A poor second half led to a disappointing loss.
They began on the front foot with some busy midfield play and some good attacking play with their overlapping full backs. We were standing solid as their approach play was good but they didn’t have a lot of quality up front. We tried hard to get a foot in but we’re getting pushed back. The midfield was defending deeper and the front two got isolated. Meredith was trying very hard to make some headway down the left but Tunnicliffe was not a natural left sided player and so we were struggling down that flank.Down the right was an even bigger problem as Fred was having a mare. Everything he touched was poor and so we had few outlets.
On the other hand, they looked positive down the sides and the ref and the completely blind linesman were given them some help. The full-back overlapped down the right, Tunnicliffe tackled him and the ball clearly came off his shins for our throw. The Lino was one yard away and he gave it to them. We were miffed. The short throw in was shielded by their bloke and Meredith was tight on him. Their bloke fell over theatrically and the ref gave a free kick. It was a scandal. They had two decent efforts in the first twenty minutes. The first was a dipping volley from a central position which Archer pushed over and the second was a decent curling effort from the left which he pushed over. Then we got a second wind and started to push up and take some control.
Meredith was being more adventurous down the left and looked threatening. Romeo realised that he was to have any impact down the right he was going to have to do much of it himself.. Gregory was busy, Morison was looking a threat and we had a couple of decent moves. The best was a deep cross to Morison and his header caused problems in the box. They tried to get back into it but at the very point they pressed forward we scored. There was some good play in the middle between Saville and Gregory and the ball fell to Morison in space about thirty yards out. He hit a wicked dipping volley which caught their keeper by surprise and it hit the back of the net. We went nuts. They tried hard to get back into it but it stayed 1-0 at halftime.
They had clearly got a rocket at half time as they were out a good two minutes before us. NH had clearly told the lads to keep it tight for the first ten minutes and give nothing away. We played tight but that played into their hands and the ref’s hands too. Every time we got close they fell over and none of the free kicks were warranted. My mate said that they will get five free kicks before we get one and he was quite right. If only the ref was consistent then that would have been OK but we were getting kicked from pillar to post without any fouls being given. They continued being busy and we were feeding off scraps. When they muscled us off the ball it was fine but when the reverse happened it was a free kick. They got one to the right of our box and it was a decent delivery which we should have dealt better with. Their bloke got just ahead of Cooper and looped it firmly beyond Archer’s reach for 1-1. It was never a free kick but we should have cleared it.
They had the bit between their teeth and we seemed to be running on empty. The ball was lost or given away too often and we were getting pressed back. We needed fresh legs so off went Fred…..much to the delight of many around me…and on came Wallace. We had a couple of decent moves and one of them found Morison on the right. He hit a decent cross to Gregory who dummied it to no one and the chance was lost. We were all looking a bit leggy and so off went Gregory and one came AOB to play left midfield and Morison operating as a solo striker. They pressed forward and we began to contribute to our own downfall by giving the ball away. AOB did just that, it got fed into the middle and out to the edge of our box where their bloke hit it home sweetly with Archer well beaten.
We were looking a beaten side so off went Saville and on came Twardek but it made little difference. We even pushed Cooper up to an attacking role but we still looked tired and beaten. Balls into the box nearly always found their defenders and they saw out the four added minutes without any dramas.
Archer played fine, made decent stops but could do little with the two they scored. Romeo played well but was roughed up two or three times by their defence and got little protection from the ref or the blind linesman. Hutch and Cooper played their normal game but even they had a blip each whereas they are normally faultless. Meredith had another storming game down the left and probably shaded MOM for me.
Feed was shocking. I don’t know whether he was hung over but his performance was typified in the second half directly in front of us. The ball was in the air, he moved towards where it was going to land and then stood back as their FB headed it clear whilst Fred watched in amazement. Shocking! Saville had a decent game but looked leggy near the end. Likewise, Williams had some decent moments but faded badly late on. Tunnicliffe ran hard but is no left sided player. He couldn’t carry the ball down the left flank effectively and link well with Meredith so he was a bit like a square peg in a round hole. Morison tired hard, scored a good goal but ran out of puff late on. Gregory sadly was similar.
Wallace tried much harder than Fred but couldn’t really get into the game. AOB and Twardek had little impact and the game fizzled out with a whimper. After a promising start things did not improve in the second half and they edged it with more commitment and energy. It was a real disappointment.
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