League Match - Dunmow Rhodes Tigers (H)
Rematch as we face the same opposition from the League Cup Final
Today we faced Dunmow Rhodes in our second from last match of the season. This would be a repeat of the League Cup final we played a few previous weeks back and hopefully we could put right the result after not getting the result that we wanted. This week we had a full side with four subs to pick from although Tom Warwick was not at training this week due to a back injury he had picked up and was unable to start for today's game. However, Carl Johns has been in good form and we knew he could continue the good work he has been producing.
The game started positively for ourselves as we looked to get the ball down and play good football through the thirds and link up to combine but we couldn't really apply the final finish to the good football we played.
This had been a continuous pattern along with a lot of mistakes through concentration and also the hard surface causes the ball the bounce at difficult angles.
Ryan was called upon early as he made a smart save to deny the visitors going 1-0 as he made himself big to push it away for a corner.
The only real chances we had was from free kicks and it looked like Matt Morley had scored with a header but the keeper managed to get a hand to the ball and he tipped the ball away for another corner.
Unfortunately we had been punished midway through the first half as the Dunmow keeper managed to get through on goal and rounded Ryan in goal. After getting the ball to the byline he dragged the ball back for it to only hit Steve and nestle in the net. A real shame after dominating for long periods throughout the first half.
For all our good work, we really couldn't push on and create real clear chances to score, and started to resort to a longer ball which caused us to concede as the keeper was able to pick the ball up and with two passes they split us open and the left winger for Dunmow made a smart finish going across Ryan and making it 2-0.
We knew we was in the tie still but needed to apply that final bit of quality or decision making on the ball. Also we needed to continue playing good football and work through the thirds so we have more bodies in and around the box.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first half as we kept moving the ball and really in the second half we had more success due to the demand of Dunmow tiring and not wanting to work hard which lead to us having more success.
Tom White and Tom Warwick come on at half time and you could see that they were having an effect on the game as they played good football and kept the ball rotating.
The best chance of the half fell to Tom White as the ball was whipped in to the box where Tom was on his own. Tom looked to play it first time but didn't make good connection on the ball and the chance wasn't to be. Although i was pleased to see more bodies in the box and committing men forward.
The punishing blow was when Dunmow got their third and the tie had finished with only about 20minutes of the half to go.
Although we were 3-0 down, the boys dug in deep and really committed themselves to the cause, breaking things up and looking to be on the front foot.
Lewis Searle caused a real problem down the right hand side with his pace and good feet but we didn't react as he delivered the ball in and once again another chance went missing.
Matt Morley was playing amazingly well as he really put himself about and made great challenges to ensure that he wasn't going to be beat. A real strong performance from him along with the back four as we defended well throughout the second half.
Dunmow scored their fourth as the ball looped over Ryan and really there was nothing he could do about it at all to now make it 4-0.
We did have a conciliation goal after the ball was whipped in from the right hand side, with their defender sticking his leg out and scoring an own goal for ourselves to then make it 4-1.
The final whistle blew and the final score was settled.
Post Match Thoughts
Personally, I don't think the final score reflected on the performance of the boys. I didn't think we should have lost 4-1 and perhaps a drew should have been a fair result but they put their chances away and that determines who wins and who losses.
There was something in today's game which is better than the result and that was the passion, care and pride to wear a black and white shirt which goes a long way in football. That dressing room is full of good and hopeful potential players to play for our first team in the next few years to go.
This is worth more than winning a game of football in the Blackwater and Dengie League, as this sets the boys up for football in the future. The season hasn't gone our way this season and we have certainly underperformed this year, but I feel the boys will come out better and stronger next season and we can achieve goals we set out.
Man of the Match
There were two players that stood out with Toby Creegan having a good game at left back, but certainly we have got to give man of the match to Matt Morley. He's every physio's best customer in Maldon but he had an outstanding game today. He hitting challenges, kept winning the ball and his all round game really showed he has got the understanding of his role.
Next weekend we face Old Chelmsfordians in our final game of the season so please come and support the boys for their last game.