Well a strange game today as Hawbush showed further signs of improvement against Dudley, only to go down 3-1 after seeing a Lions player dismissed with the score at 1-1. Inexperience certainly showed as we lost our shape at the moment we should off pressed home our advantage and paid the price.
That said, this was a much improved performance from last season and one we can hopefully build on.
Before the details of the match unfold, I think it’s worth saying at this stage all clubs in the Christian League should continue to be even more respectful to match officials and each other than in any other league. I sometimes wonder why we all sometimes talk to officials and opposition players in a way that we wouldn’t even consider talking to someone in the street. I will be doing my best to drum this into our players and I hope all WMCFL teams will remember to do so this season.
The game itself was a good hard fought game, with the best early chance coming to in-form Hawbush front man Arron Hope whose lofted chip over the advancing goalkeeper just grazed the post and went agonisingly wide.
The home team then went in front with their first real chance, as not for the first time, Ste Devonport fired a goal past Hawbush from 25 yards out. An expert finish from one of Division Two’s better players.
Dudley pressed us well after that, but we managed to equalise before half-time when central defender George Dean pulled the ball down from a corner and with his back to goal, turned and fired home in the corner.
In the second half Dudley had slightly the edge and although Hawbush were well in the game, Dudley looked the more clinical immediately after half time.
Then, the same as last season’s fixture Dudley were reduced to ten men, which seemed to be a culmination of a general bad vibe that had developed around the game since half-time. This however was the worse thing that could of happened as our youthful team didn’t quite know how to capitalise and ended up losing our shape slightly and Dudley punished us with two goals in ten minutes and we couldn’t find a way back in despite both Brad Smith and Tom Wydle having sights of goal as the game wore on.
Good performances today from Matt Welch, Mitch Pountney and Arron Hope but encouraging that the team as a whole looked stronger.