Saturday 2nd October 2010
Kingston University Sports Ground
Nottsborough 3rd XI - 1
West Wickham 3rd XI – 1
After the disappointment of last weeks poor performance and defeat in the AFA cup the 3’s took the trip to Kingston to play league champions Nottsborough, which is a tough enough trip with a full squad let alone a bare 11 and with key players missing. Two of the eleven were making debuts, Nial Higgins
in goal and Dan Cudmore
With half the squad making the trip to Kingston on the train the talk was mainly about Nottsboroughs run of 19 league wins and that we only had a squad of 11. In order to raise spirits I pointed out that they must have seen our league results of 2 wins and without conceding after being promoted and that they would be fearing us and spirits became upbeat and the talk of ending the 19 wins with a defeat by the league new boys.
The first half did not feature many clear cut chances for either team, Nottsborough had most the possession and there main chance came from a goalmouth scramble after an awkward save from new boy Nial which bounced out of his grasp in slippery conditions which was eventually cleared by the defence. Nottsboroughs movement up front was lively and in the form of a Robin Van Persie esc forward, who did not stop moving to look for the ball. Wickham defended well and vigilantly, we had a couple of half chances on the break, the first came after good work from Eddie on the left wing who squared to Anthony who could only manage to find the keeper with his shot. The second came via a long range effort from the second new boy Dan who saw the keeper scramble across his goal to tip his effort wide. Neil Owlett
was winning the majority of things in the air and after a flick on from him to Marlon and a nice ball out to the wing to me and shot was fumbled wide for a corner. My first touch was a too heavy to get a better angle to trouble the keeper properly. Scoreless going into the break after a half of 11 players working hard for each other (which was lacking last week)
The half-time talk was an easy one for me, more of the same and that we needed to try and keep the ball a bit more if we could do that then more chances would come, something that all 11 took on board and executed well. Wickham began the second half with more belief that all 3 points were well within our reach. We moved the ball well and the first half chance came when after a few short sharp passes in midfield from Dan and Neil Owlett
the was moved out wide to Scotty who whipped in a dangerous ball across the box which was just an inch too high for Marlon to get on the end of. The possession was key and we held the ball well and got into good areas and eventually were rewarded with a goal, with Nottsborough only managing to half clear the ball Eddie plucked the ball out of the air with a deft touch then dispatching a volley passed the keeper which led to an 11 man huddle!! After the kick off the Wickham possession continued and at one point led to a Nottsborough midfielder start screaming like a banshee to the rest of the team “ they are showing us how to play football “. To be fair he had a point as he along with the rest of the team had been chasing shadows in long spells. Nottsborough had very few chances and made even fewer passes as the tireless closing down by Anthony, Neil and Dan. As the clock ticked down Wickham held possession well and the 3 points looked like going back to Corkscrew Hill but with less than 30 seconds left a back pass to the keeper was headed back down the Wickham right back channel for Mr Van Persie to latch onto he was shepperded towards the bye line by Sammy D but managed to squeeze a ball across the box to his strike partner who was in what looked to be an offside position. Wickham only had time for Dan to start a mazy run from the kick off which he got to the edge of the Nottsborough box before the ref to blow for full time. 1-1 final score if we had been offered it before the kick off we would have taken it but to play so well and to restrict the league champions to so little the result does feel like a defeat. I would like to say thanks to Nottborough for a great game of football played in a good spirit, also to the screaming banshee who came up to me after the game and say it was good to have another proper football playing side in the league.
MOM is tough this week as all 11 played well, both debutants Nial who’s handling was superb in wet conditions and Dan ran each other close for it, but I have decided that it goes to Dan Cudmore
who for his 1st game for the 3’s after playing last season in the 4’s showed great composure on the ball and was unlucky not to score.
PS – A note from the manager, I expect to see those who could not play this week at training to try and work you way back in the side!!!