Goals : Scott W, Knowlser
With a host of regulars out we took on Studz in start of our first division game since the split. Being only 6 points behind the leaders with a game in hand we had all to play for and this was an important game to get us on the right track for the business end of the season. Both 50/50’s couldn’t make it and we have two guys pull out only hours before kickoff reducing us down to 13. Many SOS sms’s saw only one famous and legendary Spartan answer to the cause. After 10 months on the sideline since an unfortunate groin strain Mike Knowles stood up were others failed and didn’t he deliver.
Our defence remained the same with Thomas Ma in goals, Bertie and Briggsy in centre with Andy B and Thomas D our wing backs. Midfield however was a total reformation. Woody playing his first game for the Spartans joining Knowlser in the centre of the park. Out wide Steph and Scottie formed rest of the midfield with Marriott and Muzza being our strikers. Keith, Valery and Leandro biting at the bit on the sidelines waiting to come on.
Kick-off and Studz started off the better knocking the ball around with more teamwork than us. This was actually the first time all season this had happened to us as we have been for mine the best team in the league in every game however costly errors have robbed us many games. Studz have the first major chance to score from a free kick which beats Thomas but hits cross bar. The follow up somehow doesn’t go in and we escape. Studz smell Spartan blood and an attack on our left sees the cross which Thomas D somehow manages not to put it in our own net but Andy B clears.
Studz are unable to take advantage of their dominance and we start to get more possession in the middle of the park. Woody is winning every header and Knowlser tackling away and controlling middle. Before we know it a mesmerizing pass from Knowlser splits Studz defence and sets Steph free who somehow misses the goals. Chance missed. However we start get more momentum and finish the half well. Another attack and scramble in their defence and ball goes free to Scott who hammers it home for our first goal and his first for Saturday Spartans.
We are much on the ascendency now and we are well on top until just before half time a sloppy pass in defence almost costs us a goal. A sign of what was to come in the second half unfortunately. We started the second half poorly, lack of marking and being too flat at the back their player finds space before it being headed in after Nana shot. 1 all. Studz continue to press and when we fail to clear the ball in the box Nana steels it and from an acute angle somehow manages to poke in the net. 2-1 down in space of 10 minutes all that hard work in the first half for two very average goals.
To our credit we start to play some decent football and bounce back. The introduction of Keith particularly up front makes a huge impact. He is able to control the ball well and we start to be more progressive in attack Woody gets a second wind while Muzza is putting everything into it. Late in the game Woody puts Steph away on the left who crosses with Muzza and Keith just missing out on equalizer. As the game draws to a close with only a minute left Keith wins a free kick after some brilliant play. Stef comes up to take a free kick which wasn’t one of his best however Keith does well and flicks to Muzza who finds space and shoots and hits bar. The ball follows up to Knowlser who pounds the ball in the back of the net before the final whistle….
2-2 draw and a lucky escape but we battled hard and bit of luck we didn’t have this year came our way in this one. As for performances our defence looked slightly suspect in the second half and that needs to improve in the weeks ahead, Briggsy the stand out for mine and Leandro doing well when he came on. It was great to see Knowlser back on the park and he played extremely well and no doubt will only get better with more game time. Marriott started as striker and end up in centre defence which show the maturity of the young lad. Scottie had a terrific game while Steph had some good moments and put a whole hearted effort along with Muzza who battled hard up front all game. However Woody playing centre mid had a sterling game and was MOM just out voted by Knowlser. A good turnout at the brewhouse afterwards and a long night showed some great Spartans spirit.