Apologies for the late report, busy week! My slightly early New Years Resolution following Pete’s lead, (also prompted by Neil’s efforts!), is to get a report in every week.
We started the game missing usual keeper Phil who many other teams describe as one of the best in the league (despite him continually telling us he is better out!). Not the best start with the undoubted aerial challenge that City possess! This meant we lost one of our best players this season Andy Harris in midfield as he had to substitute in goal, but that is no excuse for our start as we still had a good team and bench. As has become the norm recently we decided to give the opposition a nice head start! Firstly an average cross into the box was headed into the air leaving their player a free header from the 2nd ball, then a ball over top resulted in a mix up and the ball coming to my feet facing my own goal, I can only describe what must be a strikers instinct as I rolled it into the empty net… the rest of the team may have other words for it! Anyway, this inspired our comeback…
Going 2 nil down reminded us that we may need to start playing! We had various chances and half chances, hitting the woodwork and passes going just too far, however, City were also still going and as Martin described hit the bar. This was a bit of a turning point as we then went up another gear and following 2 flowing moves Coleman and Locke drew us level. It was a case of not wanting half time as we pressed City up the slope.
However, half time came and stemmed our attacks. The game evened out for a while until we forced a succession of corners culminating in James De Lacy powering in a header. Having completed the comeback we seemed to sit back and City raised their game. However as Martin correctly mentioned whilst they had the possession and territory we had at least 4 chances clear through and a number of headed chances off corners. Going back to the All Saints Liverpool-esque comeback we made this period count and went 2 goals ahead, unfortunately we could not force the 4th goal on Saturday and City’s pressure told with a goal owing a lot to a long ball, the very low sun blinding defenders and a very good finish once clear through (I then fully appreciated why their defenders seemed to struggle first half with the sun!)
With how well we have been doing this season a draw at home left us leaving the pitch downhearted, but a quick reminder that we were 2-0 down and have now taken 4 points off a great team like City and played every team in the league beating all but Sheldon (another case of missed chances!) gave us heart going into St Thomas this week. With Sheldon still to play 9 of their remaining 14 games against the top 6 and us having 4 out of 9 against the top 6 it is all still to play for, not to mention Zion Athletic who have only lost 2 games and the other usual candidates hot on both of our heels. I still can’t decide if I would rather have the games or points though, whatever the traditional saying of points on the board suggests… Maybe Neil can enlighten me with a mid season review!? (Edit, all being well I hope to do one on Sunday..Neil)