Elite 1 - Tawa Bears 1
Back at Newtown park for 7 of our last 9 games, the Elite were keen continue their unbeaten home record and did just that with a well-earned 1-1 draw with top of the table Tawa Bears.
Even before the match the Elite were under the pump, missing several players from the line-up, this was soon
forgotten as the pre match txt came out, firing everyone up for the bear hunt. Steve-0 was especially excited and turned up in camouflage thinking we were going hunting. Sorry Steve, this species is endangered. As Steve-0 changed back into his kit we began our traditional warm-up, with Andy on the receiving end of a verbal barrage for not getting the ball for the masters game going on at the same time.
The only change to our warm-up under the new management was the axing of the pre-game shooting practice. This meant Decs could save his energy for the match instead of chasing after all his shots that go high and wide.
The match began, with our traditional ref Niall looking noticeably different in the middle of the park. The Elite settled the quickest and were on top of Tawa, with our physical presence of Andy and CJ up front causing problems for Tawas over-sized defenders. We were solid all over the park, causing problems in the front third, keeping things tight at the back and neutralizing Tawas midfield.
By mid-way through the first half we were in control but hadn’t found the back of the net, when we made a host of changes, including the return from injury of the humble Hernan Crespo. It took us while to adjust to these changes and Tawa were able to gain some possession and mount some attacks. By the end of the half it was pretty even, with neither team being able to get into the box very often and create chances (other than Andrew deciding his left foot was just for standing on a thus hooked his shot on his right toward the corner flag).
At half-time CJ did most of the talking and it seemed nothing had changed with the new management. The message was to keep concentration right from the whistle. As usual it seemed we ignored our orders and Tawa started the better of the two teams and were rewarded shortly after with a speculative effort from their left-back somehow ended up in the back of the net.
This seemed to be the wake-up call we needed and we got back to playing some decent football out from the back and eventually started creating chances, starting with an effort from Decs that everyone thought was a certainty. Decs somehow managed to miss his chance to level the scores (maybe we should have practiced our shooting). We didn’t drop our heads and continued to press for the equaliser and were rewarded for our sustained pressure about 10 minutes from time, when after some nice passing and failed clearances from Tawa, Steve-0 was able to thrust the ball to Cory, who slithered his way through the box and provided a tidy finish from close range to draw the Elite level. This is how the game would finish, with no further chances to sneak a win. The Elite were pleased with the performance, not letting Tawa settle or giving them any space to create chances. A strong performance all over the park meant we got a well-deserved 1 all draw and continued our unbeaten home record. With two comebacks in a row we carry some momentum into the next game, at home to Olympic.
Scored the equaliser and toiled all day in midfield to shut down the space for Tawas danger men.
Threw himself into every challenge and won every ball in the air. Set the example for the rest of the team to follow.
Slotted into the backline midway through the first half and stayed there for the rest of the game directing traffic and cut out Tawa attacks.