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Hersham Harriers 5   Chiddingfold 3 (League)


23rd October 2005


‘WelI ….. if I’m honest ….. I could actually have pulled back from kicking him but ..… I didn’t.’

Dan explaining why he thought he might have been booked


An exciting match against one of the title challengers, and one which we could have won with a little more composure in front of goal.

Things looked good in the opening period. The boys pressed forward and in the first five minutes Jamie and joint Man of the Match Scott created two excellent attacks between them. Hersham came back and put us under some pressure but we defended determinedly with Mike in goal his usual brave, solid self.

Then, in ten minutes of madness, the chaps fell apart, conceding three soft goals. Hersham put us under more pressure, the defence panicked, refused every opportunity to clear the ball cleanly, and it was 1-0. Cue volley of outraged invective from the manager. Shortly afterwards, with Hersham’s tails up, we again gave them all the time and space they needed, were completely static at the back, failed to clear the ball, 2-0. Cue apoplexy, steam coming out of his ears and sky high blood pressure from the manager. A few minutes later, utter confusion in the box gifted Hersham the third goal, 3-0. Cue stream of Anglo-Saxon fury from the manager (for which he unreservedly apologises) and his gently being led away, foaming at the mouth, by his ever reliable assistant Lionel.

By the time he had calmed down a bit, and his straightjacket had been removed, the boys were beginning to play much more like their usual selves.

We pushed Kirk up into the midfield, and moved sweeper Theo up into the back line, which forced Hersham to battle it out in midfield and took the pressure off the back four. Before long, this paid dividends; a superb through ball from Kirk, put Scott through on goal and he made no mistake, 3-1. Not long before half-time Tom B, who had been highly effective raiding down the right wing, lobbed brilliantly over the defence, Scott got to the ball first but was immediately closed down by two defenders. Undeterred he battled his way through them and into the box, then slipped it past the keeper. 3-2 and starting to look very interesting.

Well marshalled by captain Jon B and Theo in the centre, Josh was like a rock at right back and joint Man of the Match Daryl, up against some very large attackers, was equally playing out of his skin. Hassie, Jamie and Dan were working hard in midfield and Tom B and Scott always threatened up front.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, a beautifully weighted corner from Kirk was met at the far post by Scott, who headed agonisingly onto the upright. An inch the right way and we would have been level.

On into the second half and, in the first five minutes, Jon B headed just over. Steve was on by now and put in a succession of dangerous crosses and corners. Frustratingly though, it was Hersham who poached another goal, in the process catching Mike’s knee, which swelled up badly enough for him to have to come off. This was the turning point of the match. Theo took over in goal for the first time in a couple of years and did brilliantly, but at the expense of our outfield shape and cohesion.

Nevertheless we instantly hit back, Scott lobbing the keeper but the ball just going wide. Theo saved well with his feet, then excellent Steve pressure on the right created space for Josh to also lob just over.

Unfortunately Hersham made it 5-2 with a lucky, scrambled goal, then one of their strikers was booked for yet another aggressive tackle on an unmoved Daz.

Still threatening, Scott and Jamie combined well together to set up the best opportunity of the match, but the ball somehow stayed out. Next Dan’s name went into the book for a nothingy tackle (You sure? See above. Ed) and from the resulting free kick on the edge of our area, Theo pulled off a marvellous save, pushing the goalbound ball round the post.

At last we got the goal we deserved. A superb ball from Steve found Tom, who went on a mazy run and laid it off for Scott to round a couple of defenders and slot home, 5-3.

There wasn’t time to do more, but the boys had acquitted themselves with enormous spirit in difficult circumstances. Nevertheless, we need to learn to hit the ground running, not wait until we’re 3-0 down before starting to play.