After a week off last week the first team were back in action against third place Codicote. Both teams unbeaten since November, with codicote winning their last 6 on the bounce we knew this was a tough game and a must win if we really want to press for a top 4 finish this season.
The sun was out at the Rec as New Bradwell got the game underway, the pitch had been nicely rolled but the wind was affecting balls in the air. The midfield 3 of Ricci Wigg, Jamie Greenhalgh and the return of the captain Conor Webb were trying to play football but were being pressed hard by Codicote’s midfield.
10/15 minutes had passed and very little had actually happened, neither keepers had touched the ball and neither teams really keeping possession for anymore than 5 or 10 passes.
With 18 minutes on the clock, Ryan Kelsey was thread through but the linesman had his flag up. Quite deep in Codicote’s half the keeper ran up to take the free kick, not too much worry for the New Bradwell defence, they set up deep knowing he had a good kick. The kick from the keeper completed surprised everyone and lofted straight over Steve and into the back of the net. 1-0 to Codicote
Usually conceding a goal gets us fired up a little bit but the performance after the goal looked like we had never played together before, there was no talking, touches were poor and struggling to make simple passes.
Another 15 had passed and Codicote were showing exactly why they were 3rd and 6 wins on the bounce, playing good football and working hard for each other.
Not long after we were forced into our first change of the day as Young Max went up for a header and rolled his ankle on the way back down, this saw the introduction of Jackson at left back.
We decided now to defend hard and try to get them on the counter. In the attempt to defend, Ted gave a free kick away about 30 yards from goal to the right. Codicote swung the ball in, floating it over revs head but being met by Palmer who cushioned it into his own net to make it 2-0 to Codicote.
Almost instantly after this Codicote were back on the edge of our box, knowing full well we were on the ropes and could get the knock out punch before half time they were throwing everything at us as we struggled to hold on.
Codicote’s right midfielder had the ball near the corner flag, he turned back and forth while Jackson held him off before managing to swing the ball in being met by Codicote’s CF to flick it into the far post and to make it 3-0.
Final action of the half saw Jackson be yellow carded for a late tackle on Codicote’s centre back.
HT 3-0 to Codicote and stand in manager Neil had some words in the changing room.
No more than a minute had passed into the second half and codicote had a fourth, once again the right midfielder having a little bit too much space who managed to pick out the CF on the edge of the box, a miss kick from him and it lofted over Steve into the back of the net at the far post. 4-0
This then saw the double change of Dan Dewsall and Ryan Ramsell coming on for Jamie Greenhalgh and Ryan Tappin. Rammo and Dan making up a midfield 3 with Conor Webb and Ricci Wigg taking the number 9 role.
We really started to see improvements from now, Dan wanting to get on the ball and make things happen and Rammo picking the ball up deep and being happy to drive and take players on.
We had a few free kicks which Dan whipped in towards the back post just needing the slightest of touches and we would of had ourselves a goal that we started to look liked we deserved.
With about 20 minutes to go, we finally got the goal. A free kick from webby was met by a Ricci Wigg shoulder to fool the keeper and nestle in the back of the net. The boys still believed. 4-1
Instantly after the goal Ryan Kelsey found himself through on goal and was pulled back the defender in the box and the ref has given a penalty.
After some discussion between the ref, linesman, and both captains the defender was eventually sent off.
Ryan Kelsey stepped up and slotted the penalty straight down the middle. A little bit of handbags with the goalkeeper saw both of them in the book.
Just the 8 minutes between the penalty being given and the kick off. Have we got VAR?
7 minutes of normal time left and Codicote down to 10 and we thought we could definitely get something from this.
We kept pressing high which ultimately saw Ryan Kelsey tear his hamstring having to be carried off the pitch, leaving us 10 v 10 and starting to think this may be it.
Codicote had a player sin binned but this would be the final action of the game. The ref blew the whistle for full time and codicote had won 4-2.
Special mention to Dan Dewsall who completely changed the game when they came on. Onto Bovingdon next week where we need to get back to winning ways.