Away league match played on 03 December 2016.
Kicked off at 2:00 PM

Another win owed much to resilience and some good fortune as SEDS make it 8 unbeaten.

Firm pitch’s and a cold but sunny afternoon are not what might have been expected for tough December fixture(s) for Sedlescombe Rangers Football Club.
Only two teams in competitive action this weekend, with the first team travelling to Hawkhurst, whilst the second team were at home to Hollington United 2nds. Both tricky games for each side. The second team were defeated narrowly 2-0. Once more well done to all who took part and represented the club. The score line suggests that there was plenty of effort and hard work that went in to the performance and I am certain that if you continue to show this character in every game you will be back in winning ways again soon.

As is the tradition at this time of year the exchanging of gifts has become the norm. It should be no real surprise that Hawkhurst, had thought that Christmas had come early as SEDS presented their opponents with their first present of the festive season.
Despite an extensive team talk emphasising the manner in which Hawkhurst play their brand of football, it seemed that either it had gone in one ear and out of the other or that players were still too focused on the social event from the previous Saturday night. SEDS achilies heel had been exposed again, the conceding of the first and early goal !
Whilst the skipper Jim Adams rose majestically to win the first header on the edge of the box, some of the team had switched off for a moment allowing opposition players to ghost in on the wrong side of them. As the ball fell, players scurried to recover both positions and composure, the first shot being blocked. The ball spun up in the air to be met and nodded home from close range despite the best efforts of Adam Corten to keep it out.

NOTE: In an effort to eradicate this issue of conceding early in games, which seems to be when we are at our most fragile – we shall be extending the length of the pre match warm up.

If the first 10 minutes of the game were a little shaky following the goal, what followed for the rest of the first half was an excellent show of character and determination. Steadily we turned the game around and dominated possession creating several chances. It may not have been the best and most fluent football that we have played this season but in respect of effort it was hard to beat. Hawkhurst themselves defended manfully and at times threatened occasionally on the break or from hesitant and indecision in the SEDS defence from playing themselves in to trouble. Whilst this may sound harsh on the defence can I just add that the resilience of the defence was in the main superb, and after consideration the man of the match performance is shared and goes to:

Ross Rogerson and Ryan Edwards.

They were both excellent for two of the youngest players on the pitch.

Eventually the break-through came, right on the stroke of half time, it was no more than SEDS deserved. Luke Davies slid the ball in to Mikey Booth and he was fouled as he prepared to shift the ball to shoot. Pete Matthews strode forward confident in his ability to convert from the spot and he did not disappoint as he tucked the kick in to the bottom left hand corner. The referee then swiftly blew for half time.

The 2nd half was largely scruffy and unmemorable. The ball being exchanged between each side far too frequently for any real pressure to be asserted. SEDS defence seemed to be the busier but this may have been that as the game wore on the more Hawkhurst became more direct in there play and SEDS wasteful with possession. Certainly in the last 10 minutes of the game,the home side provided with the opportunity to deliver very good ball from set piece situations put the SEDS goal under heavy pressure. The delivery was excellent and had it not been for Adam Corten in goal, pushing two efforts over the bar Hawkhurst may have grabbed a point.

The decisive blow however was delivered from the boot of none other than Pip Hatch. A quiet game by Pips high standards, but when he was needed he was in the right place at the right time, tucking the ball away in the bottom right hand corner from around 8 yards out. The goal had come just at the right time, as moments earlier Hawkhurst had seen an effort hit the post, dribble along the line, toe poked by an attacker, saved by Adam Corten and then as time stood still and the ball drifted across the face of goal with a seemingly simple tap in beckoning Luke Davies arrived to avert the danager.

It was from the resulting clearance that SEDS broke away on the counter to grab what would be Pips and SEDS winning goal. Things could have got better for SEDS had the slope on the home sides pitch not seen Jack Booth put his strike narrowly the wrong side of the post.

Whilst the win was extremely satisfying against a side who we had already lost too earlier in the season, sit above us in the league and are yet to play in the cup, we must try and improve on certain aspects of our game. 8 unbeaten, what do I have to moan about !

I have no problem winning ugly and there will be times when we can’t just blow teams away like we have done against Rocks, Westfield and Social. As we found out against Hawkhurst and will against the better sides – we won’t have it all our own way, so we must learn to adapt our game to suit our opponents, help our team mates and the side record positive results. We need to continually try to improve week in week out……

Our play was very static at times, our passing was lazy, we dwelt on the ball for too long, we didn’t keep possession when we needed to, bought pressure on ourselves and our game management for the last 15 minutes was poor – these and many other points will form part of the team talk for this weekend visit for a tough game against Sidley. Only one more game left after this before the Christmas break so let’s move heaven and earth to keep this unbeaten run going.

I know Matt has already sent out the match text and all replies have been received back – so well done your promptness is always appreciated.

Finally and in closing – Training on Wednesday usual place and same time, let’s see you all there….
Have a good week.
Up the SEDS.

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