Reserves battle hard to 3 - 2 home win
Reserves come out on top in battle at home to Buckden, winning 3 - 2
It was nice to be at home for the first time since February, on a lovely sunny day at the Cass. Buckden were the visitors, aiming to do the double over us after their 4 - 2 win a week's back, and extend the 3 point gap between us. A strong squad was available this week including the return of a few regulars - Cam B, Cam R, Jack, Luca, Martin, Sefa - as well as Dan and Matt making his debut, while a couple were away or remained injured...
Team: Luca, Dan, Matt, Ryan, Rickie, Baz ©, Vagner, Jack, Sefa, Martin, Cam B
Subs: Cam R, Kenny, Jun, Guy, Suki
The match started at pace, with both teams keen to get going and strike early. After 20 minutes some good attacking play from either side was snuffed out by respective defences, Buckden probably with the best chance with flew over the bar. We began stretching our opponents as their pace dropped and it was a lovely move that saw us take the lead; Martin slipping the ball between two defenders into Jack's path to drill it home.
Buckden looked the likeliest to score after Jack's goal as we struggled a bit to hold on to possession, but couldn't create a good enough opening to test Luca. Either side had a couple of corners well cleared in the run-up to half time. 1 - 0 CUP at the break.
After a good first half, we knew a positive start to the second was needed. Just over 5 minutes in a tangle of legs just inside the box saw Cam B brought down and a penalty awarded. He duly converted it to double our advantage. Within another 5 minutes the deficit was reduced as the visitors' centre back carried the ball into our half before playing their substitute in to coolly slot home.
Coming towards the 70th minute Guy replaced Jack on the left side of midfield, with the remit of supporting defensively while taking on Buckden's tiring defence. He did just that moments later beating four men before a tame shot was easily gathered by their keeper. Sefa then made it 3 - 1 after a bit more play. He won the ball in the middle and on breaking past a midfielder, who tried to foul him, he struck the ball early from about 45 yards, and scored into the top corner with the keeper off his line.
Inside 2 minutes the lead was down to 1 again as a good break down the left saw their striker finish into the bottom corner from 12 yards out. We had just over 15 minutes to stay ahead and score again if we could. We wasted a couple of chances to do so and just as we looked to score a fourth reaching their area with a 3-on-1 break, the final whistle was blown.
A deserved victory and three points for us, although we made it harder than we needed to conceding shortly after scoring on two occasions. Plenty of positives take forward with improved determination, fight and quality displayed for the second game going. A special mention must go to the back three who put in a solid performance - Dan was making his first appearance since August and Matt commanding on his debut. It's a double header at the Cass next week as the first team look to seal promotion from Senior A with victory over rivals Milton before the Reserves host relegation-threatened West Wratting Reserves in Senior B...