ball to Luke who showed great composure to round the keeper and slot the ball home. 3-0 to the Cats with just over half an hour remaining. He too went down in the box 5 minutes later when he nudged the ball beyond the Pebsham defender who then brought the Cats front man down – the referee once again waving play on when a penalty seemed the obvious call.
Catsfield were then forced to make their first substitution as Graham took a bad knock to the ankle and was forced off – Rawlings replacing him in a straight swap. As the Cats remained in control of the tie no real incidents took place in the next 10 or so minutes and the Cats made their second substitution as Harris came on to replace Luke who never really shook off his knock he took in the first half clattering in the penalty incident.
3-0 became 4-0 minutes later when a flighted freekick by Newman from 35 yards out was made a complete hash of by the Pebsham ‘keeper – palming the ball up and in to the roof of the net. Catsfield dominating the game at 4-0 then made their third and final substitution as Atkins replaced Bradbury with 15 minutes to go.
A sniff of a comeback might have been in the offing when Pebsham scored a quickfire double – their first coming in the 78th minute when a ball from the left beat all Catsfield defenders for the Pebsham attacker to slot in an the empty net at the back post from 6-yards. Their second came in the 81st minute when their number 9 finally got his goal with a low shot across Winn that nestled in the bottom left hand corner from the edge of the box.
Catsfield could and should have put the game to bed once again with a couple of minutes to go when a miss-control from the Pebsham centre back saw Harris one-on-one with the goalkeeper – his heavy touch was enough for the goalkeeper to rush out and smother his prodded shot though.
The final whistle blew and signalled the end to an impressive afternoon for the Cats. With no game next week they will have to wait a fortnight to try and build on this win when they travel to Barley Lane to take on Tackleway who are now only above Catsfield in 5th on goal difference – the Cats are hoping to sign off 2014 with a few more wins.
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