Tattenham Rovers 1 Brockham Badgers 1
After the highs of hugely rewarding draw at dangerous Albury the week before, Brockham Badgers u14s travelled to Tattenham full of hope, promise and a smattering of zeal.
The autumnal sun kindly reappeared, welcomed by the Badgers travelling posse and we were set, ready for the (almost) vital match ahead.
With a full squad plus one (a warm welcome to new recruit Max Davis), our revered leader, Peter Scott, carded a slightly changed XI in:
Jack Scott Ben Sadler Will McKinney(c) Archie Mariner
James Maynard Max Davis Alex Fenton Jacob Carter
Luc Cordier Tom Gregson-Hill
Louise French, Ollie Jackson and Toby Meadows keeping warm on the side-lines.
A shrill blast on the man in the middle’s instrument, and we were off.
When I say ‘we were off’, what I mean is slightly ‘off-colour’!
Gone were the energy levels of last week’s epic. The boys were rather pedestrian, lacking fizz and it was all a bit static. Which in turn invited Tattenham to attack. Which is what they duly did.
Skipper Will McKinney and Ben Sadler were repelling wave after wave whilst Archie Mariner was winning everything in the air! Which was all well and good, but surely we couldn’t keep fending Tattenham off?
Debutant Max Davis lived up to his reputation of (I was reliably informed) “getting stuck in”! A man after my own heart, Max was leading the way in the tackle count…and clearly relishing every minute.
However, yet another Badgers desperate tackle, not sure from who (but it was well timed) led to a corner to our hosts.
Ball was flung in, a Badgers boot flailed at the ball in attempt to clear our lines, making contact, only for the ball to loop over our genial custodian Ben Sewell and into the corner of the net.
A moment of pure fluke and we were 1-0 down. Though poor luck, on the balance of play, it was probably deserved.
Badgers then woke up a tad (aha, now then boys, welcome to the party!). A sublime ball from James Maynard found Archie Mariner who in turn fed our tricky wing-wizard, Luc Cordier. Luc’s well vaunted modus operandi kicks into action and a taunting, jinking run was almost rewarded with a stunning shot, which flew inches past the far post.
Tom Gregson-Hill, leading the line again this week, was then bundled over in a cynical challenge. He gets up. Stands over the ball Ronaldo-style (well, sort of!) then smacks the ball high, wide and not very handsome.
Moments later, Luc and Tom link up beautifully. Another right wing mesmerising run from Luc, a pinpoint cross which Tom connects with….and GOA…..what?! How did Tom miss? Surely it was easier to score?!
Chances were coming and with the introduction of the industrious Louie French (for the injured Alex Fenton), Badgers were beginning to stamp some authority on the game.
A special mention to our fullbacks at this point. Archie pushed into midfield saw Ollie Jackson move into, what is becoming his position at left back. Ollie harried, hustled and was spot-on when timing his tackles.
On the other flank, stalwart right-back Jack Scott was at his miserly best; stopping anything and everything.
But just as we got going, “PFEEEEP” and that was half-time.
Now, we all know that when your side isn’t performing, what is needed is for the man at the helm to step up and take control of proceedings. And in true Alex Ferguson style, coach Peter Scott, lambasted and berated his troops. Tea cups and boots and hair-dryers were being flung hither and thither….well, kinda!
And with Pete’s voice ringing in the shell-like’s, Badgers got the second half underway.
Immediately you could see Pete’s pearls taking effect.
Tempo was increased, enthusiasm was raging and the boys were transformed.
Badgers now had Tattenham on their back feet on in constant retreat. Louie went very close after a Georgie Kinkladze-style mazy run (see attached). It deserved more. Archie tried his luck from distance. Luc popped one in form the corner of the area. Badgers were getting closer!
But Tattenham held firm.
Oh, hmm….it was going to be one of those days.
Or so we thought.
Because, then a moment of pure brilliance. If Luc’s goal from last week was straight off the training ground, this was straight out of the Stanley Matthews (1950s) era.
Luc, again, set off down the right wing. Jinking past his markers he then put in a pinpoint exocet-missile where Tom was perfectly positioned….and with a bullet of header, smashed the ball into the back of the net.
The away end was going crazy. Ballistic even!
A superb goal and a well deserving equaliser.
After that, Louie went close again. Luc was given a rest for Toby Meadows who was superb in pursuit of his team’s winner. And we all thought he had got it.
With minutes, nee seconds remaining, the ball was floated into the area where (we thought) Toby was onside. Whilst all around were losing theirs, Toby kept his head and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper.
2-1! Joy unbound.
But wait. Lineman’s flag was up. Offside confirmed the referee. Drat!
It was mighty close decision from this observer’s perspective, not so according to others.
Never the mind….it is, after all, a game. And only that. Played for enjoyment. And after a much better showing in the second half, I think we all enjoyed our morning.
Well played boys, but it wasn’t to be on this occasion.
We came close to snatching it but will take the point and we’ll remain 2 games unbeaten.
We move on together: onwards, upwards, up the Badgers #UTB
Man of the Match: for his great tackling, determination and grit, take a bow Ollie Jackson
Reporters Star Man: for living up to his reputation and adding some bite in the midfield, step forward: Max Davis