Our last home fixture of the season saw us facing off against Whetstone Tigers, a team that we had already beaten twice this season and a team languishing one off the bottom of the table.
We started the game brightly, pushing forwards with menace and it wasn’t long before we took the lead through Keiran after a number of attacks involving both Sammy and Keiran, who both clearly had the pace to out-run the Tigers’ defence.
We continued to play in a similar vein until about mid-way through the first half when our tendency to ‘switch off’ when we have a lead returned and we stopped competing for the ball, stopped chasing opposition players and allowed Tigers to have considerably more ball than they rightfully deserved.
Our seeming inability for anyone to just put their foot through the ball when we were under pressure finally meant that the increasing Tigers’ attacks allowed them to draw level before the half-time break.
The fact that we ended the first half having created a number of opportunities masked the fact that, with the exception of some neat interchanges between Sammy and Keiran, we were not keeping hold of the ball and were essentially playing ‘hit it and hope’.
We started the second half much better, stringing multiple passes together and starting to threaten the Whetstone goal again.
Against what is a fairly poor Whetstone team, this gave us the opportunity to go 2 – 1 up which we did through a clinical finish from Dillan into the bottom left corner.
At a time when we should have pushed on and closed the game out, we again stopped passing the ball to each other and for 15 minutes allowed Tigers to dominate the game.
This led to two Whetstone goals turning a 2 – 1 lead into a game where we were chasing a 3 – 2 deficit.
All credit to the boys for piling the pressure on for the last 15 minutes as we created numerous opportunities but somehow we just couldn’t put away chances that most weeks we would finish with aplomb.
With the game finishing at 3 – 2 we have to come away with the feeling that had we played with the same intensity throughout as when we were behind, we would have run out comfortable winners but yet again the boys can only look to themselves to find a way to recreate that intensity when they have the opportunity to close games out.
There were some good performances out there today. Keiran and Sammy were clearly menacing throughout, Dillan had a cracking second half but man of the match went to Adam who was the one player who didn’t panic under pressure, didn’t just hit it and hope but always seemed to pick the ‘safe’ pass, always played the ball the way he was facing and set an example for the others to follow going forwards. Dillan retained the Captain’s armband.