Drowning a small child at teas
The M3s' final pre-season fixture - with a twelve-strong squad, albeit with only eight names - started with waiting at Long Road for a goalkeeper to arrive who was already at Bury playing for the M4s! The Long Road traffic works did their best to ensure that the team arrived late but fortunately the previous matches were overrunning. Once Matt (K) arrived, positions were established and the new players introduced (another Matt, two new Ashes, 2 new Alexes and a pair of Doms), whilst warming up for what was expected to be a closely-contended battle.
South started well, moving the ball freely and using both sides of the pitch effectively to create opportunities to attack the D but unfortunately didn't produce much final product, until a rebounded shot looped high in the air for Ash D to swat home. One umpire awarded the goal, whilst the other gave a free hit to Bury; fortunately, the final decision was a goal! Bury offered little to threaten South's defence except when passes went astray but Neil was always there to ‘hustle’ his opposite number off the ball!
A riveting half time team talk saw Jan suggesting players needed to not look where they are going whilst dribbling with the ball. This seemingly confused everyone until he eventually explained the need to look in more than one direction for finding the next pass, to avoiding making the obvious one!
The second half saw a well constructed attack eventually leading to a bullet of a goal from Dom N (despite his previously having a huge air shot from three yards out with no keeper to beat). Bury soon came back and scored with an early strike through a gap in Matt S-G's pads on his near post: not one to remember. South continued to pass the ball around but tired legs and brains saw an increase in the amount of errors made. Fortunately Bury were content with giving South's defence short corner defence practice without ever looking too much like scoring!
The final whistle blew with what felt like a well-earned two-one victory, which was a fair reflection of the game (without counting the number of short corners). The teams met at the nearby Woolpack pub for post-match teas where Jan tried his hardest to befriend the locals by falling off his stool and knocking their drinks over, earning him LOM. A positive day to end pre-season with things to work on, but a sense of excitement and enthusiasm for the forthcoming league season.