Some levels of in trepidation were present before this games, following the last encounter with this extremely good team. This however was showing more on the face of the coach, than the players themselves, which was a good sign of things to come.
With a change to 3G rather than the cold, wet grass pitch, the start for the Vikings was extremely bright and energetic. So much so, that we took the lead via a superb cross from Guy to Michael to securely place the ball in the net with that longed for accurate shooting. The remaining time of the qtr, we held strong and composed and not under much trouble at all. The team commitment and effort to track back and then switch to the attack was excellent. Huge credit to Noah in this team effort.
The expectation of the opposition upping their game in qtr 2 was going to happen and they definitely did. Despite managing an increased level of goal conceding opportunities, the odds were that one was going to go in at some point and one did. This team have such a powerful and accurate shot, that we were all expecting something to happen for them within the game. The positives, were that we held our own and did not panic, containing the 2nd qtr and going in at half time all square.
The 3rd qtr was perhaps are best 12 minutes and the pivotal point for us to take control and give us the gap we needed. A corner from the left was nodded on by Jamie to be met with a good lifted header by Noah into the left of the net. Another headed goal from a Viking, even though from one that does it for fun. This lead was only a boots gap away from being extended, when a quick break up the right by Guy and a fantastic cross flashed across the goal mouth. Michael sprinting and stretching to meet, just short of getting his foot on the ball, to place into the net. This form of passage of play to attack on the back of a defensive effort, is exactly what we need to do in the future. When we do it, we look dangerous.
The 4th qtr brought some extra decision making and changes to the team sheet, with Charlie feeling unwell and George having to come off earlier in the 2nd qtr with a shoulder concern.
Not underestimating these opponents, further pressure from them enabled them to gain a level footing quite early in the qtr after a unlucky foul by Harry resulted in a powerful free kick hitting our net. No heads dropped and the instruction to Michael to get the team another goal, was duly delivered in response to conceding a goal to give us yet again the lead. The continued pressure and the fast pace of the attack from the opposition was consistent and an unfortunate foul from Jamie (which he later confessed, he had to do) gave away a free kick in the exact spot as the last. Again the ball was stuck with such accuracy and power, that there was little the defence could do to stop it.
With legs tiring, bodies being thrown in the way by Harry and George and only 30 seconds left on the clock, a final winning goal was struck against us.
The disappointment was clear to see on the players faces and after all their hard work, they deserved the draw. However, you compare this game to the last one when we met, the changes and positives in how we played, attitudes and 100% commitment was awesome. We had them on the ropes and they knew it. They were just for 1 minute, stronger than us this time.
Apologies for the excited post match shouting, but I was totally pumped by this performance and still was at 6pm that night. This was by far our greatest game, against the strongest team in the section and with a shift in plan for the last 2 qtrs.
So the first part of the season ends for a well-deserved rest and hopefully lie ins for player and parent alike. What next season will bring, will be known around Christmas Eve, when the new fixtures come out. Either way, a new challenge will be there for all.
Enjoy the Christmas holidays.