The conditions were against The Revs - in fact nothing was in our favour if honest...
It was the late kick off... cocoa and slippers time of night late!
It was cold and very icy underfoot.
We had to use one of our more powerful players in goal.
We had no subs - they had two.
They were top of the league undefeated.
And we are old, I mean we really should be in cocoa and slippers time of our lives if honest!
But The Revs do have somethings in their favour - that is a steely grit and determination and a will to battle for each other and this game was perfect for that. Ignore the score line, that flatters the opposition, concentrate on the pride each player had in the shirt.
I shall start by giving high praise indeed to new father Craig Tyman. He put his hand up and offered to go in goal. It did mean that The Revs would miss his presence outfield, but there was really no other option. I mean he doesn't seem to mind getting hit by a ball in freezing conditions! He put in a tremendous display, pulled off some expert saves, played the ball out from the back and pinged it up front with relative accuracy when needed. We will ignore the one hospital pass to James Evans, which he more than made up for anyway.
So thanks Tyman! We salute you sir!
With regards the game the entire team worked their asses off for the entire match. And not just in stifling the opposition, but also on the front foot taking the game to the league leaders. In fact it could have been a different game altogether had the opposition netting not have so many holes in it!
A sweeping move out from the back released Dave P down the wing who struck a thunderous shot into the bottom corner that went through the side netting hole and the ref assumed wrongly that it didn't go in. He obviously asked the opposition to be honest and tell him if it was a goal or not and of course the opposition weren't honest - I mean would you be if you were getting outplayed by joint bottom of the league?
The Revs dusted themselves off though and kept going. It was fair to say that they enjoyed the better of the first half, Tyman was quiet at the back for the first ten minutes with the opposition resorting to long range efforts.
Half time came and the opposition were lucky it was still 0-0.
I have to say it was a joy to play in and the belief and the fight in the team against the odds showed there was life in the old legs still.
The second half was more of the same to be honest. But if The Revs were extremely unlucky not to be given their goal then the opposition were very lucky getting theirs.
There was no way past The Revs. Blocks, tackles, tracking back... they could not find a way through. So resorting to hit and hope seemed their back up plan. And unfortunately it worked.
James Evans held his man up, got a toe to the shot, which deceived Phil P, taking another deflection off his shin and in turn wrong footing Tyman with the ball scraping uder his leg and creeping over the line. Thems the breaks kids, thems the breaks.
You do not always get out of life what you put in...
The Revs kept their heads up though and were always just a matter of inches away from scoring. Lewis Evans' rampaging runs were halted by luck not skill. Dave P was giving the opposition a torrid time, hounding them constantly, running forward at the defence and causing all kinds of trouble. Beardall was given the time and opportunity to play balls in behind the defence and on one occasion his cross was glanced narrowly wide off the head of James Evans.
Further opportunities came as The Revs piled on the pressure - a corner was whipped in that Lewis just quite couldn't get under control. A block put in by James rebounded to Lewis at speed but he managed to control and slip in Dave P who was halted by a last gasp tackle by a panicked defender. And Beardall found space after dropping the shoulder and mugging off the defender to whip in a dangerous cross that was agonisingly scrambled away.
All this was built upon by sterling work at the back from Phil who did not stop running. He pressured every attack, made all the right decisions, cleared the ball when needed and passed out to start another attack on other occasions.
It really was a wonderful display from the team but the high intensity pressure and the constant running off the ball for the break took it's toll on tired, old legs and as a result the opposition late on got a grip of the game. Two subs coming on every 6 minutes will do that to you!
So eventually, their one well worked build up paid off with tired legs not quite getting to the ball at the back post for a tap in to make it 2-0.
It was a sucker punch for sure, but even then the belief that the team could salvage a late goal was still there.
Games are sometimes all about fine margins. If the ref had of seen Dave P's goal then it could be a different game altogether, a different mind set. If 3 deflections had not occurred Tyman saves their first.
As Proximo said to Maximus... We mortals are but shadows and dust.
So in the grand scheme of things the result doesn't matter. We stood toe to toe and battled to the end. It is a shame the score line didn't reflect the effort, but the result won't be what is remembered.
Next week 6 gladiators go into battle again and next week the result will match the effort put in.