Games against Echipa are always full bloodied and this was no different. As league leaders they have brushed all before them aside. With new players this season intoduced they have taken the league by the scruff of the neck, but they know games against The Revs are no easy matter (unless the entire team is severely hung over of course!).
It didn't get off to the best of starts though as Myers had misread the kick off time (if only there was someone who organised this and set up a web site also?!?!) which meant Tyman offered to neck one in for the first 5 minutes or until Myers made an appearance. And for what it's worth he did ok. Kind of. In his own words, he faced 2 shots and saved one meaning a 50% success rate. Unfortunately the one he didn't save he let slip between his legs and the ball rolled agonisingly over the line.
I wouldn't mind but it was the big numb nuts at the back for Echipa that scored it too.
Myers turned up and the game could properly begin. And from that point it is safe to say The Revs were the better team. J. Evans led the line and caused all kinds of issues at the back for Echipa, but could not get that ball in the net. At one point J. Evans was put in out wide by D. Pinkstone but saw his shot whistle past the post as the keeper closed him down. Moments later he flicked the ball over the last man and the keeper managed to just get a foot to it and the best effort as he turned inside and delivered a wicked bending shot that had the keeper beat but not the bar!
There were further chances for the likes of Steane, D. Pinkstone and L. Evans but Echipa somehow defied the odds to keep the ball out of the goal.
Typically Steane did not help the situation after deciding to give the referee his opinion of his display. And then continued to emphasise that opinion until the referee had had enough and sent Steane for a 2 minute cooling down period. I think Steane is enjoying life on the bench this season!
In that few minutes The Revs defended stoutly though. Echipa could not find a way past a eager, hard working defence. Typified as always by P. Pinkstone who showed a great turn of speed on several occasions to snuff out danger. And if, on the rare occasion they bypassed P. Pinkstone, they had Myers to contend with. He was full of gusto, taking charge of most situations, timing his clearances usually to perfection. Well apart from the moment he scuffed the ball and it spun out wide to their attacker whose eyes must have lit up bearing in on goal, but credit to Myers and also P. Pinkstone, who reacted to get back in place.
Thinking about it I can only really think of one other chance Echipa had when a miscommunication at the back allowed one of their newbies to get to the byline and whip a ball into the near post only for the lad to miskick and give Myers the opportunity to gobble the ball up.
Meanwhile further pressure was been put on the Echipa goal as The Revs hunted for the equaliser. D. Pinkstone was maruading down the flanks, as was L. Evans with his now customery barnstorming runs. Tyman was chiming into the attack as well as keeping an eye on the counter attack and Steane, once back on the pitch, was doing all the right things, feeding the ball into danger areas as well as no nonsense defending, including a hefty slide clearance taking it away from Myers.
J. Evans was trying his hardest to make things happen in that final third, closing down and chasing lost causes. At one point putting the keeper under pressure, who panicked and kicked out for a corner. J. Evans whipped the ball in from the resulting corner only for his borther to narrowly miss the connection after Echipa were left standing.
The pressure continued and eventually The Revs were rewarded for their hard work. The Evans borthers combining once more after L. Evans passed into J. Evans, but the keeper got a toe to the ball which flicked up. J. Evans stretched to try get the loose ball into the goal, but instead it flicked out to L. Evans on the edge of the area who smashed it into the far side of the goal and in off the post for his first goal at 6aside level.
As the game wore on there was more back and forth from both teams, each nullifying the other. However, The Revs always looked the more dangerous going forward and the more composed at the back. At one point Echipa started falling out with each other, a real sign The Revs had ruffled them. We even had the traditional P. Pinkstone handball, not learning from last week, but thankfully the ref missed it.
The final act saw J. Evans sneak up behind their attacker and nick the ball from between their legs to begin a counter attack, however the ref brought an end to proceedings much to Echipa's relief. In the end Echipa had settled for the draw. A point towards their title charge was better than losing all 3 and i think they feared losing all 3 if they pushed any further forward.
So it ended all square. A very good, full on game that everyone enjoyed. There was festive spirit all round, although a nagging feeling for The Revs that it could have been 3 points for Christmas instead of 1.
And so that brings 2016 - the first year of 6aside - to a close. And what a year it's been. Huge strides have been made on the pitch in that time. Echipa are the benchmark for that and on this display The Revs are going in the right direction.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year... see you all on the 9th!