Slade slump to slack defeat
Disappointing performance from Slade as local rivals Montpeiler Villa run out 4-1 winners.
With the snow and bad weather causing chaos with recent fixtures, it was somewhat of coup to get the game on. This was at the expense of grass though as Slade swapped the magic of Vic Rec for the artificial pitch at Hassocks.
The changing rooms also offered a luxurious huge whiteboard which gave Manager Paul Norris some pre-match excitement. The temperature was somewhat mild and the pitch had been cleared of all snow. Game on.
The game started in tentative fashion with both teams getting used to a different kind of game on the 3G pitch. The ball ran slower, bounced higher and lack of bobbles gave the players some different challenges.
20 minutes gone and if Soccer Saturday legend Jeff Stelling had cut to the pitchside reporter he would have said : "Nothing has happened Jeff. Turgid affair so far. I haven't made any notes whatsoever."
The first real incident of note was Montpeliers first goal on 28 minutes. A hopeful through-ball looked under control but some hesitation at the back between Richard O'Brien and Richard Scott allowed the nippy Villa striker to open the scoring. 0-1.
Things got even worse in the 35th minute when lackadaisical play at the back allowed the same Viila striker to intercept a pass from goalkeeper Richard Smith and lash the ball expertly into the net. 0-2. Slade were shell shocked. Another gift.
Although we were playing well below par the game was fairly even despite the 2 goal defect. Villa arguably adapted better and defending without nonsense. The only piece of attacking of note was from a great burst by Matt Collins who drove a shot from an acute angle that flashed across goal.
Half time and the key topic of team talk was communication and desire. Slade went out trying to make amends. A degree of improvement was noted immediately.
Midway through the second half, Norris changed the formation - playing 3 at the back with Jacob Everett pushed into a central striking role. The whippet looked more dangerous through middle having previously been hacked to pieces on the wing!
In the 75 minute Jacob cut inside and unleashed a powerful low drive with this right peg that flew past the keeper at hisser post. 1-2. Game on! Slade had their tails up and skipper Sean Trend let fly with a 30 yard pile driver which the keeper managed to somehow keep out.
However the game was over minutes later as sub Matt Hornsby played a loose back pass to Rich Smith which was gleefully intercepted and dispatched into the empty net. 1-3 Slade had shot themselves in the foot again - just as game was swinging.
Montpelier wrapped up a fourth in the 90th as the Villa striker scored again after bursting onto a through ball. 1-4.
A sombre dressing room afterwards showed the disappointment. A game to write off. We visit league leaders Burgess Hill next week and a much improved performance is required if we are to take any points. With poor individual performances throughout there will be a lot of players knocking on the gaffers door this week.