Rowley 1 Clarendon 1

For the first time in twenty five seasons I faced the prospect this week of missing two Rowley games in a row (for the best of causes: my younger daughter Molly’s birthday). Nevertheless on the way up to Worcester where she’s just started university I received regular (and in the second half ten-minutely) bulletins from our other old stager Mike Ibrahim. In short it was: close game…they look good…we’re defending well…they look good…we’re 1-0 up…Lee’s playing well…they’ve equalised… Finally I phoned and Mike said: time’s up by my watch, stay on the line. Five minutes later I heard the whistle having had an exclusive radio commentary of us almost snatching it!

All this gives support to keeper Lee Roberts’ summary of the game: “Excellent performance today. We totally deserved a point, had to soak up some pressure and I made to make a couple of decent saves but we dug in and could have even nicked it at the end, their keeper making a great save from Christie”.

He also provided this report:

Here is my take on the game:

After a disappointing result last week against City we came into today’s game against Clarendon who had scored 17 goals in three games before today knowing it was gonna be a tough game, especially missing a couple of key players (Olly at a wedding and Joe and Ben away; Pete). For me personally I haven’t beaten today’s opponents since playing for Rowley and always know I have to be at the top of game if we are gonna get anything from the game.

Clarendon started the game the better and kept possession well as you would expect without really creating any clear cut chances. Former Clarendon man Matt Williams and Chris Staien were defending very well against their very dangerous front men.

We slowly started to get the ball down and play some good stuff and came into the game and took the lead late in the first half. Great pressure from Ben Smith and Tom Cartin led to Roger slicing his clearance from a low drilled cross into the back of the net, giving his keeper no chance.

Winning at half time, South talked about keeping our shape and not making the silly mistakes that have cost us previous weeks. We expected a Clarendon onslaught down the hill and they certainly came out of the blocks early keeping the ball well but our back 4 of Clive, Chris, Matt and Barber were resolute and myself making a real smart save down to my left. That’s why when they did equalise it was frustrating as it came from an own goal from the unfortunate Matt Stanton. A free kick curled in from the left, one of their lads getting a slight touch drawing me into a save with my left hand, with the ball bouncing and a few players going for the ball, Matt has swung his boot at it trying to hook out for a corner only to nutmeg myself and it trickle over the line.

We knew from here that Clarendon sniffed blood and would go for the kill, and naturally we were dropping deep to protect what we had but all of the lads dug in and put in a great shift and defended well restricting them chances wise. I had to make a decent save from a deflected effort and be quick off my line to make a saving tackle near the end. Clarendon may feel hard done by in not getting a penalty after Matt Stanton tumbled with their player, but we deserved that luck after what we put into the game and nearly won it at the end, with Christie curling a great effort only for their keeper to pull off a great save down to right to tip round the post.

After not getting what we deserved from our last two games, we definitely did today, we were more than good credit for our point. Mentions for the back 4 who were amazing today in restricting the best attack In the league in my opinion to very few clear cut chances. Also Ben, Matt S, Tom, Nuni, South, Christie and Brad coming on late on also put in a great shift and worked tirelessly.

A great confidence boost going into our enforced week break.

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