Good energy throughout and quality assists
I'll keep this reasonably brief. If you want more details see last week's report.
An unfamiliar but strong side met at the unearthly time of 08.15 hours to travel to Culford School and face a mixed Bury St Edmunds team. It's always nice to play Bury - they are a friendly club who play in the right spirit - and today was no exception. We were on the School Pitch, and not the Walled Garden Pitch, which as the crow flies is next door but as the hockey player walks is the long way around the wall.
The game started with decent enough opening play from both sides, feeling out the opposition. We felt we were building pressure until, somewhat against the run of play, we went one-nil down. A Bury forward ran into the circle with the ball and nutmegged Matt. Disbelief throughout ensued. Matt apologised, but he needn't have as he couldn't see. A few short corners and the odd one-on-one aside, there was just time for a lunar-orbit squarial from JJ before the half-time reset.
Quicker and more composed finishing was the call at half time and we were soon level. Dave's shot from a short corner was saved by the decent-at-stopping keeper, only for Rob to pounce on the rebound. JJ was kind enough to acknowledge no touch from him as the ball passed into the corner. Evens. We went ahead shortly afterwards with a good team goal. A break from the right found Rob quite deep, who had choices from willing runners. A pass to Wilco was quickly dispatched to Simon, bearing down on goal. A little luckily, the opposition keeper bumped into a defender which cleared the path for Simon to run the ball home. He still had a bit of work to do so credit to how he played the chance out.
The tide was definitely in our favour now and, winning lots of ball high up the pitch, we were applying almost constant pressure. On the whole, the home team dealt with it quite well. Frustrations were building a little as we were forcing the ball, epitomised by JJ's mega-aerial which launched the ball from the twenty-three out of the ground. Time stopped not only to find another yellow ball but also to let this rocket come down. We were trying too hard.
The final goal come with an attempted pass around the back being unfortunately intercepted by the Bury striker. He drove directly at the South goal and, as Matt went down to close the chance, was able to lift the ball over the keeper and home. Not again!
There was time to manufacture a handful of further chances, most of which were scuppered by good defending or ended up in a poor choice of finish. This summed up the game a bit. We should have been more clinical both as individuals when the chances arose and as a team. Something to bring to next week when we welcome Newmarket. We also welcome our skipper, John, to the side for his first proper outing of the season. Let's show him how the team's passing and shape has improved and finally come away with the win we've deserved.
Thanks to Bury for a great fixture and the two umpires for allowing play to flow nicely. An enjoyable encounter and most definitely another worthwhile preparation. Food at the Woolpack went down a treat. It was, after all, almost lunchtime now.
MoM went to JJ for good energy levels and quality assists, though Ian was second for another solid game. LoM went to JJ for ridiculous aerials. After the game our most loyal supporter, Elijah, observed, "My dad, Dave, did a roly-poly."