If Carlsberg did emotive emails and nervy victories….
Top of the table clash
With defeat to Bracknell still resting heavy in their minds and with DoD sewn up for the week due to some overly dramatized email verbiage, 5s took to the task in front of them, namely a game against their chief rivals for top spot, Oxford 7s in the last slot of the day at the Lane.
Oxford had consigned 5s to their only defeat of the first half of the season, in a victory which defined fortuitous however on this occasion started the much brighter team and in fact looked overall a much more impressive outfit than the team faced previously. With 5s top goal scorer Grant Strudley absent due to a matinee date at the circus (without his children this editor notes), the younger Strudley brother Craig was brought back into the fold following his platoon-esque last venture out and 5s also welcomed back GK Andrew Bowyer, both of whom put in a very solid afternoon’s work.
Oxford’s dominance in possession was not so great as to eradicate any Sonning chances however and the 5s were carving out opportunities periodically. Pipe’s love affair with hitting on the reverse continued but alas she wasn’t putting out on this occasion and tireless work by Radar and Berryman didn’t produce the desired goal as Sonning couldn’t seem to get the fluid passing working and possession was frequently lost too easily. Oxford’s goal when it came was as a result of some poor marking and Sonning’s inability to clear the D after an initial attack broke down, with a neat finish the result.
HT soon arrived and at 1-0 it was obvious to skipper Max and the sorry faces before him that something needed to drastically change if 5s were to extract anything out of this game however, the second half began as the first had played out with Sonning struggling to get their game firing on all cylinders against a robust Oxford side. Additionally a number of decent efforts were thwarted by an Oxford keeper hell-bent on protecting the team’s status as the meanest defence in the league.
Into the last 15 and a few minutes of concerted efforts and decent interplay down the right hand side by Edwardo resulted in a Sonning short corner, a rare moment of indecision in the defensive ranks resulted in the keeper being unsighted as Hadders slotted home the equaliser 1-1.
Momentum had swung to the team in blue and a renewed confidence manifested itself throughout the side. Back up the field and some determined play resulted in a well worked finish from an angrier-than-normal Andy Barrett, 2-1 and with only 5 minutes to play. A wave of Oxford late pressure and a couple of short corners were dealt with by the defence and the final whistle prompted some relieved celebrations from the home side who had exacted revenge on their league rivals but only just….
A triumph of effort over quality – but those wins are just as enjoyable.
Team: Bowyer, Boyden, Mist, Cutler, Strudley, Phippard, Hadland, Weiss, Goodall, Pipe, Berryman, Hill, Barrett, O’Hagan
MoM: Boyden, shading 'Bad Man' Barrett in a close vote
DoD: Hadland (at the risk that this doesn’t impact his future availability (as we need him!!) – precious flower)