Tonights action saw us pitted against foes the Grove Fc in the quarter final of the David Tacy cup, after a few dodgy pitch cancellations it promised to be a mouth-watering meeting.
With big players missing and a rare sight of a small squad, things were made difficult but the team we put out still was one which looked tasty.
We started off brightly and a superb ball by Matty Smith found its way to Liam Rose who at the last moment couldn’t get good enough touch on his effort which went wide. Kevin Machin who looked well up for it tonight went on a terrific run and fed an inch perfect ball to Liam Rose down the left channel after cutting in his chance came to an end when their defender made a great challenge.
The resulting corner From Ryan Smith was put in the mix and Adam Coulls rose highest to place a header which the keeper comfortably saved.
Sadly these were our best moments of the game as after that 10-15 minute spell we went into our shells and just didn’t play, too many long hopeful balls, too many wild challenges, too many players not showing for the ball, sadly it was our worst performance to date.
With The Groves in the ascendency they broke forward with a huge hole in the middle they played a simple punt up the pitch and we didn’t defend as a team leaving the defence horribly exposed their pacey striker fed an easy ball into the path of an onrushing midfielder to finish with ease past Jason in goal 1-0.
Still we had chances to equalise as Ryan Smith fired in a great free kick which left Matty Smith free in on goal with him sliding a foot at the cross the keeper saved well, moments after that Adam Coulls side footed effort hit the crossbar.
The Groves were in truth playing good football and keeping possession well and causing us problems their wingers and pacey striker pivotal in this, and it wasn’t long before they were 2-0 up. Once again the defence was left horribly exposed and Lee O’Donnell cleared a cross which was near the goal line it cannoned back off the bar and landed nicely for Groves to fire into the net.
It wasn’t nice to watch and there were more nervy moments in a dire first half showing in which we decided to become embroiled in silly niggles with Groves which caused a pussy looking shoving match between a number of players which made us lose concentration even more.
For the first 10-15 minutes of the second half it was a hugely scrappy affair with nothing really to note from either side and the report in the second half will be short due to no notes being taken.
A chance did come our way when Philly Lennon fired in a corner which was met with a lee O’Donnell header which was once again easily saved by the keeper.
With 33 minutes left on the clock Rose was replaced by Sean Phillips and his introduction had the desired effect as his straight forward running caused The Groves some problems.
Michael Edge who had like his team mates been working overtime at the back put in a few brave tackles and being backed up by the tireless Kevin Machin it was his ball which released Machin down the left his cross was met by Matty Smith who turned and hit just wide of the post.
Groves continued to play and one chance let in their striker but he gladly fired wide, with 20 odd minutes left things were looking bleak, Myself came on for Sam Yates who still looked like carrying the effects of his recent knee injury.
Then hope!! a ball was fired in superbly by the superb Sean Phillips and it was met by Matty Smith to scramble an effort into the goal 2-1 ….game on?
We tried but just could never really push on as Groves in truth stood firm and once again too many times we played the wrong ball and never played any of our passing game which we are recognized with.
With 5 minutes to go the game was over as a needless and silly free kick was given on the edge of the box and a ball was put in and with 2 men free, Groves fired in a third to end the contest 3-1.
So a blow but one in which we must learn from and kick on we will have our chance against them again and if we had to choose out of the 4 games we had to play against them to lose one, it would have been this match, the cup final game next Thursday is massive now we surely can’t play as bad as this can we?? the 2 forthcoming league fixtures against them will surely go a long way in deciding the eventual league champions and give us another shot at redemption.
Before the Final we have an important league fixture to contend with and we can’t take our eyes off that.
Lads lets regroup and come out firing from now until the end of the season, and maybe we will be the ones celebrating with music in the changing rooms, listening to that hurt keep that hurt inside and remember it for the rest of the season.
Not many if any stood out unfortunately tonight, one or two maybe, Kevin Machin did well and battled even if he tired in the second half M.O.M was given to him.