Goals: Nick Wheatley
We had a strong team on paper to take on the high flying competition leaders Hamsap. With BOCs forfeiting last week this was only our second game this year and it showed. We started off well and had much of the play in the first 20 minutes. The ever reliable Nick W should have probably scored early on when left one on one with the keeper with loads of time but he hit it wide unfortunately. Jens also broke through after a sterling run where he beat three players after being on the floor but couldn’t pass the keeper.
At the other end Hamsap finally found a breakthrough but a terrific last ditch tackle by Briggsy thwarted their attacker just before he was going to shoot. As the half progressed Hamsap started to dominate play. A combination of rusty and poor passing and losing the midfield headers from our goal kicks especially put a lot of pressure on our defence. The first goal finally came from a corner with us unable to clear the ball with a unmarked Hamsap player hitting the back of the net.
Our reponse was amazing and within a minute after some determine play on the right from Marriott it was Nick’s determination and speed which resulted in a fine equalizer.
I thought this would spark us to life but it really didn’t. Hamsap continued to dominate midfield and our passing wasn’t great, giving up possession too easily. Just before the break Hamsap midfield pushed up on our defence without us tracking back and we had 5 against 3. A through ball to ex-Spartan Kevin Wang saw him cleverly chip Thomas Ma and put them in the lead before the break.
A few fiery words at half time by a few players but this didn’t really seem to change the momentum or our inability to string passes together after the break. There was always someone getting caught with possession by holding the ball too long or giving a poor pass to opposition. Hamsap were not threatening us much though but we were too predictable and weren’t causing many problems either.
As the game drew on we didn’t seem like a goal was coming. So with about 15 minutes to go we resorted to 3 at the back and a few changes. This seem to spark us to life and the chances started coming for us. Valery came on and seem to cause problems on the right which resulted in a Stef free kick. Stef hit the inside of the post bouncing along the goal line with the keeper beaten on the floor and the ball went back Adam who couldn’t get a proper header on goal. The ball was still lose and followed up by a few players saw the ball somehow get cleared off the line once again.
We continued to press and when we pounded the Hamsap defence Joe had an instinctive open goal after keeper was on the floor but somehow managed to hit it over the bar defining the laws of physics. We continued to pepper the Hamsap goal with Nick also having another chance but in the end the final whistle went and the game was gone. It just wasn’t our day and I thought at the time lady lucky played it’s part but on further reflection we seemed rusty with lack of recent competitive games and sharpness and our passing skills wasn’t there. Although I thought we did enough for at least to get a draw it was a bad game to lose.
I can’t fault anyone’s effort as everyone tried their best when they were on the park. Our preparation hasn’t been the best due to lack of competitive games but that wasn’t our fault. Thomas D and Briggsy were solid throughout and both did some terrific last minute tackles, Bertie passing was lose at times although he gave a heartfelt effort on uncustomary role at right back before being hit in the face. Steph clattered a few fast Hamsap players with mistimed tackles at times but didn’t let them get through and was extremely unlucky with a terrific free kick. Aidan who was suffering from flu all week and Jim tried hard in centre midfield but wasn’t helped by our poor passing performance and decent Hamsap midfield. Out wide Mike Marriott and Joe played well and battled hard. Nick and Jens upfront gave their all but were closed down by an organised Hamsap defence.
Jay and Adam looked solid when they came on while Muzza didn’t quite have the impact I was hoping for when upfront and then out wide again probably due to lack of match time. Valery looked very good when he came on and can probably demand more game time after his short stint on the field from what I saw. Many apologies to Dashti for not getting him on that should have never happened as he has been a solid player throughout this year and was my mistake.
All in all a disappointing and unlucky loss and although this is a set back if we can string a few wins with games in hand we are still right up at the top of the table. Let’s bounce back and get a result this Friday Night against USRC. Two more win’s before division split will put us in second place and still a lot to play for. On this display Hamsap are no world beaters and will have all the top teams chasing them in the second half of the season. The destiny is still in your hands it just depends on how much you want to win it!!!