This was our second league game of the season and we arrived at the ground to only understand that the opposition only had 3 of their regular line up. Their manager was just intersted in randomly picking up youths from their academy. We started the game and from the off the opposition had plenty of the ball as we struggled to cope with the pace at which they played. Shape and formation went out the window altogether. But to be fair to our boys this only happened because the opposition were technically very good on the ball. Seemed as if we were in a bit of shock by the Football that the opponents were playing.
Under so much pressure we just couldn't hold the ball the times we did have it. Eventually with so much possession they finally broke the dead lock when they broke down the left side and their tricky little winger went past our full back and got to the byline to pull the ball across the face of the goal for one of their players to tap in 1-0 down.
Mike Nwosu came close when he closed down their defender and won the ball which was going towards their keeper but Mike flung his outstretched body all 7 ft of him to only see the ball roll agonisingly just past the post. St James then added a second goal when they broke through the middle and had a shot which unfortunately Karl couldn't hold on to and their player reacted first to poke home 2-0. We kept at 2-0 to end the half down. During the break we recognised that we had to just not show them so much respect, to put our tackles in and use our strength a bit more. To just sit and not press them as we would of only burn ourselves out.
The second half kicks off and from the word go we started to get our tackles in. We looked more comfortable with our distribution aof the ball and we were more vocal all over the park. The work rate from everybody from keeper to Jazzy wad pleasing to see. We started to run at their defenders with the relentless attacking wing play from Masoud Who came close with a jinking run and a screaming shot from about 30 yards out which hit the crossbar and Gideon latched unto the rebound only for their defence to scramble it away.
We kept up the intensity when Jazzy was kicked in the back of the heel and still stood up to fire a screamer past their keeper, only for the referee to deem it a free kick to them. A couple of minutes later. Gideon was in the box and turns a player and Gideon goes down on the ground and the ref blows for a penalty; a dubious one but let's call it justice. Jazzy steps up to drill the ball straight down the middle their keeper got a bit of his body to it but there was too much fired in the shot which flew into the roof of the net.
2-1 game on in earnest with still 30 minutes to go. We break down the left hand side soon after when Ross could of played in Jazzy but opted to shoot instead with the shot going to old Elizabethans ground. It was all us with 20 minutes remaining when jazzy spins and turns their defender and fires a shot destined for the top corner when the keeper pulls off a brilliant save for a corner. Ross took the corner from the left and swings it in to a dangerous area which no one can get a touch to but the ball bounced up once and ends up into the right hand corner of the net into the goal,which was our just reward for all the pressure we exerted on them. No doubt Ross will tell us he meant it!
A couple minutes after and Gideon puts in Masoud on the left 7 or 8 yards out as Mas fires but the shot had no power and it went straight to the keeper,great opportunity that was to take the lead. With the last 10 minutes left we threw the kitchen sink at them as we felt the third goal coming but they did not concede.With 3 minutes to go our keeper Karl pulls off a brilliant save as he stretched out his body and pulls off a sliding tackle which saved us as we were committed in going forward. The ref finally blows the whistle to end the game, 2-2.
What a game. A game of two halves. The spirit and commitment that we have is something to be admired. We dont just lay down and give in,we battle to the end, we have desire and we have our ambitions in finishing in the top 2 this season. I do understand that the higher teams want to win their division but so do we. We need our strongest players available because at the end of the day I believe we are gelling into a very decent team.
I would just like to say welcome back Karl Francis and Jay Gladdy. Welcome back Nelio Santana and Duarte Santana good to see you guys supporting for the cause. Ok the man of the match after careful consideration - there were good performances from Masoud Jaharri, Ron Hanson, Jacob Whittingham, Gideon Whittingham and Ross Blackmore but the man of the match for this week goes to Jazzy.
Worked his socks off, ran all the channels, showed pace and strength and had the composure to fire in the penalty and score.
We are proving a very difficult team to beat because we work as a team and give effort and heart. Long may this continue, its a good habit. COYS