Guest writer: Matt Utton
With the events of last weeks game Orpington were looking to see out the year on a more cheery note and a win. They were up against Intercross, a team they'd already beaten on 2 occasions with last minute goals, so this promised a thrilling encounter.
The team was however without their 2 regular centre backs, due to injury, as well as a few other key players. Manager Matt Utton eager to encourage his players pointed to the fact that this was an opportunity for some fringe players to show what they were made of. Facer and Hart stepped in to the centre of defence and were solid from the off.
With very little action in the first half, Orpington were still able to show off their fine passing ability and communication, as well as being solid as a team unit. Baring a few long balls over the top, dealt effectively with by Utton, and the make shift defence, Intercross offered no real attacking threat, but the same could be said for Orpington, as despite good ball play, there was nothing in the way of an end product, something that has affected the team time and time again, punished by the inevitability of conceding against inferior opposition, but more composed finishing. However things looked promising as they went in for half time at 0-0.
No changes at half time saw Orpington once again starting off on the front foot, and the frustration could be seen especially from the Intercross captain as he fully believed they were much better, voicing this opinion on multiple occasions.
55 minutes saw the first change with White coming on for Mogridge, frustrated all morning having not been able to test the goalkeeper. Almost instantly White could have had an impact on the game with a ball from the keeper in to Turner and through, but instead shinned it wide. Something which did in fact come back to haunt Orpington as it always does, with a ball over the top well received but the pacey Intercross striker into the top corner of the net without much hesitation. Disappointingly this was their first real attempt on goal. Another sub was made with Martin coming on for Jamieson, with Martin straight into the game with his bulldog like approach and huger to win the ball. Getting stuck in saw Orpington push Intercross back and a goal seemed on the cards. Unfortunately this was not to be, as with a loose ball played to the Intercross player (a theme of the second half) saw another through ball latched onto, and despite the best efforts of the defence ended with another composed shot this time lifting the ball over Utton and into the back of the net.
Orpington did not give up and will be commended by the manager, especially after this effort being rewarded with a free kick that was dispatched superbly by Orpington's man of the match Karl Turner, but the late win was not on the cards as with time ticking by, the ball was given away time and time again, and with seconds left, a third and final through ball came and with Orpington's keeper, way off his goal line in an attempt to perhaps win the ball back and pump one last ball forward for the draw, he was beaten to it and the Intercross Striker slotted home comfortably without hesitation, and no one to see it off the line. With that the final whistle came and the game was over, 3-1.
Orpington will be hoping the new year brings good fortune in their fixtures, with some players returning from injury, Downs bringing back Orpingtons best ratio for a striker (5 in 13) and Akhtar with 3 in his last 3 played.