The good, the bad and the ugly
By Dave Bridges
Billingshurst 4-4 AFC Varndeanians
The V's looked to extend the winning streak to seven games with an away trip to Billingshurst, a match that went ahead at the third time of calling to due to the previous matches being cancelled because of the weather. like the film the good the bad and the ugly this match showed different character traits of the V's as we scored some good goals, conceded 4 with some bad defending and ultimately lost of shape with an overall ugly performance that left our gun slinger coach Bryan O'Toole frustrated from the side lines.
However we got off to the worst possible start in the first minute, giving the ball away cheaply and then giving a free kick outside our area. This was floated in and not dealt with by the V's defence, the ball dropping to Nick Tilley to tap in. The V's responded immediately with pressure high up the pitch and in the 4th minute Ollie Blackman scored with a powerful header from a corner.
For the remainder of the half the V's had more possession without really dominating Billingshurst in the way manager would have liked. We got a second goal after we were awarded a penalty in the 29th minute which Joe Keehan duly converted. Billingshurst were not defending that well and were just as guilty of giving the ball away needlessly, we had three chances two were saved well by their keeper Martin Hopkins who played very well. The V's finally slotted home a third when Matt Waterman finally converted a chance in the 42nd minute. Had we gone in with 5 or 6 goals on the board it wouldn't have been unjust but the point is we didn't.
We started the second half creating a few more chances, Joe Keehan notably hitting the bar with a good effort, Matt Waterman pulling a shot just wide and when the Billingshurst keeper failed to clear a cross, Joe headed just over and the team may have thought it was a matter of time before we scored and finished the day with a comfortable win, however.... if you do not take your chances you can give the opposition a lifeline and they duly took it. Two quick goals by Ben Hands, one a well taken shot from the outside of the area, saw them draw level and so the game turned on it's head. The V's dug out as you can imagine wasn't particularly happy as the position we were in was our own making and now the momentum was with Billingshurst who were playing with renewed vigour and purpose.
The V's reacted well and with substitute George Warren showing a good turn of speed to take on their right back, he shot from an acute angle past the keeper to restore the lead with 14 minutes to go.
Billingshurst applied pressure looking for an equaliser as they had nothing too lose and it eventually came. We had a number of chances to deal with the danger but didn't and Nick Tilley was on hand to tap home from 6 yards.
Like the big bad wolf we huffed and puffed but couldn't blow Billingshurst hose down as they stood firm and in fact, if anyone was going to get all three points it was Billingshurst ,who have to be congratulated for coming back from from 3-1 and 4-3 down in the second half.
Overall we created more chances and created better chances, but you do not win football matches conceding four goals and repeatedly missing opportunities. Needless to say the changing room after was not a pleasant place to be in and Kevin Keehan will be looking for better performances for our remaining three fixtures as we strive to finish in the top four.