Clarendon 6 Rowley College 0

Difficult day for us today, though not as bad as 0-6 suggests (they scored 5 of their six in two five minute spells). Truth was we went into the fixture confident with only Ben Smith on the injury list, five subs and the league’s top scorer. I’m sure both sides had the same intention and were prepared for a competitive game: the harsh truth is that while they lived it from the first whistle, we struggled to find any of our usual rhythm. This made for a first half which they dictated and we reacted. This meant strong defence and a keeper making good saves while we broke at pace with Christie and Brad in particular causing problems. However much of this enterprise (Ben had a shot and South a run in from the halfway) floundered against the excellent Obi who kept us out largely by anticipation and neat footwork: he also dominated the ball at corners.

We survived intact until the 36th minute when Silva, who had tormented Josh all half skipped inside two or three defenders and let fly with a brilliant effort that flew into the top corner. Within five minutes it was two. Lee made a brilliant save from a fierce shot but their forward was first to react and roll in the second. 2-0 at half time was always going to be hard. We were sensible about it at half time, making one attacking change (bringing on Haydon’s raw energy) and stiffening our resolve, but also knowing there is no proven and reliable Plan B for coming back against Clarendon once they’re two up. Also while at the higher levels you might shut up shop at 0-2 and hope to get something, here the desire to get back in the game conflicts with your best laid plans. The third goal was always going to be decisive and when they got it we had a mad five minutes in which Che scored a hat trick and a close game became 0-5. A sixth followed as we tried every permutation (great to see Olly back in harness).

We used all of our subs and kept at it but finished the game having had a lesson of sorts (what we make of it will have a big say on how far we can go). All the best top Roger and his boys and for Daz and his young assistants for getting the game on: though not fully fit the ref’s gaffer was more than decent!

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