Fantastic performance from all the lads today. Everyone gave their all and deserved to win the match. Main thing is Mateusz is back to school and just needs to rest.
Awesome free kick from Ryan James today, that went like a rocket. Man of the match today was Alfie Brown for a fabulous display on the left wing, the only thing missing was a goal.
Many thanks to Alex once again for the match report below.
We faced the only other side capable of winning the league apart from Hythe, and as we had played them in our previous match it seemed the fixture list had not been unduly kind of late. We matched Hythe, but silly mistakes cost us, would this be a similar tale? We entered the game in an inauspicious manner, having just the bare eleven. Yet sometimes a positive comes from an enforced change of circumstance, this was to be a light bulb moment, and the game spoke volumes for the character of the eleven who took to the pitch. Marcus played at left back and it seemed he made that position his own with a fine performance. This allowed Alfie to play wide in front of him, as both have a defensive background it pretty well locked up that flank. Meanwhile on the other side Michael and Charlie Steine did a similar job. Gallin was the shield in front of the two centre backs, and with the marauding play from Ryan our defence looked as tight as it ever has done. Tom, partnering Charlie Howard and making for a really good centre back unit, again shepherded his back line well and turned in another good performance. Once in the second half he won three headers in quick succession, to the cheers of 'Sumptuous!' from the touchline.
The match was played on a firm dry pitch with both sides sparring cautiously, but the greatest endeavour came from the Vikings. It was no surprise that in the eighth minute a long ball from Reece found Mateusz who ran onto it, controlled the ball, then fired past the defenceless keeper to give us the lead. The next ten minutes or so was a constant attempt to build on that solitary goal, with shots from Alfie, who had two strikes in as many minutes, with the keeper just getting a boot to his best effort to turn it onto the outside of the post and away to safety. Mateusz fired in and Ryan also, before a left handed save by Reece kept us ahead. Charlie Steine was obviously in distress from a back strain which flared up within a minute of the KO but to his credit battled as he always does, knowing we had no substitutes on the line he remained on the pitch. All over the park our boys were fighting to win every 50-50 ball, and usually triumphing. The second half was only five minutes old when Ryan found the net with a stunning free kick from outside the box. From the restart Marcus headed away under pressure to concede a corner-it was clear Tankerton had been stung to life. The slight slope helped as they became a bigger threat and in the 53rd minute they pulled a goal back. It was well worked and a fine shot found the corner of the net. Their tails were up as they searched for an equaliser but we were always a threat. Good work in the centre with Mason complementing Ryan and Gallin often released Mateusz to run on goal. Their second goal came in the 60th minute with a mix up between Charlie Howard and Reece over a poor call. It was a tragedy as both had played exceptionally well. However we dusted ourselves down and were playing in their half for a lot of the remaining twenty minutes. At this time Charlie Steine was fouled rather badly. He had been on the receiving end of a few suspect tackles and this late tackle cracked him on the ankle. He was clearly hurt because he never stays down. He did get up and continued at a high level for the remainder of the game. A stomp on Michael's foot meant we were down to ten men for a short while, but he was patched up by Carol and pitchforked back into the fray. There was a moment of magic worth mentioning when Charlie Steine showed he'd recovered from the earlier kick. He won the ball in a tackle, the ball ran loose and he had to win it against another, he dribbled around a player as a crash tackle came in and once more he kept the ball , he then set off on one of his slalom runs dribbling around three players. Exciting stuff; this is enervating for the team and the lads pushed for the winner. In the last minute the ball fell to Mateusz, he was caught high by an arm, and went to ground, but a penalty wasn't awarded. He fell awkwardly but was up on his feet for the last sixty seconds. That was forgotten immediately as the final whistle was blown, then Mateusz collapsed. Drama! This resulted in an ambulance being called as Mateusz lost the feeling in his legs. Parents covered the lad-face down-with their coats as he lay awaiting the paramedics arrival. The ref remained, which was a nice touch too. Thankfully we have learned he is walking and needs a complete rest from sporting activities for a period. Charlie Steine had a reaction from his kick and is currently on crutches-he too will have to miss some activities for a short while. Thank goodness there is a four week gap before we play again, as Dave called out to remind Mateusz as the ambulance doors were closing, that he too had just those four weeks to get fit. So a very credible 2-2 draw was gained, by the eleven.
Recently at a fiasco of a training session I admonished the lads by telling them in no uncertain terms that they were extremely fortunate to have Dave at the helm. He is the best manager I have encountered, and it was a joy to see some of the aspects he has been banging on about all season beginning to come to fruition on the pitch. Make no mistake this squad with a couple of useful additions are championship contenders. It is the last season next year for us all; with ramping up the training to increase the fitness levels, focusing on the job in hand, and fighting for each other-which has been showing itself in recent games-this could be a very interesting year. Well done lads, all the spectators loved your contribution.
Man of the match Alfie Brown.