For the first time this season, since beginning this 6aside adventure, optimism was high. There was no sledging of each other on Whatsapp, but instead words of encouragement and rip roaring sentiment to get the lads up for the game.
Pinkstone wanted everything to be the same, including underwear and dismal shooting in warm up. The fact that everyone turned up early, long before kickoff, showed the anticipation everyone had for the game.
There was no Tyman this week, so Evans moved into midfield with Hartrick leading the line and Allen back in the fold as he had nothing better to do this week.
The early signs were positive with The Revs on attack in the opening minutes with both Evans and Beardall putting in Hartrick only to his shots saved by the keeper.
Then it changed and The Revs rested on their laurels and reverted to a previous incarnation of sitting deep and allowing the opposition to attack at will. They had all the space and The Revs could not get out of their half. Hartrick struggled upfront to make any impact in this period and so the team was pinned in.
Pinkstone earned his stripes in this first period with an all action display and on the rare occasion the opposition got by him Myers stood strong between the sticks. The work rate of Pinkstone was highlighted when he needed a break and as a result the deadlock was broken as their man ghosted in and scuffed a shot into the bottom corner, deceiving Myers – possibly because the ball wasn’t hit true?!?!
It continued in this vein for the remainder of the first half, the opposition sniffing more goals, but a determined backline snuffed out the opportunities. The Revs tried to get on the front foot, but seemed happy enough to soak the pressure up. There was no need to panic as the opposition began to run out of ideas in front of goal resorted to long range efforts that were never going to trouble Myers.
So half time came and The Revs, even though 1 down, roared into the second half with determination and began to seek out space. Even from kick off The Revs were on it with Hartrick spotting the keeper off his line and launching a brilliant effort over the top of him, hitting the cross bar. The opposition should have seen that as a warning of intention from The Revs.
Soon afterwards The Revs got their reward for the improved play in the second half with Pinkstone snuffing out an attack and playing it into Evans, who drew the last man and released Hartrick. He still had some work to do but finished with aplomb in the bottom corner. The Revolutions began to roar!
A few minutes later almost an exact replica Beardall played in Allen, who in turn drew his man and put Hartrick in once again. This time Hartrick sat the keeper on his arse before providing the killer finish. The Revs had turned it around, 2-1 up and the opposition looked shell shocked.
Suddenly the lads found the space more often, Steane and Beardall running the midfield and snapping at heels. There was the odd cynical foul as a result here and there. The referee having to warn The Revs on a few occasions. It’s a good job Steane is a peaceful player who knows when to keep his mouth shut… Oh, wait a min…
With less than 5 minutes on the clock the persistent fouls totted up and eventually someone was going to have to be punished. Allen pulling the arm back of their most dangerous player as he went through on goal – I’d have done the same thing to be honest – lead to The Revs first sinbin this season and suddenly after controlling the game were down a man for a few minutes.
The resultant free kick was placed out wide for an unmarked man to latch onto and bearing down on goal with no pressure struck his shot… true! Myers made himself big and pulled off a fantastic block to deny the equaliser, this one moment lifted the team once more. The Revolutions roared once more.
The opposition looked flat and out of ideas. They were distraught at the thought of been beaten by the bottom team. And then The Revs did the unthinkable. Never in their history have they scored when a man down, in fact The Revs usually do not know how to play when a man down. Beardall tracked his man, pounced on the loose ball and hoofed it forward knowing there wasn’t long left on the clock. Hartrick burst forward and collected the ball before it went out of play and moved forward under no real pressure from the opposition until reaching the box. He calmly placed it between defender and keeper to the onrushing Steane at the far post who took a touch and smashed it home! 3-1!!! Dreamland or what?!?!
The Revolutions roared again…
Even after that moment The Revs had work to do as the opposition looked for a consolation. The impressive Pinkstone producing a sublime dummy to completely miss the ball and take himself off his feet. Luckily it went safely back to Myers. It was planned yeah, Phil??
A few moments longer of pressure remained, with bodies been put on the line, including Beardall tripping himself up and rugby tackling his man as a result.
The final whistle eventually went and The Revs had won back to back games for the first time this season and lifted themselves off the bottom of the league. The performance of everyone was truly remarkable, especially the second half, and it was a pleasure to be a part of. The look on the opposition faces as they trudged off the pitch showed they were not ready for this invigorated team and were blown away in the second half.
3 games left now… and each game can be won if the team keeps it work rate and spirit and true Revolutions never say die attitude that has been missing this season. We shall roar once again!