The Hornets returned to winning ways today with a hard-fought one-nil win over Eastbourne.
Their opener against the Atha was a disappointment but it was all smiles at The Academy as the Stripes outperformed the visitors playing the Small-Blackwell system. The lads really played for each other as a team and if Deadeye had put his shooting boots on in the first half it could have been a big win.
Actually it was a great afternoon for both keepers who – between them – kept the score to a single goal. For Eastbourne, Dave – in his 70s and playing instead of injured England international Tony – was remarkable. In the second half, he made three super saves from Deadeye, one with his feet, one diving right and one tipped onto the bar. He could do little about the goal when Chrissy finally found his range, but he single-handedly kept the rest of the Hornets at bay.
At the other end, The Cat was just having one of his imperious days. He was beaten in a one-on-one which slipped under him, but the referee had blown for a foul and – unlike the Iscariot goal two weeks ago – it was rightly ruled out.
The Cat made a remarkable triple save beating away three shots – two of them while on his knees – and a cracking full-length palm-away in a one-on-one with a troublesome Eastbourne striker.
This was a real team effort. In the first half, ZZ Nick was superb as last man playmaker and the Hs had thrust right from him to the front men. The Cat’s distribution was brilliant, and he put Deadeye in on goal four times in the first 20. “Barn doors” was the term Chrissy used at half time but he knew his time would come. “Patience Grasshopper.”
Matty Longshanks and Chairs linked well through the middle with Posh and made very few errors between them. As an engine with wings they were tireless and totally dominated the middle of the park.
It was nil-all at half time and Deano just told the lads to keep playing the system. He knew it would eventually pay off. Puffing Paul came thundering on in the second half and picked up a couple of warnings but made one superb tackle on the edge of the ‘D’ to deny the visitors another shooting chance. White Cliffs came on for him (to avoid a blue card for PP) and did very well as last man – twice being shoved into the area by a forward backing in, and keeping his cool to win a free kick both times.
And on the left, Welsh international Touchline Mike gave another dimension with a couple of beautiful balls down the left wing. Chrissy had at least seven attempts in the second 20 and might have done better to square it to Matty twice but nobody got on his case, they just played on. He took two hefty challenges in his stride and actually as a solo firepower machine did his job to keep the EB keeper on his toes.
The only thought from the side lines was that when lads are tiring towards the end, they should be switched for fresh legs and if you are blowing out of both ends then admit it and ask to be subbed. Oh, and stop walking away from your own keeper with your back to him. The Cat’s roll outs could have been even more effective if players watched him. Chrissy gave him the eyes every time and only one through pass went astray all game.
This was just what the doctor ordered. A confidence-boosting home win ahead of a tricky away match with OB next week.
Man of the match: The Cat. His performance inspired his teammates and he would have been carried from the field had he not been too heavy to lift. Fat git.