Southborough 2 v 2 Pembury
We were away at table topping and defending champions Southborough this week. We were in buoyant mood having defeated their early season conquerors Blackham and we were relishing the opportunity to test ourselves, we also had a squad of 15. We lined up with a slight more attacking 4-5-1 (if there is such a thing) in order to try and stifle Southborough’s midfield dominance as they are a very good side and will always enjoy the lion share of possession.
This was how the game began, their movement and strength was keeping us on our toes but the defence were defending strongly, the midfield working their socks off and were trying to get up to support in attack without leaving ourselves open. Southborough bossed the opening exchanges in terms of possession but such was our work rate and defending they weren’t really having any chances of note and were restricted to a couple of corners and long range efforts that either went wide or Sammy dealt with comfortably. On around 30 minutes the referee spotted a push on one of their players from a free kick and they were awarded a penalty. Sammy saved the first penalty but due to encroachment it was retaken and the striker put them 1-0 up. Credit to the boys, against a good side and having struggled to really impose ourselves this in a strange way gave us a bit more purpose in an attacking sense and after a free kick of our own Bowyer was pushed in the back and the referee awarded us a penalty. Liam dispatched and we were level with about 5 to go until half time. There must have been an element in us of getting to half time and going again but Caner and Bowyer had other ideas. Caner picked the ball up in the middle and spotted the onrushing Bowyer Express up from right back and played an intricately elaborate through ball off both feet for Bowyer to round the keeper. He then had the Pembury faithful in suspense as his left foot pile driver squirmed over the line after looking like it could hit the post. Nevertheless it was a fantastic goal, Bowyer was mobbed and Caner celebrated like he had just won the World Cup. With 30 seconds to go we saw it out until the half.
We were irritating Southborough, by allowing them to have the ball in non dangerous areas and their lack of chances but lengthy spells of possession weren’t really getting anywhere and we knew they would come out fighting. That they did, if anything they were trying to rush things a bit more than they were and this was suiting us, we knew that playing our game and hitting them quickly is the best way forward and we did this when Jake was fouled, Liam played on and fed Caner through who in a carbon copy of Bowyer’s goal, rounded their keeper only to unfortunately find a defender having got back to clear off the line, so close to 3-1. We then continued to defend and replaced Liam with Jeff, hoping his pace could finish things and Woody for Charlie. With about 15 minutes to go a long ball forward managed to make its way over our defence who had been outstanding all game and their substitute managed to hit a very decent volley in to make it 2-2. Despite the occasional goalmouth scramble the match went on to finish 2-2.
Today the team showed the ethos that’s making us a top half side where we work for each other and never want to let each other down, the defence and Sammy were outstanding, possibly having to deal with approximately 20 corners through the game. The midfield worked tirelessly and the mentality of the team was summed up as Harry and Tommy who didn’t get on were more bothered about the team getting something from the game. It was a great performance that yes on another day we may have nicked it but by the same token we could have lost it. It was a great performance that we hope will give the side a boost for the cup quarter final this week. Well done.