Hertford VI 2 - 3 Southgate Adelaide II
another slow start costs us, but the fight back was stunning
It all looked horribly familiar as one Southgate player dribbled past four defenders in the first minute and beat the keeper on the reverse stick. Three minutes later another dribble led to a smartly converted short corner, and only then did we start to play. We worked out and shut down the two or three Adelaide players who were well above our level, worked hard on our defensive shape and began to move the ball up the wings with Tom and Aaron staying out on the touchlines and pulling their midfield out of shape. Chris and Aodhan used the resulting space and began to trouble their slower backs and their keeper did well to clear away several promising goal mouth scrambles. However Adelaide continued to move rapidly through our centre and despite some desperate tackling led by Steve and Graham, and some smart saves from special guest Rob Furse in goal, Adelaide had the better finishing and we turned round at half time 3 – 0 behind.
The half time talk worked again, we stopped running into tackles and started playing the ball earlier. Jon and Ewan’s pace electrified the right, Tom and Dave and Ian traded rapid fire passes up the left, we came close again from short range before Daryl drove through from 25 yards and thrashed one past the keeper. Adelaide turned up the pace and Rob had to make a couple of stunning saves to preserve the momentum of our recovery, but now we were controlling midfield and repeatedly forcing our way into their D. Dave drew a fine save from a short corner strike, more goal mouth scrambles ended in near missed, until Aaron got a reward for persistent pressure in their 23 as he picked up a loose clearance and swept home from the top of the D.
We had about 10 minutes to find an equaliser and continued to move the ball quickly and accurately up to an inside their D. Two good chances in the last three minutes went begging, and heartbreakingly the final whistle went just as Chris Dean’s desperate stab at a cross was rolling towards the open goal.
All round a stunning effort, and particularly pleasing that we thought our way back into the game, spotting and negating their strengths, searching out and exploiting their weaknesses, learning from our mistakes and never giving up.
We can do it. Let’s do it every week.