New year, New chapter
By Simon Dean
We never gave up
Vs MKS Carpentery
We started 2017 on a high note after being given a cup match for our first game back after the Xmas period. We knew this would be a tricky one, as MKS smashed the last team they played in this competition 16-3, so they know where the goal is and within the first minute they struck one against us. We weren't awake and they ran the ball straight through us and, with what could have been a cross, found the goal just inside near post.
We may have set things up wrong to start with, so we made a few adjustments and suddenly we were looking better and more confident. But midway through the first half the same player made it 2-0 to MKS. At times we played some really good, stuff moving the ball about on the floor and with much less of the hit and hope stuff like last year.
MKS had a few key players, especially a tricky midfield maestro and play maker. At half time we made a decision to stick a man on him permanently, in comes John Wren, who I can only say followed this guy everywhere and absolutely marked him out of the game. That really put us on on top of things and we started causing problems and creating a few chances at goal.
One of those was a beautiful sweeping ball across their back line from Josh Stannack, which found Paul McGuire in acres of space, but his 50p head sent the ball trickling out towards the side of the pitch, rather than in to the gaping net. (Sorry Paul, had to mention this one). We looked the better team though and, with their main man out the game, it was only a matter of time before we clawed one back - a great corner from Josh Stannack and our captain (and player of the month for December) James Parker got off the ground to head home our first goal of 2017.
At 2-1 we thought the luck was against us when a fine volley from Paul McGuire that was heading straight in the bottom corner to equal the score was denied by the hand of god, or at least the hand of an MKS defender. A red card and a penalty definitely should have been awarded, but the referee didn't see a thing. That's football.
We carried on putting in the work and once again it paid off - yet another corner, this one in the 86th minute from Paul McGuire. We threw everything at it, even the keeper came up. The balll came in and Paul had delivered it perfectly, right on to the head of Nick Vaughan, and with another bullet header we were level. This man deserved his goal as he had done everything else right. An absolute battle axe in the middle, even after taking a few knocks and cramping up he carried on till the very end.
So there we go, 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes. We had earned the right to extra time, not much could separate us as both teams had chances to end it and it was down to pens for a third time this season. Up to now we'd won one shootout and lost one.
All our pens were taken beautifully! MKS stuck a few good ones too, but their 4th hit was weak and Simon Hill managed to add yet another fine penalty save to his collection.
1) Josh Stannack (longest run up ever) GOAL
2) Nick Vaughan GOAL
3) Paul McGuire GOAL
4) Joe Howard GOAL
5) Tom Mercer. GOAL AND WIN.
MOM: Nick Vaughan