Everyone at Smithswood will want to forget Saturday ever happened as they slumped to a 5-2 defeat against top of the table Leamington Hibernian.
Before the game everyone was upbeat following last week’s great 1-0 win at FC Stratford but things didn’t go well in the warm up and went downhill after that. Ever present Curtis Thomas missed his first game due to a family wedding and the home side were also without Ralph Richardson and Jack Duffy.
Paul Ryder had fourteen players on the day and started with the following:
Powers, Clarke, Rooke (Capt), Leek
Anderson, Weeks, Thompson, Russell
Subs: Cottrill, Pinnock, Craig Thomas
The first half wasn’t too bad from the home side’s perspective as they kicked with the wind behind them. Nathan Leek put them one up ten minutes before half-time with a 45 yard free kick from just inside their half. He spotted the keeper off his line and using the wind, hit a bullet shot which went over the keeper.
Danny Charlton and Dan Russell had great chances to score but were denied by the post and narrowly hit wide. Despite having chances Leamington Hibernian were always in the game and created some great chances of their own but the defence held firm to go in at the half with a 1-0 lead.
Despite the lead things went totally wrong in the second half for Smithswood. In the first half with the wind they had still tried to play football with the exception of their goal where Nathan Leek had used it to his advantage. Leamington Hibernian came out and played using the wind to their advantage shooting from anywhere on the pitch and using their keepers long kick to put the defence under pressure at every opportunity.
Hibs levelled things up from a long throw in on the left. They won the header cleanly in the six yard box leaving the keeper no chance. They were encouraged by the goal and put the home side under constant pressure as they surged forward looking for the lead which came five minutes later. They used the wind again to their advantage hitting a high free kick from the left which beat the keeper and put them in control of the game. It was 3-1 shortly after following a misplaced clearance which allowed Hibs to slot home which then lead to the home side arguing amongst themselves on the pitch.
Despite the arguing and errors, Smithswood started to dominate the game and play some great football with Liam Williams and Ash Weeks going close. They managed to get one back when Ash Weeks found Dan Russell who skipped past the full back and picked out Danny Charlton in the area to slot home and everyone was up for the challenge. Leamington soon killed the game though following another error. They again used the wind to bend in a corner from the right which beat the keeper and the man on the post to make it 4-2 and clinch the game.
When the fifth goal went in heads were already down as Hibs were allowed to run through the middle of the Smithswood midfield and defence and slot home to run out easy 5-2 winners.
Some strong words and discussions were had after the game as the team simply imploded due to a number of factors on the day and Paul Ryder will be looking for them to sort things out and bounce back this week as they host Knowle in the Quarter Final of the Les James Cup. Despite the poor performance it is still only the fifth game the team have lost this season and they still have enough games in hand to move top of the table above Leamington Hibernian so it’s time to put this down as an off day and come out stronger and fight for the win next week.