Commanding presence, usual thunderbolts upfield and fine goal
Green card behaviour, for which he claimed bafflement
Was it the smooth hard-ish pitch? Was it the lovely, cool, morning sunshine? Was it the bracing pre-match warm up consisting of much goal-moving? Was it over-confidence? Whatever it was, the M4s started sluggishly and a surprised St Ives decided to drive the pace, resulting in an excellent opening goal from an unmarked forward from close range.
This wasn't how it was meant to be.
Back to normality…temporarily.
A dose of Oli Anderson left wing magic, with a mesmerising run and thumping equaliser, followed by the old one-two of a Jason James short corner to hot-shot specialist and man of the match, David Monckosaurus, made it two-one at the break. Cambridge South could have had more if returning skipper John Greaves and Robby B had directed shots between the posts rather than to the (outside of) the sideboards and above the bar.
Time for a rethink, and some rabble-rousing tub-thumping from Sir Winston Monck at half time galvanised some much-needed impetus. Not always effectively so, as some over-enthusiastic man-and-ball tackling led to a Paul ("I was retreating from the free hit as fast as I could, sir") South green card. Messrs Monck and James took the alternative approach of diving/falling to the ground to attract sympathy rather than censure after their own robust tackles.
Nevertheless the half saw a lot of good expansive moves across and up the pitch, with everyone playing their role, finding space, looking to attack. Things only foundered when the ball was held for too long rather than passed, or tricky long passes were attempted rather than a simpler alternative. The home team had numerous chances and the St Ives D was a busy place, with accurate Greaves crosses, sharp hits-in from JJ, Stu Creed and Mr Monck, and frequent incursions by Oli A, Ian Marshman and James Mathews not getting the deserved reward. Through all this the South defence were firm, including new wide-backs Ellis Liu and Seb Dias, who were always in the right place, and goalkeeper George Toynton reassuringly LOUD behind them…so the lack of conversions at the other end of the pitch was not penalised.
A win is a win. Just.