Away league match played on 15 October 2016.
Kicked off at 2:30 PM

After some indifferent form in various cup ties of late, which has seen us concede 17 goals in three cup games, a reaction was demanded from the lads to try and put a halt to bit of a rut we found ourselves in.

More organisation and a bit more battle was called for and the boys certainly provided this against a tricky Hazelrigg team who were lying in 3rd coming in to the fixture. Our opening game of the 15/16 season was away at the same ground and we came away having had ourselves ran rugged by an energetic and spirited team, so were under no illusions we would be up against it again.

A relatively scrappy first half ensued, with tackles and challenges aplenty from both teams who were both looking to dominate on a relatively small pitch. Both teams created a few long range chances which were comfortably dealt with by both keepers. We managed to get a bit of a foothold in the game in the 10 minutes before half time with the speedy Sean Caffrey getting in behind twice, but on the second occasion was unable to provide a deft enough finish to lob the keeper, his effort floating just over the bar. The impressive Mick Cave, making his first start after debuting from the bench a few weeks back, had our best chance of the half, getting himself on the end of a through ball and managing to get a shot off under pressure, only to see it come back off the foot of the post, the rebound falling to Chris Sheldon on the edge of the box but his follow up effort was well blocked.

HALF TIME 0 - 0.

The second half continued in similar fashion to the start of the game, but with Hazelrigg soon applying the pressure as they kicked down the slight slope. Some plucky defending and last ditch blocks from Jonny Doyle & Dom Slater kept the game at 0 - 0. However after defending a succession of corners some further pressure from Hazelrigg after 55 minutes resulted in us not clearing our lines and playing ourselves in to some danger. This was duly seized upon by the home team and they converted following a slick through ball.

A change was made with 20 minutes to go, Adam Newbrook coming on to provide a more physical presence up front. We continued to huff and puff to with no great effect. A couple of headed half-chances from corners were easily dealt with by the home side, who were looking to close out the win. With ten minutes to spare the busy Cave again burst forward, his surging run brought to an end on the edge of/just inside the box. As we appealed the ref waved play on, the ball squirming out to Caffrey on the right hand side of the box. His cross looked to be making its way in to box but was blocked by an outstretched defenders arm. To us on our side of the pitch it looked a stonewall penalty, and the ref seemed to agree, whistling and pointing to the spot. However, the home linesman and bench seemed to think otherwise. The linesman was a lot closer than us and believed it hit the defender’s side and with his arm outstretched, it deceived the ref in to thinking it hit his arm. Either way the decision remained, with Newbrook grabbing the ball and placing it on the spot. His powerful strike down the middle of the goal narrowly missed the keeper’s outstretched legs and hit the back of the net. With the wind momentarily knocked out of the we continued to push forward in search of the winner and were very nearly rewarded. Following a forward run by Liam Donnelly, his cut back to the edge of the box found Cave and he unselfishly played in Newbrook who, somewhat surprised at being played in, couldn’t quite get the ball out from under his feet and poked his shot wide from 8 yards out. If converted it would have been a true smash & grab result, however on reflection a share of the spoils was a fair result for both teams.

In all it was a much improved performance from the lads, who now need to use that as a benchmark of how they need to perform week in week out.

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