Confidence this season, so far, is not high and even after a late equaliser to get a point the week before, going into this week’s game, against Who Gives A Foot, no one seemed to think The Revs had a chance. But as is so often the case The Revs truly competed with the opposition who probably weren’t expecting such a tough ask. But as is so often the case The Revs were undone by one man. Add to that the fact The Revs are not confident when holding a lead meant heartbreak in the dying minutes.
The first half was pretty even, with The Revs just shading it, looking the slightly more dangerous of the two teams. Everyone busting a gut to get forward as well as work back. The first breakthrough came early on when Hartrick, forced a little wider than he would have liked, played the ball across the area leaving the keeper in no man’s land only for Evans’ outstretched leg to hit the ball onto the post with the goal begging. It was probably harder to hit the post than score. However, that bred some confidence into the team and some lovely sweeping football was played.
Several attacks involving Evans and Beardall, including a nice back heel from the latter, led to chances for D. Pinkstone and Hartrick, really pushing the opposition back into their half. The fight and determination was there from all with Allen proving pivotal at the back, pushing the team forward and this was also typified by Steane who was a pest to the opposition all game.
With minutes left of a hard fought first half disaster struck though. Their winger whipping a ball into the middle which Allen met with a header, but it was not quite judged right and looped up and into the path of an oncoming attacker who hit a shot towards goal that Myers just couldn’t quite keep out.
The Revs had played so well and heads didn’t drop. From kick off the team ploughed forward, eventually getting a break through when Beardall intercepted a pass on the half way line and released Hartrick quickly who turned the keeper, sitting him on his backside and slotted home to level the scores on the stroke of half time. It was just rewards for a terrific display in the first half.
The second half continued in that vain, buoyed on by the first half performance. Another sweeping movement put Pinkstone in out wide, but the defence scrambled the effort away. Midway in the second half, pushing for goals, Evans was brought down on the edge of the opposition area. Hartrick trotted towards goal, not been picked up by any defender and Evans slotted the ball into his path from the free kick for Hartrick to coolly finish in the bottom corner to give The Revs the lead.
It was this moment, when The Revs no longer needed to chase a game, that they found themselves in foreign territory. Holding onto a lead, something that has not happened this season, proved difficult. The team either sat too deep and invited the opposition onto the ball or pushed forward leaving gaps at the back. On several occasions the opposition went close and The Revs were counting their blessings as shots were fired wide or were gobbled up by Myers.
On such an occasion, Evans was outdone by the trickery of the opposition leaving Beardall to deal with him and he felt he had no choice but to fell the player leading to a penalty. Up stepped their talismanic player who was full of bravado and smashed the ball down the middle. Myers threw out an arm, making himself big and tipped the ball onto the crossbar with Allen clearing his lines for a kick in. It was suddenly looking like The Revs day, but more or less straight away, from the kick in, the same player who missed the penalty turned Allen to create a bit of space and equalised from short range.
Suddenly the opposition had their tails up and sensed the life drain out of The Revs. They came knocking on the door once more and with 3 minutes left the same player once again turned Allen and shot between his legs and the ball beat Myers into the corner of the goal to put them 3-2 up.
The Revs had a few more efforts, including a chance for Hartrick to complete his hat trick, but the opposition were in no mood to let the lead slip in the dying seconds of the game. The ref eventually bringing it to a stop and blowing for full time leaving The Revs heartbroken that after such a fine performance they didn’t even get a share of the spoils.
Once again the team showed they can compete and once again have improved on previous performances. That elusive win is coming.