Jockeys take a fall at Plantation Park.
The Planters maintained their unbeaten record with a good win against Newmarket -- Finally!
On a bright but cool day, their was nothing bright about the football in the first half, both sides started slowly. Newmarket playing in blue shirts with yellow shorts and socks, with the boys in their usual yellow with blue shorts and socks, the strips were a little too close for ease of viewing from the side lines. Neither side could use that as an excuse for the poor displays in the first half, neither side retained the ball and struggled to string a series of passes together the Planters produced the worst first half performance I've seen all season.
Our only threat was the work being put in by Paul Cook and Matt Blake, who were ploughing lonely furrows up front getting little support from the midfield. The boys did have the first good opportunity when Blakey drove to the byeline and pulled the ball back to Cooky who rolled his effort wide.
The Jockeys were starting to take more control of the game a long ball over the top was missed by Tom Jeal under pressure from Chadwick, Ben Nower came charging out and missed the ball as it bounced over all three, Chadwick picked up the ball and his shot was cleared off the line by Steven Shipley, the Planters didn't take heed of the warning and were still trying to play football in all the wrong areas.
Newmarket were producing little a shot from 30+ yards out did draw a good save at full length from Ben Nower. On 42 minutes Newmarket were awarded a very dubious free kick, the ref from two yards away waved play on nothing in it, his assistant from the side line flagged for a push, and the ref allowed himself to be over ruled by his assistant. The free kick from Higgs was the first bit of quality in the half, up and over the wall into the top corner of Ben Nowers goal, Ben got a touch on it but couldn't keep it out. 0 - 1 Newmarket.
The boys came off for the half time break and must have been expecting a rollicking from Hilts and John. Whatever was said had the desired effect. Jamie George replaced Ben Jones and within minutes had made an impact, poking a ball over to Paul Cook who put the ball away neatly 1 - 1.
The boys were being far more direct and keeping Newmarket on the back foot, the pressure was starting to tell on 55 minutes Napier kicked the ball away, having been booked earlier for having the wrong coloured under shorts he received a second yellow and was sent off.
Conroy in the Newmarket goal was single handedly keeping them in the game. The Planters were all over them with our back five having a watching brief. On the hour Matt Blake picked a ball up played over the top and got a powerful shot on target which Conroy saved well. A minute later the boys got the breakthrough, Cooky won the ball battling with the defender down the right, slid the ball into Matt Blake who tucked the ball away. 2 - 1 Planters.
On 68 minutes a good flick on by Cooky was picked up by Blakey who again was frustrated by a good save from Conroy. The Jockeys couldn't get out of their half and were showing their frustration, the tackling was getting aggressive. The Planters were playing straight through the Jockeys defence with Conroy making numerous blocks and stops to keep the Jockeys in it.
The boys finally got the breakthrough to make the game safe, Matt Blake put strong pressure on the opposition centre half who couldn't clear his lines, Paul Cook nicked it off him and beat the keeper well for his brace. 3 - 1 Planters job done.
There was little time for Cooky to get his hat trick with just time added on left to play, Paul did get his chance, a ball into the box he controlled and as Conroy charged out rolled the ball back and watched him fly past, stepped goalwards and rather than striking the ball into the empty net, took a touch to beat the defender, again rolling the ball away from another defender before fluffing his shot from a couple of yards into an empty goal, finally going well wide. Paul talked me through it after the game, insisting the pitch played a part with the ball bouncing up and causing his shot to come off his shin, whilst all the boys accepted that, the three opportunities he had in the lead up to put the ball away couldn't be blamed on the pitch!!!! Won't have an easier chance for a hat trick ever, but 2 goals and an assist is not a bad return for Cooky and he deserved my man of the match.
Mondays game at Mildenhall has been moved to Tuesday night with a 7.45 pm kickoff.
United: Nower, Speller, Cusack, Lemmon (Gilmore 63), Shipley, Jeal, Jones (George 46) Mason, Cook, Blake, Bennett. unused subs Britcher, Eastaugh