With our home pitch in a rather boggy condition in recent weeks, we set off for the outdoor centre in St Ives in hope of a good game and an impressive surface.
Chris Keeble had made the arrangements and the pitch was in great shape. We had 13 to begin with but when Stu Smith failed a pre-match fitness test we were down to 12 (albeit Stu offered to run the line in true gentlemanly fashion).
Without Howard (injured) Midge (nursing a hangover) and Conner (Awol) we were looked like being short of forwards. However, Kev Anderson and Fraser deputised up front and some of their runs were superb. We were playing great football from the back with a 4, 3 1, 2 formation and we were causing the opposition problems. That said, they were a fit, youthful bunch with quality deliveries and some skillful and nippy players, so everyone had to be on their toes.
After about 20 mins Sedge spotted a great run in behind from Kev who raced into the box. The keeper charged out, Kev poked it past him before being unceremoniously cleaned out! It looked like a clear penalty despite a few objections from the opposition. Sedge duly despatched the spot kick into the corner giving the keeper no chance. 1-0.
Willow, Keeble and Simon were battling well in midfield and the runs from the forwards were really keeping Studlands on their toes. Kieran and the lads at the back were also working hard and though Studlands had some good play down the wings, we were resolute when the ball came into the box. Kieren saved a couple of good efforts and we had to defend for our lives from set plays. They were a massive team with about 8 X 6ft plus players and great quality so we had to be on our toes from every set-piece. There was some great tempo and clever passing all over and we held out with the lead in tact to half time.
We knew the next goal would be a big one but sadly for us Studlands got it. Another great delivery from a corner gave Kieren some problems and though we half cleared it, one of their players was on hand to bundle the ball home. 1-1.
Predictably this buoyed our opponents who exerted further pressure. However, to our credit we bounced back when a slide-rule ball from Gav found another great run from Kev. Kev tried to slot the ball under the keeper but he got a hand to it. Fortunately Fraser was on hand to bravely beat the covering defender to the ball (taking a kick for his troubles) but guiding the ball into the roof of the net for a well-deserved goal. The forwards had worked so hard and formed a good partnership so it was great to see them rewarded with a goal. This knocked the stuffing out of Studlands and we started to dominate and keep the ball cleverly. Sadly an uncharacteristic error at the back let their forward in with a one-on-one to make it 2-2 with a well-taken finish that flew in.
It was a really good game between two evenly matched teams that everyone enjoyed. Roy, Rory, Nigel, Kev H and Gav had all used the ball with quality and reacted quickly defensively at the back. The midfield had been a cohesive unit and the forwards had worked like Trojans making intelligent runs throughout, so it was an enjoyable game all round as well as being a tough physical encounter.
Terrific sandwiches from Kev Anderson followed in the bar in a positive spirit.