Manorcroft 4   Chiddingfold 2 (League)

13th March 2005

‘After all that hard work …’

Jon Taylor, after a series of weak tackles gifted Manorcroft the lead

Much more like it. We’ve played championship favourites Manorcroft twice this season, losing 7-0 in the league cup, then 6-0 in the league only a month ago, so this was a huge improvement. And it says much for the way we played that there was disappointment at not getting at least a point out of the game, one which we would have thoroughly deserved.

The boys were really up for it and set about Manorcroft from the off. Striker TK, making his debut for the team, instantly gave us punch and strength up front and the fact that he was able to hold the ball up until support arrived, took pressure off the midfield, and hence the back four. He worked hard, chased everything, and came desperately close several times, deservedly winning Man of the Match in the process.

We actually went a goal down on about 5 minutes, when the ball wasn’t cleared cleanly enough, but you would never have known it. Dan  repeated his performance of focused aggression at full back and Eddie was an intelligent, prompting presence in midfield. All in all we were getting the better of an increasingly frustrated Manorcroft.

We did run out of steam a little in the fifteen minutes before half-time, but Mike in goal was a reassuringly solid presence as always. The boys seemed to get a second wind as the whistle got nearer and Jonathan Bt should have had a penalty when he was brought down in the area but the Manorcroft linesman’s flag stayed down (as, in fact, did Jonathan).

At last, we got the break we deserved. Superb work from ‘TK’ in the box kept the ball in our possession, it came to Scott  who laid it intelligently off for Jamie to smash in a scorcher from the edge of the area with practically the last kick of the half. Superb goal!

Manorcroft had long since realised that they had a match on their hands and duly started to pile on the pressure after the break. The boys stood up well, though, and continued to push out whenever possible – Scott going particularly close at one point. But we were beginning to lose our shape and giving the ball away and eventually a cross from Manorcroft found an unmarked player at the far post who was gifted an easy shot to make it 2-1.

The chaps kept plugging away though and before long struck back to equalise – a terrific Rupert through ball finding Scott who slotted gleefully home; 2-2 and euphoria on the terraces.

Manorcroft were wounded now and came back at us with a vengeance, but we were holding up well, keeping our heads and playing the ball out of trouble, when a series of half-hearted tackles let the opposition through for a scarcely deserved fourth goal.

Things were compounded not long before full time when Mike didn’t gather a cross cleanly and the ball was bundled into the net, 4-2, but the chaps carried on fighting and Hassie went especially close before the final whistle blew.