For the third week in succession the A Team set off in a convoy of cars for an away fixture. This time the destination was Keynsham to play the league leaders Broadlands FC, who boasted an impressive 100% record.
Despite less than ideal pre match preparation time, Craig Tucker
’s men were well aware of what was expected of them in what was likely to be the hardest match of the season.
Despite losing the toss, the Hornets were happy to play up the slope in the first half with the intention of trying to absorb the Broadlands’ attacks and stretching them on the counter attack; chasing the game down the slope in the second half if necessary.
The game was barely a few minutes old when the A Team were dealt a blow when Ben Harvey had to go off after falling awkwardly on his ankle. Coupled with the fact that influential trio Soren Schoppmeier, Dimitri Koubi and Jeremy Techer were unavailable it was going to be a real test of character.
The opening 20 minutes saw wave after wave of attacks from Broadlands with a mixture of poor finishing, superb goal keeping and resolute defending keeping the scores level. In particular Phil Ashton
was having a fine game and was enjoying a good old-fashioned tussle with the dangerous Broadlands' number 9.
The A Team were confident that there would be times when they would open up the home side’s defence and chances would be created. The key would be to make sure those chances were taken and in fairness the attack had been pretty ruthless in front of goal in recent weeks; no-one more so than captain Graeme Marshall. This proved to be the case when following good work from Liviu Rodeanu, Marshall cooly slotted home to make it 1-0.
Chances continued to be spurned by the home side, but following the withdrawal of the influential number 9 they home side lost some momentum and started to get frustrated. This was music to the A Team’s ears and saw out the remainder of the half relatively comfortably.
The half time message from gaffer Tucker was “more of the same” but to be aware that the home side would throw everything they could at the Hornets to overturn the deficit.
The second half followed the same pattern as most of the first half with the away side posing more of a threat as they searched for the crucial second goal. Whilst not creating many clear-cut chances there were occasions when good openings were wasted due to poor decision making by the Hornets attack.
The A Team’s best chance of the half fell to Jesse Anderton
, when following a penalty box scramble his superb effort from just inside the area crashed off the cross bar. It was unfortunate for Anderton as he had a good game and looked to be recapturing his best form following a niggling groin injury.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes Broadlands started to push men forward as the A Team started to tire and look a bit ragged as the team lost some shape. Broadlands got their equaliser when a corner was cleared and their attacker shot from the edge of the area managing to miss everyone in a crowded area and Ashton on the goal line to make it 1-1.
Due to some questionable time keeping there was time for Broadlands to get the winner dealing a hammer blow to the A Team who had given everything to the cause.
Whilst the defeat was hard to take, the A Team can take great encouragement from this display and following a good performance the week before, get some momentum for the game against Winford next weekend.
Man of the match – there were a few outfield contenders but it has to go to Mike Fletcher
. Kicked well again, handled superbly and pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep his team in the game. This could be down to his pre-match KFC (other fast food outlets are available), so maybe the ‘Colonel’ should take some credit!