We have lost just two games in the last nine and both of these to Chawn! They are having a good season and it’s easy to see why. They have maintained their competitive attitude (exemplified in the experience of Bedders, Curtis and JJ) and Steve has added the mobility and potential of young players like Danny Knight blooded on their way back to the top flight. There was absolutely nothing between the sides today: both sides deserved something from the game but football doesn’t always give you what you deserved.
I have nothing but praise for both teams today: it was a full-blooded encounter with every player giving their all. Speaking to Mike on the phone early doors, I correctly predicted that there would be few goals and defences would be on top. For us that was not an inspired guess since we arrived with every one of our forward options injured (one of their lads asked “which one is Fowler?” but sadly we couldn’t show him as Ben Fowler’s season is over). Thus we were forced to start with Olly Staien as the Mourinho ‘false nine’ and hope we could get players to support. Add to this Chawn’s excellent defending and you see our problem (their centre half missed nothing).
We did, of course have a veteran striker in Craig but he has been filling in as keeper since Christmas. He did another good job today as did all of our lads: Matt, Chris, Matty and Joe were excellent at the back, David filled in powerfully in centre mid to allow Ben and Clive to construct and Josh and the excellent Brad to support Olly. Playing down the hill Chawn were quickly into their stride and it took us a little time to to get going. Neither side produced a significant chance for most of the first half,
The game was in fact decided in the five minutes before half time. Firstly Chawn got a goal when a dangerous back post cross was gleefully smashed home to give Craig no chance. Then Brad and Olly set up Josh for our best (and only clear cut) chance but nobody told him he was in acres of space and he volleyed over: a great effort but he had time to take a touch or two and have an easier finish. We were better in the first half and they in the second: both teams fully at it yet without really another chance.
We unluckily lost Clive but Lee, our regular keeper, sped up his comeback and allowed Craig out of goal. For the last fifteens Craig led the line with menace but even his ‘nous’ couldn’t unlock Chawn’s defence. All the best to Steve and his lads and thanks to Chloe (excellent ref) and her assistants.