Without a doubt, there appear to be three sorts of games across the SIL Senior Division this season. There are the games in which the stronger team batters the weaker team. There are the shocks, where the stronger team is undone by an opponent that is slightly better than it has anticipated, and there are the evenly matched games in which nothing much happens. For the opening 30 minutes, this game was very much in the third category. The temptation is to come up with a theory as to why this should be as both East Bergholt and Ransomes tried to generate something approximating their cohesive styles which in turn only helped to nullify one another.
That was until until the opening goal of the match on 32 minutes, and what a crowning moment it was for Ransomes' Jon Ince to open his account with. Awarded a free kick half way into the Bergholt half, Adam Todd delivered an inviting ball into the heart of the defence and a punching header cleared the immediate danger. The reprieve was temporary, and it was all about what Ince did next, setting his feet, he exploded a right-footed blast into the roof of the net from 25 yards to give Ransomes the initiative.
Ransomes were fiercely motivated by the goal. and there was a further chance for them to increase their lead before the interval but a wasteful touch from Danny Allen denied him the opportunity when you sensed that a first time effort would have brought its reward.
Both teams were trying to play aesthetically-pleasing football on the floor but Ransomes were punished for a sloppy moment when trying to pass the ball out from a tight situation shortly after the restart. East Bergholt took full advantage and from a low driven cut back, Alex Prime rifled in a confident finish to level things at 1-1.
In response. a couple of chances arrived for Ransomes when Connor Morley - whose right sided advances sporadically menaced - met a curving cross from Drew Connick. Although unattended, there was despair as his wild connection flew across the face of the goal when a little more composure was required. He did however manage to work Colver in the next attack as he skated in from the right and his low driven cross was palmed out, evading the incoming infuriated Danny Allen who would surely have had a tap in.
In an attempt to wrest the initiate, the game plan now changed for East Bergholt and centred on getting the ball long and early, a retro theme that nearly paid dividends as on the hour mark, Ben Prime raced through to confidently fire past Callum Deacon. Unfortunately for the home side the pacey forward had mis-timed his run and the goal was ruled out for a clear offside. The creation of the disallowed goal however, was a reminder to everyone that crashing balls into your opponents half has not necessarily had its day.
The struggles dictated by a change in style meant that Ransomes did not always get their own way, but the soundtrack resumed for the visitors on 71 minutes. It was yet another occasion that Ransomes delivered the ball into the Bergholt defence from a wide area as Connor Morley's cross fell kindly to Nay Woollard. To all intents and purpose he looked certain to score but Colver was quickly off his line to bravely block. The alert Ross Driver was quickest to the loose ball and with a self assured finish he lashed home what was to be the eventual winner.
There was still plenty left in this game to quicken the pulse, but as both teams groped for added inspiration in front of goal it was Ransomes who showed enough resilience to defend their lead against an opponent who kept asking questions.