1st 20 minutes I think we caught Utd a little cold and unsure what to expect, football aplenty from Town and Utd caught by surprise it seemed. But our young & soft under belly shows up every now and then (less so with each game hopefully) and a direct ball over the full back leads to a lovely interchange of passing and shot on the run for Lovell. This gives Utd more confidence and we had to be resilient in patches and we were desperate to get in to half time without any further damage done.
Now I know Cogenhoe are much changed but We used their 5th place finish last season as a measuring stick for our young charges, asked them if they felt United where that much better than us? If not don't be afraid, be brave on the ball and back yourselves. Game plan was not to give any thing silly away and get us into the last 10 in with a chance of forcing the issue.
Well the lads went one better and took the game to Utd. A penalty after little Lamar was brought down (although he should have pulled the trigger earlier) made it 1-1 with Parkes dusting himself off to tuck it away. Two mins later and another attack ended with a foul on Burton on the edge of the box. I could sense it, i told the subs I could smell it, and there it was; a beauty of a free kick, by Burton himself, into the bottom corner, in off the post. 1-2 to Town.
With 30 mins to go I knew this was going to be a long night, and boy it felt it.
I doesn't matter how much you tell players about not letting the game change the way you play, when your young, had a tough pre season and some bad luck already and find yourselves 2-1 up with 30 to play it's hard not to go into defensive mode. Having said that we found a resilience that every town supporter was proud to witness and me and Dave where delighted to see. We limited their attacks to crosses and shots from distance. They did have the ball in the net but only after a late challenge on the keeper after he'd come for the ball.
There where moments of frustration for both teams as far as the decision making from the officials went. United players appeared frustrated with an off side call in the first half and the challenge on the keeper in the second that led to goals being ruled out. But equally a late, in my opinion, 2 footed challenge that luckily didn't really connect from Uniteds No.7 midway through the 1st half, which last Saturday's officials, I'm certain, would have produced a straight Red but last night it was just a talking to.
It did lead to a fascinating game that I'm sure was a fascinating watch for the neutral but for me it was a roller coaster. It's been a tough start for our young Poachers and it doesn't get any easier with a trip to one of the title favourites in Newport Pagnell this Saturday.
Wish us luck!