Better Late Than NeverTom South
We started the day on a high with the sunshine streaming down on the team during the warm-up. A strong team fielded against Kettering 5ths was prepped and ready to go with only a single sub to our name so everyone had to give their all. Matt was warmed up in the goal, with balls flying at him left and right, saving shots at full stretch, a sign of things not to come. The match started after the usual captain’s prep speech with some wise words from Rob. A quick attack pushed the team immediately into Kettering’s half and began heavily pressuring their defense. Ball after ball was crossed into the D from the hard work of the midfield and forwards, with the backs always providing a clean option and structure that would have put teams two leagues up to shame. Triangle passes quickly cut out lone markers and the defense pushed up to the half way point to better assist in the attacks.
The first goal came only at the expense of the blood of the one and only Paul South as he was violently pushed/threw himself to the ground - in his own words, “To sacrifice myself for the team” - while getting slightly in the way of my shot as I slipped it into the right hand corner. One-nil, a good start and definitely a sign of things to come. As the pressure kept being applied by the attack and midfield, goal after goal slowly found their way to the back of the net, Rob of course ‘robbing&rsdquo; my second goal on the line with a minor deflection, as only the all-time club top goal scorer could. The first half I believe ended three-nil.
The second half began with more of the same although seemingly a bit less energized on our part; perhaps some late night drinking catching up with some of the team. This led to some strong counter-attacking by Kettering who were no slouches when it came to their turn to apply the pressure. Our defense was solid, with people man marking and channeling down the correct lines and the midfield coming back as best they could to help with the overloads. In fact the defense was so strong that, in clear delight or frustration, one key defender (Peter? Yeah I’m bad with names) decided it was time to prove himself by hacking down one of Kettering’s lone attackers in a complete breach of composure that few people actually saw. Play continued uninterrupted with the umpires playing on until a break in play whereby the slow walk of shame began as Peter was awarded a green card (and I believe LoM as well).
However, nothing could slow down South’s pace. Even being a man down, the press was too strong, much to the eternal dismay of Matt as he started complaining of sunburn and boredom sitting in the goal. As a team we scored two more goals, all coming from fast passes up the field. A definite area for the team to work on in the future is short corners, where we did apply good pressure in earning them but definitely need to convert more into strong attempts on goal. The final score was five-nil with me (Tom South) scoring three and Rob Barton scoring two. The umpires at Kettering were very solid and played advantage wherever they could, most importantly being very consistent with their decisions so a big shout-out to them. With the win in the bag and the draw from the other two front runners (Peterborough and Nomads) in the league we are now two points clear at the top of the leaderboard so great job everyone!