A rather wet and stormy scene set the backdrop for our first loss of the season today.
We knew Harvesters were a good outfit and it proved to be the case as whilst we were technically a match for them, they simply wanted the game more and for long periods of the game they beat us to the ball and came out on top of the 50 / 50 challenges (and some of the 40 / 60 ones)
We actually weathered the storm pretty well in the first half making it all the more disappointing to go in 1 – 0 down at half-time due to simply not marking one player at a corner and allowing him a free header, which he converted with aplomb.
In the second half we were again slow to the ball, did not get close enough to their men and again tended to wait for the ball to come to us rather than getting on the front foot and forcing the game more.
Harvesters’ second goal was really down to their sustained pressure and whilst Luke managed to get on the score sheet with 2 minutes to go, we only really matched their passion in the last 10 minutes and the result was a fair one.
Harvesters’ were a physical team (albeit not a big one), and the boys will have to learn that if the ref is happy to let that go, then we have to match them in terms of our own physicality, rather than just feeling that the ref is being unjust. It would be unfair to say that none of the boys battled, as they did, but there was a noticeable difference between us and Harvesters for 50 of the 60 minutes. If they don’t learn to be a bit more ‘pro-active’ in these situations, then they should bear in mind that Harvester’s have already been beaten by Pinner, Alexandra Park and Omonia i.e. all teams that we still have to play, and thus we should be expecting more of the same from those teams too.
One player did stand out today as having had a tremendous game, and that was Matt. Matt made some crucial saves but also gave us a tremendous outlet when Harvesters were attacking by his willingness to come off the line and in his communication to the rest of the team. Well done to Matt, who also earned the Captain’s armband for next week’s tie.