The Revs have played in some horrendous conditions down the years – I mean nothing beats the snow storm in the Goals days – but last night was awful! Sideways sleet and freezing conditions meant a game no one was looking forward to. Add to that a late drop out in defence, a reshuffle and the fact The Revs were facing SAPA, a team half their age, it was always going to be an uphill battle.
Saying that when The Revs are up against they always raise their game. And last night was no exception – it was only a couple of late goals that took the tie away from them.
I mean let’s be blunt – it was a game about attack and defence with few opportunities for The Revs. Evans senior deputised at the back and did a sterling job marshalling the team, ensuring the team communicated and managing to keep their speedy striker quiet for large parts of the game.
Myers pulled off some superb saves as is the norm – one fingertip save round the post was a highlight. Evans junior worked hard back and forth playing the lone frontman and doing his best to be a pest. Tyman bullied the midfield as best he could – one brilliant tackle taking ball and man. Steane hounded up and down the pitch, frustrating the opposition into several fouls and Dave P was full of energy down the flanks, tracking back to help out the defence when needed.
However, the star last night was Beardall and not just for his goal. His work rate was impressive, chasing seemingly lost causes all game and getting the better of things when he did.
Against teams like this you have to remain in the game and The Revs did that. It was only a lucky goal after the efforts of Steane and Myers that was the difference at half time. Both closing down the striker who managed to squeeze a shot off hitting the post and collecting the rebound and narrowly beating the outstretched leg of Steane to score.
Even as the heavens opened and the sleet and wind swirling round the pitch made things difficult in the second half, The Revs remained in the tie.
The ref also, as usual, did his best to try ruin things much to the frustration of Beardall. Blowing for no fouls, or giving advantage where it was not needed or earnt. Although the trip by Evans senior was cynical and Myers full body smash could have resulted in a red had Beardall not got back to the line.
Late in the game 2 goals were conceded as The Revs got more and more adventurous going forward – both were momentary lapses of concentration that the opposition took advantage of. However, even when 3 down The Revs went looking.
Evans junior holding the ball up well, fending their lanky defender off to turn and see Beardall in space about 20 yards or so out. When the pass came in Beardall steadied himself and shot hard and low along the greasy surface leaving the keeper with no chance as it rocketed into the bottom corner.
The opposition had a moment of panic – they have been here before against us and messed up their title party. So moments later when Tyman struck, the keeper parried and a rare foray into the box for Evans senior latching onto the rebound and narrowly hitting the ball wide, was a wakeup call for the opposition to see the game out.
So they put their foot on the ball, let The Revs run around hunting and allowed time to fritter away running out 3-1 winners.
I won’t say the score line flattered them, but The Revs on another night could have nicked something here. So onto next week against the league leaders… better stock up on lemsip after last night though, I can feel a cold coming on!