The lads met up for the first game of the season away at Cottenham and it was great to see everyone again.
Long term casualties Howard Kemp (since January) and DarrenLawrence (since march) came back after long lay offs and it was good to see all of the other old/very faces too.
We had a strong 13 to choose from and started the game quite brightly.
Rudders and Howard were moving their defence around and we were holding our own in the early exchanges.
After about 10 mins, a good bit of play down the left saw Sedge free Two Touch on the edge of the box.
He passed it back and Sedge rifled in a low drive into the bottom corner with his left foot.
This was a great start.
However, soon after we were on level terms when a bit of hesitancy in defence saw a speculative looping shot deceive Alex in goal, (and everyone else) as it nestled in the far corner of the roof of the net. 1-1.
Soon after a hefty collision with Two Touch saw their winded and concussed keeper have to leave for hospital. It was an accidental clash but one that made everyone wince!
After this, we had some good play and we were creating numerous overloads down the flanks which were effective. As a result, Rudders, Howard, Sedge and Two Touch all came close. Sedge hitting the post and skimming the bar with a good volley and Two Touch smashing the post from a great cross from Daz.
They had a good lad in the air and a few tidy players that kept us on our toes but we looked like our superior fitness would tell in the second half. That said they always had a threat and sent a few powerful shots goalwards.
Stu Smith and Roy came on as replacement fullbacks at half time.
In the second half we seemed to lose a bit of momentum and we wasted a lot of the ball.
Howard's calf stiffened and he was withdrawn after about 65 minutes and we shuffled the pack again.
Shortly after, some sloppy play at the back freed their forward, who drilled low and hard into the net for a goal that should have been avoided.
Within minutes their best footballer made a 3rd man run from midfield and though the forward was off side, the midfielder burst past our players who were all static and side footed the ball into the goal. We were 3-1 down and a bit shell-shocked.
We did not give up though and a few shots were blocked by some of their big lads at the back and Two Touch came close again. We just looked rusty all over the pitch from front to back and our communication and drive was rather disappointing too.
With time running out, Kev Anderson delivered a great cross from the right and Sedge out-muscled a couple of defenders to plant a firm header into the net for 3-2.
We kept going but could not snatch the equaliser.
Chris and Simon were industrious in Midfield and Nigel and Kevin had kept things together at the back.
However, we never reached our optimum levels in terms of play or commitment and as a result we came off second best.
It was not the start that we wanted or the start we have become accustomed to but it was probably as much as we deserved, as we are a better team then we showed on the day.
It was great to be playing again though on fresh grass, with a good set of lads and we are all incredibly thankful to Kingy for organising another full calendar.
Hopefully we can make his efforts more worthwhile in the fixtures to come...