With a few missing today due to holidays and injuries, I made the call, and we saw the return from retirement of 100 goal WMCFL ‘veteran’ Chris Morrison to help us make the full quota of 3 subs. We turned up knowing that the Chawn pitch isn’t the best, which is ironic considering they like to knock the ball around on the floor. What we didn’t expect was for the council to have only cut along the lines (to repaint them) and left the rest of the grass 3-4 inches long in places. On an up and down pitch this wasn’t conducive to a good game of football! (our pitch certainly isn’t the best but I can’t remember playing on a worse one than this for a while…)
We started the match well keeping the ball, and when Locke found space on the edge of the box he beat a man and struck a powerful shot which Chawn’s stand in keeper Bedford could only parry into the corner of the net. At this point it looked like we would be in for an easier match than anticipated. However with us seeming to relax after scoring, and choosing the wrong option too many times; Chawn upped their game and hit us on the break on a number of occasions through Curtis Jordan. One of these resulted in a good cross whipped in and Phil pulling off a ‘Worldie’ reaction save from the unmarked midfielder 8 yards out.
We couldn’t seem to get going again, and Chawn started to play some good football, but we finally upped our work rate after half an hour and got more of stranglehold on the match grabbing a 2nd after around 35 minutes when Coleman and Wiedeman interchanged and Coleman found himself clear before jinking inside the defender and finishing nicely. We suddenly found our ‘mojo’ and with a change in formation to counter Chawns packed midfield we had a number of chances and managed to get the 3rd before half time when Wiedeman broke down the left and whipped the ball across for Locke to calmly slot in.
In hindsight we didn’t really want half time to come but it inevitably did; we failed to continue this form in the 2nd half and even with substitutions having been made (Rudd, Russell and Morrison) we couldn’t quite get going again, and in reality Chawn wouldn’t let us as they once more upped their game and passed the ball around nicely creating a number of half chances and getting in some great positions. As the half wore on we created a number of chances of our own but could not convert those either in what was becoming an increasingly open game when at 3-0 we should really have been comfortable! Fortunately we can be pretty resilient at the back and never gave them the chance to get back in it, with Phil relatively untested in the 2nd half despite Chawn pressure.
Overall, a good win and clean sheet away from home, especially considering the pitch and absentees. Good luck to Steve and the Chawn guys for the rest of the season.