The first league game of the season was, as someone put it before the game, like playing summer hockey. It was 26C at RMS and, if anything, felt hotter!
Our least appealing habit last season was starting slowly, gifting goals to the opposition, and then having to play catch up. There was a palpable mood in the team this week to stop this bad habit and it paid dividends. We started briskly against our opposition this week - Berkhamsted 3s. There was good passing and movement, with Tim's aerial distribution from the back giving lots of balls for Andy Cooney, Ewan Couzins and Darren Vickers to latch on to up front. There were no clear cut chances early on but by mid way through the first half the pressure started to tell and we were winning some short corners. The first couple came to nothing but we had more luck with the third. The ball was initially cleared by Berkhamsted but was recycled into the D from the wide right, dummied by Gavin and then buried into the goal from 6 yards out by Andy Cooney. Half-time score 1-0.
To their credit, Berkhamsted came out in the second half with renewed energy and made a concerted effort to get back into the game. They moved the ball about much more effectively and created some good opportunities. For our part, there were very solid defensive performances from Andy, Jeff and Nigel - and a fine goalkeeping display from Sean. A great defensive job this week guys keeping a clean sheet under lots of pressure.
We rode the storm and by mid way through the second half started to re-assert ourselves. We started to create some more chances and our second goal came from another short corner. This time the move was more direct. Gavin injecting to Tim who, wisely deciding not to shoot under pressure, played the ball left to Craigy - who swept it home from 10 yards out. Both sides started to tire in the heat but our good distribution continued to pay dividends with Gavin receiving the ball in space in the opposition 23, feinting cleverly to pass and then firing home past the keeper just inside the D. Full time score 3-0.
We have what will be a challenging away trip to Southgate Tankards next week where we will try to maintain our winning start to the season.
Man of the Match: Sean Barnett and Nigel Nerurkar - star performers in what was a great defensive unit this week.
Special mention: Darren Vickers - excellent debut (and welcome to the team!)