This is the first time I have delayed my report this season, leaving a little more recovery time from the first game this season that we ended up well beaten in. We were faced by a strong Zion side crammed full of attacking players and intent but we are also a good side and once again played well. However with a strong, but bare eleven which had Craigy needing to play ninety minutes out for the first time since October, we were ultimately out run by a Zion side that brought on three strong subs (the third was Shaun Devenport!). Thus we had to take our medicine as Zion took us apart in the last twenty minutes with fluent football.
This was no bad reflection on our defending, Matty Stanton deputised effectively for Chrissy Staien, Williams was excellent, as was Joe (pitting his wits against the mercurial Naylor) and Clivey was man-of-the –match). Lee was also on top form, making two great saves one in each half. Zion started extremely well and put us under considerable pressure but we maintained a threat and took the lead half way through the half when Ben Smith knocked a good ball forward and Craigy’s persistence (he had a terrific first half) created a simple chance for Ben Fowler. Across the middle of the match this looked likely to be enough but we couldn’t kick on and in the second half they kicked back.
Leon is a player who would enhance any team and it was he who hauled Zion back into the game. First an angled volley, then earning a penalty (perhaps just outside the box) which he slotted home and finally a great delivery from a corner to provide the killer goal. Despite our shape and endeavour we were not coming back and when Leon was moved into the centre of things (surely his natural position) things became even harder. Shaun came on and might have had a hat trick: one well saved, one just wide and a brilliant finish from hardly a chance. The last twenty were torture but sometimes you need these moments to also indicate the progress you’ve made.
All the best to Zion.