Clarendon 2 Rowley 2

Good game today in difficult, blustery conditions. Clarendon remain the ultimate test in this league: they have been consistently successful for ten years and are capable, if you don’t match them of being overwhelmed by them: they are also a good bunch of lads who love their football. We were very much up for it this morning and close to full strength: the result was a properly competitive match and a point each.

Both teams found conditions difficult early on. We had the wind but gained little advantage, not least because our former stopper Matty Williams was having a fine game at centre half for them, meeting everything that we aimed at Leon and Craig. The only decisive moments of the half occurred early and late on. Firstly a defence splitting pass set their lad up for a fine finish which we took a while to recover from. However we did gather some momentum towards the end of the half, having had a goal disallowed and when Clarendon conceded a free kick on the edge of their box, Christie caressed a sumptuous free kick into the top corner with the last kick of the half.
We knew we were going to be up against it second half against the wind but perhaps this ‘steeling’ of ourselves at half time was partly responsible for our much better second half performance. With our man of the match Christie driving from midfield we put in a terrific second half performance and gave ourselves the chance to win the game. I think we had more of the ball though Clarendon continued to raid and went close with at least three impressive long range efforts. Lee also made three very good saves but we also caused them problems. Leon was everywhere as was Craig (then Matt), Nathan harried and Mark (then Lee) prompted. The defence collectively and individually were excellent: Olly, Dave, Chris and the perpetual motion machine that is Clive. Ben also came into things more down the right, keeping Clarendon on their toes.

However, they’re never more dangerous than when you’re attacking and just before the hour they scored a ‘worldy’: a 25 yard lofted drive which used the wind decisively to put them ahead. This set up a terrific last twenty minutes of end to end football. A beautiful flowing move send Leon clear on the right and he delivered a perfect cross for Ben to crash home his eighth goal of the season. Clarendon continued to press, as they always do but we held on for a deserved point.

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