Good game today. I said to both Mark and Matt before the game that this was a test of whether we were serious about being competitive. Connect blew us away early last season because we lacked discipline, (rather than quality), and played too open. Today we were thoroughly solid and always in the game. Connect will be happy to have shaded it: a valuable three points.
One thing that never seems to change in amateur football is the constant selection issues caused by player availability. We had Olly, Clive, Craig and Christy missing, (as well as Ben not yet returned from the states), and Tom had to leave at half time which meant calling Rob Hill and Nic Hadley onto the bench and Nuni Yakubu in for his debut. Sammy ploughed a lone furrow up front until he succumbed to injury. This left us with four full backs playing and ten largely defensive players. By then it was 2-1 so this was not ideal.
It had been so different going into the second half. We had played well against their dangerous forwards (though they did miss a couple of good chances) and shown some promise with the ball going forward. One left wing cross had been powerfully met by Ben Smith to give us the lead. Then in the dying moments of the first half Lee pulled off a brilliant left handed save to preserve our lead.
Our personnel was ideal at least for setting off in the second half and things looked steady early doors. Then Connect got lucky as a shot from the edge of the box deflected wickedly past our keeper. They began to step it up and Lee was injured as he saved bravely at the feet of their striker. The game got tense and competitive and it felt like there would be another goal. When it came it was a cracker and not even really a chance. Richard Ricketts, edge of the box, plenty of cover and he turned sharply and found the gap. A goal to win such a tight game.
All the best to Willis and Vernon, good lads both!