Manager Paul Ryder had three of his new signings in the match day squad with Harry Donaghey, Carl Betts and Simon Hession. He was still hit with problems before the game as he lost Simon Shaw to injury, last weeks Man of the Match Ian Kimberley had to work and Nathan Leek didn't turn up for the game so he had to reshuffle the team he had picked.
Carl Thompson had to go in goal in his first game back after his three game suspension and all three new signings were thrown straight into the team as Smithswood tried to stop the four game losing streak they have been on.
Smithswood lined up like this
Glenn, Rooke, Betts, Donaghey
Thomas, Evans (Capt.), Harris, Wall
Subs: Anderson, Cottrill, Mckenna, Short
Ryder and Shenton made it clear how they wanted the team to play before the warm up as they looked to try and start playing the way they did early on in the season. They came out positive and played a high pressing game from the start. It only took them ten minutes to take the lead and Simon Hession created it. He was clean through on goal and was pulled down as he was about to shoot, winning his team a clear penalty. The ref had a big decision to make as the defender was the last man but he only brandished a yellow card. Adam Rooke stepped up to bury it in the bottom corner and put Smithswood ahead.
Smithswood took the game to Perrywood and had five good chances to increase their lead within twenty minutes. Daniel Wall forced a save from the keeper first following some great battling from Curtis Thomas to win the ball and create the chance for Wall. Only a minute later Craig Evans pinged a 30-yard pass over the defence to Lee Harris who volleyed first time forcing another good save from their keeper. Craig Evans then went close himself as he played in Simon Hession on the edge of the area. Hession held it up and laid it back to Evans who spotted the keeper off his line and shot from 30 yards but it narrowly went over the bar. It was then Hession's turn to bring a save out of the keeper as he and Curtis Thomas played some quality football wide and Thomas slotted Hession in but once again the keeper kept his team in the game. The last chance fell to Lee Harris following a great pinpoint pass from Curtis Thomas splitting the defence. Harris headed the ball and watched as it just went wide of the post.
Smithswood were then punished for not taking their chances as Perrywood's first real attack ended in disaster for Ryder's team who had bossed the game for the whole half. The goal was poor from Smithswood as they left the goal scorer unmarked on the edge of the area and he hit the bottom corner to put Perrywood back on level terms.
The home side kept their attacking intensity up though and almost went straight down the other end and scored as Simon Hession forced another great save from the keeper and then headed just over from the resulting corner. Curtis Thomas had seen plenty of the ball in the first half and created a late chance for Aaron Keen as he played him in behind the last man but his shot went across the keeper and wide of the post as the referee blew up for half time with the score at 1-1.
Smithswood had been the better team but and could have been out of sight if they had put their chances away and in their defence their keeper was having a great game. They just needed more of the same in the second half and to keep it tight at the back and they had the ability to dominate the second half as well and come away with the three points.
Their wasn't as many chances in the second half as both teams understandably didn't want to risk losing the lead by throwing too many players forward but Simon Hession had the first two chances forcing two fantastic close range saves from their keeper who could do nothing wrong to deny him and leave him wondering how he wasn't on the score sheet on his debut. Daniel Wall picked up a knock and was replaced by Aaron Anderson.
As they entered the last twenty minutes of the game, disaster struck again for Smithswood as Perrywood crossed a high ball into the box. It looked like keeper Carl Thompson was going to claim it but instead tried to punch it and it fell for their striker to head in and give Perrywood the lead against the run of play. The Smithswood defence had been playing really well and didn't deserve to be losing. Andrew Glenn had been solid on the right and Adam Rooke and Carl Betts looked like they had been playing together all season with both of them marshaling the back four and Harry Donaghey hadn't give the ball away all game. There was massive encouragement from the sidelines, as everyone knew that Smithswood weren't out of this game and would create more chances. William McKenna replaced the injured Andrew Glenn who felt his hamstring while stretching to make a tackle and Anthony Short replaced Harry Donaghey as Smithswood went for it and went three at the back.
The last five minutes were entertaining as Lee Harris ran onto a pass 20 yards from goal. He caught the ball nicely but it was heading straight at the keeper so everyone was expecting a comfortable save the way he had been playing but he spilled the ball and Harris celebrated the equaliser with the rest of the team. Their keeper was solely responsible for his team not being five down at half time so his team mates couldnt really give him too much grief.
Smithswood still went looking for the win and nearly came unstuck as Perrywood broke and worked the ball into the box to give their striker the chance to win it from four yards out. Carl Thompson redeemed himself for the second goal error with an unbelievable point blank save to get the point for his team as it would have been an injustice if they hadn't got anything out of the game.
At full time it was a repeat of the score line from the reverse fixture earlier in the season at 2-2.
There were lots of positives for Smithswood to take into the next game. They created more chances in the game than they probably have the past two or three and looked a threat every time they went forward.
Up top, Simon Hession and Aaron Keen looked dangerous as a front two and the more they play together the better they will be.
Daniel Wall and Curtis Thomas were constant threats wide and Craig Evans and Lee Harris played well together in the center of the pitch with Harris getting forward and into some great scoring positions. It’s also another 90 minutes for Evans so he will get stronger every week after his recent injury. Aaron Anderson and Anthony Short also looked lively when they come on and are both players who can push themselves into the starting eleven, which is a positive for the manager as the bench starts to look strong again.
Despite conceding two goals the defence looked solid. Andrew Glenn showed his versatility as he can play anywhere across the back four and was solid on the right today. Harry Donaghey showed he is a class player as he played the simple ball every time and always finds his man with his passes from the back. Adam Rooke was once again solid at the back with his Man of the Match performance alongside new signing Carl Betts who wasn’t far behind him. He hasn’t played football for a while so 90 minutes will help him and the more he plays the better he will get too. William McKenna was unlucky not to start as he has been playing well and looked good when he came on for Glenn too so there are more options for the manager next week. Carl Thompson is also another option either at the back or in midfield once Ian Kimberley is back next week so the squad depth is looking a little better than a few weeks ago with Lewis Cottrill and Renaldo Mayers and Simon Shaw once he is fit from his injury.
Next week sees Smithswood travel to Barton United who are in 5th so it will be a tough game but if Smithswood play like they did today, they will create more chances and score more goals in this league as the team gets stronger so things are looking much more positive than seven days ago.