With Stevenage kindly waiting for us to achieve our full compliment of 11, we decided it would be nice to let them have much of the early play.
But we soon got back into our stride after the defence of Ian O’Dell, Pete Kuipers & Jamie Bartlett had kept their marauding masses at bay. As is our wont, we broke quickly from the back, playing through Andy Prentice in the middle of the park who got the ball to John King, Brian De Mattos & Joel Withey up front who were causing their defence a lot of bother, particularly Brian who seemed to get behind their last man with regular ease, but the 2 attempts he had when through on the keeper were saved. It was another break which led to our first goal, the ball came from the back to Andy who pushed it wide to Joel, who in turn fed Brian in the D, who squared it to Andy who was running into the D, he pushed it to the left of the keeper who then proceeded to take him out, P Flick given and 2 minutes for the keeper to think about what he had just done. Andy picked himself off the floor to score the penalty. This spurred Stevenage into action and they created a couple of short corners, one of which they converted. But not to be outdone, back we came and created a short corner of our own, Andy being stick tackled in the D when he was actually running out of options. The ball was pushed out and Andy thumped it into the left corner of the goal, we were back in front and were continuing to press. Another short corner was won, this time Andy crashed it against the bottom of the right hand post. Half time 2-1 up, bossing the game, we just needed more of the same.
More of the same is what we got from us, but Stevenage decided that they needed to up their game and that’s what they did. They started to string passages of play together and even with the battling back from Alex Winwright & Colin Izzard and the strong tackling of John Baxter they were able to create several short corners, 3 of which they dispatched to the back of the net, giving Brett in goal no chance. Were we disheartened, no we were not, we continued to press, Joel had decided that taking on somebody considerably taller than you and beating them for guile & pace was quite good fun, this enabled us to drive forward and create more short corners of our own and in an almost carbon copy of the strike which hit the post in the first half Andy managed to rattle the frame again, oh the difference a couple of centimetres would have made. John B decided that 70 minutes was going to be too much for him so decided 2 minutes on the naughty step would help, which is not what the other 10 thought! Late in the game one of the Stevenage defenders proved why at the 5ths level you don’t try aerials, he nearly put it in the play park, to which their centre forward commented that it proved he wasn’t a ringer! Also another one tried a bit of keepy-uppy in the D only to end up flat on his backside!
Another competitive but very fair and enjoyable game against in a sporting fashion, well umpired by Jon Below & Roger Macklin (I did tell their central midfielder he would be strict on being 5 yards!)
Man of the match – Andy Prentice