Rowley 2 Clarendon 2

This is the game that very nearly never was after some last minute confusion over who was at home (at one point it seemed likely that each of the teams and the officials might all have ended up at different locations!). As it was an excellent game of football, a decent advert for the standard of WMCFL, ensued and for once it was our perseverance that ensured a point late on. We were pleased to see our former talisman Matty Williams in goal today (good keeper but better defender) though less pleased to see Pablo, one of the league’s very best players returning from suspension. Clarendon, despite poor results early doors, are still a very good side and the standard against which all must be measured. It was good then to see us matching them today and while I’d admit that at 0-2 with 15 minutes they looked home and hosed, our quality and endeavour was worth a point.
In the first half I think we were the better side: defensively sound and creative in midfield where Andre Whyte looked classy and Olly Staien showed magnificent drive and commitment. Clarendon though, as ever, reminded us that dominance must be accompanied by product when they scored with their first (half) chance when there lad showed great anticipation and accuracy. Clive, our excellent new left back then created a golden chance for Alan Micklewright who just failed to get enough on a good headed chance and we were left at half time bemoaning our inability to take advantage.
Second half saw a resurgent Clarendon playing some really good stuff (Ashley Innis was particularly good) and us defending manfully and effectively. Chrissy Staien was again excellent but I must reserve particular praise for Mark Southall who was the heart and soul of this performance and certainly didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. The ever tricky Pablo was kept in check though he did appear to have won the game with an expert penalty after Chris had been penalised. We had no choice but to adopt a more attacking formation with Andre and Christie up and Nathan and Ben driving from midfield. Matty Stanton was also excellent in defensive midfield. We entered the last 15 2-0 down when a stray back pass was anticipated by Christie who slotted home. Momentum was now with us and a great goal levelled it. Olly played a great ball cross field and Ben took it in his stride and crashed it home. Clarendon naturally kept us on our toes but a really good game finished level. All the best to Louis and his lads: a great bunch of lads!

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