An exciting, energetic and hard fought game which ended even.
We began well. There was some good movement down the right with Wallace looking full of running and threat. AOB was trying hard to find space down the left and Gregory was looking lively. They had other ideas with some smooth joined up football in the middle. They could swing the ball from side to side with ease and we were having trouble containing the middle. Their 9 Hugill looked a lump but Hutch was giving nothing away and Cooper looked solid as his partner. There was a good move down the right and Saville was flattened and from the free kick AOB just failed to get a touch on the far post. Earlier a good through ball from a deep clearance from Hutch was just too far for Gregory to make contact. They had a threatening move into our box and only a last ditch tackle and deflection averted the danger. And then, just as we were approaching half time we nicked one. Some good play down the right saw a good cross into their box. It went past our man on the near post and there was AOB to sweep it home from ten yards. They looked completely miffed and were giving the ref and earful after he had blown the whistle for half time.
The second half started with a sub from them and they brought on Barkhuizen on the left. They continued to spread the play to both flanks but all their approach play was not leading to any chances for them or saves from Archer. We were playing the classic counter attacking game and three times their keeper came out to intercept a dangerous through ball to Gregory. On one occasion I thought he had sprung the offside trap but there must have been a fag paper in it. They poured forward trying to find a way in without success. There was some handbags between Gregory and their LB and the latter went down in a heap as if he had been murdered. Lee got a yellow and their bloke bounced straight back from the dead to take the free kick. He got dog’s abuse for the rest of the game. Then they made an important substitution and put on a Bob Marley lookalike to control the midfield. We made a fatal error by switching Wallace and AOB and suddenly they had more space on their left. They attacked down that flank and got a free kick when it was clear it was our free kick for handball. It was right in front of me! Well, they played it inside, Bob had too much time on the ball to pick a pass to the wing. Their cheating LB hit a firm cross and their 37 nodded it firmly in for 1-1 from 5 yards.
Their mob went nuts and thought they would go on and win it with 7 to go. We brought on Fred for a tiring Wallace and Williams for a cream crackered Gregory but there was no drama up to the final whistle.
Archer had little to do and played well and could do nothing to stop the goal. Mahlon had a storming game on the right and looked visibly exhausted at the end, catching his breath whilst on his haunches. Hutch was a tower of strength and never missed anything and probably shaded MOM with Wallace. Cooper was solid and Meredith played very well on the left. As mentioned, Wallace had a storming game on the right and looked a constant threat with some tricky and energetic play. Saville had a poor game by his standards. We needed more bite than he was prepared to give. Tunnicliffe had his usual action man game and fought hard in the middle. AOB did last the 90 minutes and played well in parts. He took his goal well and looked a threat at times but he is no winger.
Morison looked strong and determined but got little protection from the ref and he was pushed all over the place. Gregory looked lively and got to balls he had no right to win. His control with high balls was amazing. Fred offered little when he came on but Williams offered glimpses of class and composure.
You could see why they have not lost in six on the road. They were physical, aggressive and gave us a lesson on how to hold the ball outside the box. We needed a bit more bite in that area but, in the end, a draw was probably a fair result.
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