For the visit of local rivals Godmanchester we managed to amass a strong well balanced 11 - but it was just 11 + Clarky the referee.
We started with the following team of stalwarts in a 4-4-2 formation:
Kieran in goal,
Simon, Nigel, Kev H , Paul
Gav, Two Touch, Willow , Sedge
Howard , Kev A
The Game got under way at a fast pace and it was clear we were in for a competitive fixture. They had a selection of ex-pro's and good non-league players in their ranks and both teams were moving the ball well.
The pitch was tricky for both sides but the quality was there and it was a good competitive encounter from the kick off.
With about 20 mins gone, Willow picked up a loose ball in the middle and squared it to Sedge who banged an incisive ball behind their defence finding Kev Anderson's clever run perfectly. With their defence struggling to get back Kev raced towards the box at pace, with a quick shimmy he skilfully danced past the keeper and slotted the ball into the empty net for a clinical 1-0 lead.
Chances came and went in the first half but we did not trouble their keeper too much.
Godmanchester had some great breaks but our defence were working hard and using their experience and talent brilliantly. So, at the break we had managed to keep a clean sheet.
In the second half we were against a slight wind and Godmanchester came out with their tails up applying pressure from the start. We were determined to maintain our clean sheet if we could but we were coming under increasing pressure.
In addition we were finding it difficult to apply pressure to our opponents. Too frequently we lost possession and resorted to just clearing the ball forwards on a number of occasion so we had to be resolute.
Nigel was flying at the back, reading the Game expertly and keeping their tricky forwards at bay. Simon was battling away brilliantly on the right but with about 20 minutes to go he ended up tussling with their powerful forward down the left. He got away and haired towards the box with Simon battling to get back. Unfortunately, the forward was a bit too quick and Simon scythed him down in the box. The ref had no hesitation and pointed to the spot- and for the first time ever- even Kevin Hurst didn't complain too much! The forward dusted himself off, picked up the ball and then smashed it over the bar - much to everyone's relief.
More chances fell to Godmanchester but last ditch interceptions from a well-organised defence or good saves from Kieren kept them out.
At one point he saved a point blank shot from 2 yards - somehow pushing it around the post with a reaction block when it looked impossible to miss. As these chances were spurned, you started to think it just might be our day!
This was a classic rear guard action of the highest order, unlike any game I can remember us playing before. Never have we had to defend so much yet managed by hook or by crook to keep a clean sheet. We were under constant pressure but we defended for our lives and ran out 1-0 winners on a bright spring day. Our opponents were disappointed as you can imagine but we had all enjoyed a great battle and kept hold of our highly prized clean sheet.
Nigel provided some great sandwiches and we have old foes Red Bull to prepare for next week...