Sadly just the one match report this week and this from the ever reliable Pete Bennett. I am hoping that the lack of reports this week may be due to me being away until the early hours of Monday morning. If you wish to submit a report of your match please do so using the ‘Add A Match Report’ option in the ‘Matchday’ drop down section. Anyway, here is Pete’s take on a goal feast of a match:
Rowley College 4 v 5 Connect Sports
I was really looking forward to this week’s game. We have a good bunch of lads and have managed to renew ourselves somewhat, bringing in youth. Two decent performances with a few missing each week had led to all but Hayden available this week and a cracking 16 with as strong a bench as we’ve had for ten years. All were used and did well but neither the result nor the performance were what we hoped for. I think, with hindsight, this reversal started in our heads because while we were flush, my mate Willis was struggling for eleven (on the car park on the phone as I have so often been over the years). By the time we were properly warmed up he has assembled 10, including Vernon (at 61) with two more on the way. The contrast was extreme and somehow it trickled into our heads as a team strong on confidence somehow thought this was a foregone conclusion. 24 years ago we started a game against FC Foley with 9 men and had a player sent off within 10 minutes but still won 4-3. This week the wheel came full circle. It is embarrassing to write that we (fully loaded with 5 subs) played against 10 men for 15minutes then 11 for 15, then 10 again for 45 and finally against 9 as Connect had as many sent off as came late.
Let’s be clear that across the whole game they were mostly the better side and thoroughly deserved to win. They had 3 or 4 top quality players along with their usual mix and took the game to us from the off. We, with our ‘playing against 10 men’ mentality played too open and having not started well took the whole game trying to find our way. They were also more competitive than us: at times it was men against boys. Also they were not lucky! In fact to some extent the opposite was the case and that added to our horror at getting beat.
Having started badly we pretty much scored from our first attack when Bradley’s in –swinging corner was helped in by their keeper. This woke us up momentarily and a good run from Shola set up Connor for an effort. Sadly this was merely a side-show because they were playing the football and we weren’t to Mark’s obvious frustration. Their equaliser was slick with their 10 (man of the match by a good way) exchanging passes and finishing well. Approaching half time with the hill to come we felt like we’d got away with one and this became more defined when we took the lead from a Matt Williams header entirely against the run of play. This was the pivotal part of the match as they had just had a lad sent off so were back to 10. We just needed to hold on for 10 minutes and build on our undeserved good fortune. Instead we conceded 2 (including an own goal) and went in 2-3.
There were words and a structured series of changes starting at half time and we finally got better but not before they’d scored two more on the break and got down to 9 after another red. We did play some football (Brad, Ben, Jack and Shola deserve a mention) but it took Mark himself to come on and a change of formation to spur any kind of revival. There was still hope of a point as Connect were forced to dig in and first Shola (assisted by Ben) and then Josh got goals back. Finally the chance for a 5-5 was provided by Jack for Mark but he was unsighted by his own player and headed over. Truth is we didn’t do enough and had I been a neutral I’d have been tooting for the away team to complete a remarkable victory. Thanks also to Mo who stepped in at short notice to ref it.