Today we faced Bogans Carpets fc, a team who gave us a game last outing and one which was vital we picked up another 3 points to keep putting the pressure on the chasing pack in the race for the title.
From the off we was on the front foot, an early chance fired high from Hardman was testament to that and moments later a great volleyed cross from Smith found the same man Hardman who’s header was saved.
Still like in recent weeks we wasn’t playing with our usual style and struggled to string any notable passes together on a bobbly but decent enough pitch.
Sam Yates won a solid tackle and came out of defence with the ball but instead of keeping it simple like so many struggled to do today he decided to take one touch too many and their midfielder punished him by nicking it away and releasing their forward one on one with Jason in goal, Jason committed a clear foul and a penalty was given, their striker finishing with ease 0-1.
We tried to come straight back into the game, off a Ryan Smith corner skipper Lee O’Donnell fired a bullet header which rattled the crossbar and seconds later Machin looped an effort on target and it hit the post and came back across the line and cleared before it could land behind the line.
The game became really scrappy, littered with mistakes and nearly a brawl as a Bogans player decided to run half the pitch to kick out at O’Donnell, which he was the least bit impressed with.
In the last 5 minutes of the half we had chances to go in at half time level, a disallowed goal occurred which was probably correct and with seconds left Hardman fired over from a great position.
Half TimeAfter a stern conversation at half time, a reaction was what was needed and boy did it come in quick time, a superb ball from James Thomas found Hardman free and his perfectly placed header was too far out of the reach of the keeper as it flew into the top corner to send us level 1-1.
Then shockingly not even a minute after drawing level we found ourselves behind again, a long ball pumped up field with a strong wind assisting it, Matthew Easterbrook misjudged and his attempted header looped back towards Jason from all of 25 yards and with Jason on his line it sailed strangely in the only place he couldn’t reach, right in the top corner, it was a freak of a goal but a goal non the less 1-2.
We was still not at the races and it was hoped a raft of changes would help, Curran made a welcome return from suspension to add some energy in the middle and we looked to get back into the game.
Another Hardman chance went begging as his effort flew over and seconds after that chance Easterbrook tried to make amends for his own goal by hitting a sweet effort from 25 yards which their keeper clawed away with a great save.
Philly Lennon and Kieran Hamm then entered the fray with 30 minutes to go, Lennon straight into action with a belter of a shot which flew just wide after a Curran corner was cleverly played to him on the edge of the area.
Kieran too was straight into action with a trade mark lung busting run and lobbed cross which Curran reached with his head but his effort was cleared off the line.
Suddenly we was starting to play a bit more like ourselves with some decent football on show.
Time was ticking and with 15 to go Liam Rose was introduced with hope that his Midas touch in front of goal would get us a result, He certainly looked like he had a point to prove with a great run and shot which was blocked in the area seconds after being introduced.
With 10 minutes to go Michael Edge came on to add some more energy and he too like the subs before him made an instant impact, a ball sprayed out wide on the left by Curran found him and he played a neat ball inside to Hamm lurking with intent in the area, cleverly he twisted an turned and drew a foul which had the ref signalling to the penalty.
With a debate on who was taking it, with Hamm keen to extend his great piece of play with a goal, the decision was taken that Rose would step up, every penalty I’ve seen Rose take has been put away expertly and again he made no mistake sending the keeper the wrong way to send us level 2-2.
Suddenly the passion stepped up and for the reaming minutes we battered the Bogans Defence, when it looked like we would have to settle for a draw and a solitary 1 point, absolute scenes occurred on the side lines.
Kieran Hamm again with superb strength and vision floated a shot come cross on target and with it being close if not over the line Rose as he should have made no mistake in ensuring the ball crossed the line by heading it in 3-2.
With seconds left it was all about keeping the ball as was the screams from the touchline and Smith Curran and Edge did so superbly by playing it between themselves to wind down the clock and when the ball found its way to Rose wide left you would have thought he would of advanced into the area in search of a hat trick but stunningly he faked twisted and turned and ran it into the corner to cleverly waste time….superb!!And that’s how it ended a massive 3 points and another result which keeps the chasing pack at bay, not a pretty one but we did dominate large parts of the game and if our finishing was better could have won comfortably.
The pitch was bobbly and it does affect our style no doubt but for this time of year the pitch was in a good condition and as the saying goes both teams had to deal with it! It’s a mark of Champions, performances like this, never giving up and not knowing when you are beaten ….long may it continue.