Saturday was the first of our back to back games against Lyonians. This was going to be a massive game for several reasons. Nothing but a win would keep our promotion push on track. A win and top performance could possibly dishearten Lyonians for next week.
We started brightly creating some good chances. Phillips looking menacing down the left. Firstly a delightful ball from Matt at RWB was met by the flying LWB Phillips at the back stick who just couldn’t keep his first time effort down. Moments later the keeper was pulling of a worldie of a save to deny Phillips. After a few more chances had been created and spurned we decided to abandon all the gaffers pre match talk of patience. It seemed like we were getting nervy that we hadn't made the slope count in the first half. Lyonians who were adopting a Klopp like high press were stifiling us. Constantly pushing and leaving men forward and high was causing our back 3 problems. Usually this season playing with the back 3 has allowed us the extra man and helped us get on the ball and dominate possession. Lyonians were not allowing us to do this so we were having to get the ball forward quicker than usual.
We eventually found ourselves 1-0, a corner cleared to the Lyonians full back who stood the ball up in the box, The Lyonians CB winning the first ball thanks in part to a flying elbow. The Knockdown falling kindly to the only man in an offside position. Perry made a great save but with us all appealing for offside it was left to the only man reacting to tap home.
We were well and truly rattled. Lyonians spurring a couple of other good chances. With 30 seconds of the first half remaining we forced a corner. A perfectly flighted corner from Simon was met at the back stick by Jacko. In the context of the game, it was huge. Would have been a tough fightback from 1-0 down up the hill. With us now bouncing into half-time the belief was back that we could get something from this game.
The second half became quite stretched. Lyonians are very good at making the pitch as big as possible and they don’t mind taking risks at the back. So there were gaps in midfield. The second half was going to be about whose flair players could make something happen. We were looking slightly more solid at the back in the 2nd Half, Wattsy, Jacko and Brad finally getting to grips with how to defend against the 3 men up top. Breen was providing a good screen in the holding midfield role and Power and Elsey were willing runners with the ball which helped ease the pressure at times.
We spoke at half time about letting Lyonians play from the back and press at the right moments. And eventually the mistake would come. Ansell picking up a loose ball, 25 yards out and moving slightly away from goal. He pulls out a naughty little lob with the keeper in no mans land. With the crowd going bannanas on the touchline, Ansell makes for the corner flag on the opposite side and knee slides to no one! Doughnut.
With a lead to hold onto now. Everyone upped the work rate. The last 25 minutes was the best we played all game. We were determined to not give anything away.
Despite some late pressure and a few free kicks in dangerous situations. We stayed strong defensively and cleared our lines well. What I loved out there was the fact I saw more and more of us stepping up and becoming leaders. Braders getting louder with each game. Ansell stepping up and making something happen for us in the 2nd half. Perry loud and commanding from the back. 5 games left. We are gonna need big performances as a team but also in moments certain individuals are gonna be needed to step up and make that tackle, find that pass, score that winning goal.
That starts next week. I guarantee Lyonians will be up for it. We need to want it more. COYS!