Saturday 15th January – our first league game since the 6th November, incredible!!! We were at home to Horley Town who had had a varied season so far, form seemed to depend on whether there 1st and 2nd team were playing. The pitch was very wet as expected but the condition was good considering the amount of rain we had had.
Having not played for a few months I knew we would be quite rusty so it was important to start well and keep it tight. We started very confidently, playing the ball well but after 2 minutes Horley struck out of nowhere. From an innocent looking cross the Horley forward lifted the ball over Keith to make it 1-0. That stunned us a bit and lifted Horley no end but we continued to take the game to them. We seemed to be working hard and passing the ball until we got to the penalty area when we gave it away, however half way through the half the ball was passed through to Dave Cocksedge who let fly with a cracking effort which just went past the post. 5 minutes later Kev Badcock had another strike which made the Horley keeper pull off a good save. Horley were containing us and playing on the break which was quite effective for them, they were certainly playing well even though we had the majority of the play. Half time arrived and we went in with our heads a bit down at 1-0 but I really believed we had the beating of this team even though they were much stronger than the team we had faced at the beginning of the season.
We needed to get back out there and take this game to Horley who were still very much on a high. Again we passed the ball fairly well but Horley were rushing us into our passing and we seemed to get more and more inaccurate, giving the ball away far too much. The half seemed to be flying past and we still weren’t really creating any chances. I decided to change it around and put on all 3 of our subs to try and kick start a recovery. I brought on Paul and Dave Stuart and Andy Wadsworth and almost straight away Dave Cocksedge was wiped out by a strong Horley challenge. He hurt his ribs quite badly but carried on in true Cocksedge style. We continued to press but still were not really making the impact we should have, we were committing more and more players forward and were a bit exposed at the back but you may as well lose 2 -0 as 1 -0 so we went 3 at the back and pushed Ollie forwards. Still we couldn’t penetrate the Horley back 4 and although we had some chances none of them really troubled the Horley keeper. It finished 1-0 and we had lost our first game of the season. To be honest we can’t have too many complaints about it, Horley played very well and we were a bit lack lustre.
Man of the match. Rob Jones, lots of effort at the back, gritty performance.
Leigh Reserves away