Our final game of the season saw the reserves travel to The County Ground Letchworth to play Hinton in the Reserves Cup. Like all finals the difficult decisions were never going to be tactics and half time team talks as we all know the boys on their day will match anyone anywhere. The difficult decisions were who to select to start as we now have a squad of 15-18 players that all command a place in the team, but that’s what’s it’s like playing for any top team so we’re going to be no different.
The team was decided lined up as follows;
2 Branson (capt)
6 Dan Picknell
7 Lee Picknell
After arriving and seeing not only the size of the pitch but also the slippery conditions we knew the game was going to be won on the effort we put into it and then let the ability take care of itself. We started well which was a positive with the midfield first to every ball and our back five settled early. The ball fizzed off the surface at every bounce so it was extremely difficult for either side to get any passing game going and therefore we saw a lot of through and long balls trying to turn the defenders. Tommy Gray and Ronnie Garratt were always going to be our outlet while Lee Picknell’s influence both on and off the ball shone through.
It was from another reliable source that our opening goal came and what a strike it was. After a Gray corner found its way back to the front man he beat the defender and whipped a low ball into the near post, the defender cleared only to Rowe who took one touch and drilled the ball into the top left hand corner. Such precision with the shot I don’t think it mattered how good a keeper it was that day they would have never of stopped it. One nil Chippo.
The game was tight for the rest of the first half but for the last 10-15 minutes Hinton grew into the game with similar through balls and long freekicks into the box. Eventually one of the many corners they forced resulted in the equaliser. The giant right back that was really the best attacking threat they had beat two players and flicked on at the near post with a Hinton player at the back post all he had to do was keep the ball under the bar to find the back of the net which he made look easy.
Half time score was 1-1 and probably right on reflection.
The second half started similar to the first with the ball being contested in midfield and Chipperfield coming out on top in most situations. Dan Picknell clearing showing throughout the match the he was going to dictate the centre of the park this time and his quality shone through particularly in the second half.
15 minutes into the half and long ball split the centre backs and Tommy Gray rushed on when the keeper slightly hesitated to chip the ball over his head into the back of the net to make the score 2-1.
Swales was introduced for the tireless Smith and Lee Picknell joined his brother in the middle of midfield to add that little bit of quality in that area of the park.
Throughout the second half Hinton pressed for an equaliser but apart from a couple of corners never really looked like getting it. Both Coates and Honey were sent on and both worked hard and contributed brilliantly to the result. Before the final whistle Chipperfield sent both Ronnie Garratt through one on one only for him to hit the keeper and Lewis Coates, who couldn’t quite find Gray in the centre and finally Matt Honey just couldn’t find the finish that Gray had earlier in the game when he too was put through.
All in all a great day out for all involved in the club and as Branson lifted the cup we’ve all been talking about for the last few months the one comment came to mind, ‘JOB DONE’.
Thank you for all the support from the stands, shall see you all next year!