02/06/2007 - Game 8Opposition:
Torrential Rain, then calm
The rain was ridiculously heavy on the way there, even had have the windscreen wipers on double! Was much like that when warming up too, until it cleared shortly before kickoff and conditions became quite calm.
We started the better side, and forced their keeper into 1 excellent save after about 10 minutes. After that they got more into the game and in particular their right winger was getting acres of space. Our left back (basically left back as he's the squad's only left footer; against the better sides, it's clear he has absolutely no idea about defending) was getting caught in field everytime and they were killing us by switching the play and releasing the guy on the right. Fortunately they didn't manage to produce anything that forced me into anything too spectacular. It was a pretty even game, although we had the better chances. One great move led to us hitting the post. Missed 2 or 3 more reasonable chances, and then on half time, their right winger broke into the box from the right and came one on one. I blocked his effort and managed to scramble on top of the loose ball to get us through to half time level.
They carved out the 1st good chance of the 2nd half. Corner from our right came in low, one of our defenders failed to get it clear and one of their players smashed it at about knee height to my left from about 7 yards in front of me. Somehow I got an outstretched left hand down to it and kept it out, with our left back on the post clearing the loose ball. It was a reflex save, and one of my best ever. Still not sure how I got there
This seemed to give us the lift we needed and the chances started coming. Few more saves from their keeper and you could sense a goal was coming for use. It did come, with about 35 mins to go. Great finish turning on the edge of the box, and firing into the bottom corner. They almost hit back immediately, got a break and hesitation from our captain allowed their striker to get to the ball, but I had cut down the angle and parried his effort away, and our captain recovered to clear the danger. It was all us from there and we got a 2nd 10 minutes later. They had a corner, and we got a counter attack from it. Amazing run from one of our central midfielders from the edge of our penalty area to about 25 yards from their goal, and he played it through for our goalscorer to slot it past the keeper for his 2nd and 2-0. We defended pretty solidly and managed to deal with all they threw at us. With what I felt was about 10 minutes to go (of course I didn't have a watch, but I tend to be quite accurate with working out the timings) I started to taste a well earned clean sheet and at last a great performance that had directly impacted on a positive result, rather than a good one in a rout. Unfortunately it wasn't to be.
One of our players went down injured in the middle of the field, they kept playing and dribbled it past him, without kicking it out. They got down our end, the right winger once again getting in behind our left back. He cut it back for someone running in and he hit it hard and low to my right. I reckon I would have had it covered if our captain hadn't deflected it past me to my left in his attempt to block it.
Still we managed to hold on from there and I made a couple more reasonable saves and catches. My my reckoning (albeit without a watch) time was pretty much up when someone called out "4 minutes guys" after having presumably asked the ref, who was unfortunately their guy in the 2nd half. We seemed to go on for about another 10 minutes until disaster struck. Shot from the edge of the box, I saved it but could only parry it to the right. I couldn't manage to get to the loose ball before one of their players. He chipped it over me and another of their guys finished it. However, this guy was on the line, almost in the goal and as he actually turned it into the goal, he must have been miles offside. Cue an argument with several of our players and their ref. I didn't join in. I was speechless. We had won this game, outplayed them in the 2nd half and I'd had my best game of the season keeping them out. I couldn't believe we had somehow ended up not winning, especially with the 2 poxy goals they got at the end. Anyway, he blew the whistle as we kicked off.
One of our subs said by his watch it was time up when it was announced that there were 4 minutes to go, which confirmed my estimation was reasonablt accurate. Seemed like the ref just kept it going until they scored, then blew.
Still, we only have ourselves to blame again. We had the chances to kill it off properly but didn't. I'm exceptionally gutted. Still can't believe we didn't win, and very annoyed and the 2 goals that took my clean sheet away.
If Metro won today, then winning the league is probably going to be out of reach. Unless we can get up in the 2nd round of matches and beat these 3 sides we've dropped points against. We will also need someone else to beat Metro though.
Anyway, Waiheke Island at home next week for the last of the 1st round of matches. I believe we will have to organise picking them up from the wharf and bringing them to the game etc.Result:
2-2 DrawPersonal Peformance:
Excellent. Several excellent saves including one I expect to end up my best of the season.