A really fine away win for the Sharks, against a Claygate team who were top of the league having won all their matches and conceded just one goal all season before this match. The scoreline doesn’t do the Sharks justice who in truth were by far the better team and could have scored three or four more. With Kingswood playing in the cup, the win takes the Sharks back to the top of the table.
It was great to see the Sharks back to their usual selves. The passing, the sweeping moves, the fine football was all on show in a brilliant display. But the day got off to an almost disastrous start as half of us turned up at the wrong ground. We’d all clicked the link on the email and gone to the first ground shown, not realising there were about 4 different grounds in total. Oops!
So 10 mins before kick off, we were rushing through Claygate to get to the Esher ground. The kick off was delayed by 15 mins, so the usual preparation was disrupted – but at least the whole team was there!
In fact the disruption didn’t seem to bother the boys, who got off to a flying start. Within the first minute, Sebas had the ball in the net for a 1-0 lead. I’m afraid I was still walking around the pitch having arrived just in time for kick off, so I missed the goal!
After that great start, it really was all Sharks as they totally dominated the game. Martin was superb standing in at centre back with Rory and Gabby excellent in the full back roles. (Rory had to come off injured for a while, but came back on to great effect second half).
Jake was solid and calm in possession in the DM role first half, while Francis and Nile were finding space and causing problems on the wings. Sebas and then Jason excelled in the centre, alongside Wiktor who was absolutely outstanding all game.
Joe had little to do in goal first half, but he was smart and alert as usual and gathered well when called upon.
Eventually the Sharks pressure resulted in a second goal. Wiktor and Sebas played a neat one two on the edge of the box, Wiktor played it wide to Francis who stabbed the ball home firmly into the bottom corner. Nice goal and 2-0 to the Sharks.
Just as the seconds were ticking away towards half time, Claygate got a corner. It was only half cleared and fell to a Claygate striker who fired it home from close range. 2-1 and against the run of play. And so the half ended.
Second half, Alejandro came back into central defence, Martin moved wide to right back, Phin slotted into DM and Gabby went to right wing. Claygate had clearly had a half time gee-up and they came out full of energy and purpose.
But the Sharks were up to it and managed to hold them off before regaining control of the game.
There was some really fantastic football on show now from the Sharks as they played their best football of the season. We’d seen glimpses of them findng their form last week against Kingswood. Wiktor continued to impress in midfield, along with Phin who was outstanding in the DM role. Sebas, Gabby, Francis and Jason were all playing their parts too in the slick moves and penetrating football.
The third Sharks goal came as Sebas played the ball into Phin on the edge of the area. Controlling the ball, he turned and fired a superb shot into the roof of the net. A really great goal and 3-1 now to the Sharks.
Their total dominance continued as Jason raced into the area and held off his marker. The defender was forced to foul him and the ref had no hesitation pointing to the spot for a clear penalty.
It was Alejandro’s birthday, so we offered him the chance to score. He played a good low shot towards the corner, but, with the keeper well beaten, it went just wide of the post. Unlucky for Alejandro – but it’s just one of those things. (4-1 would have been a fair reflection on the game.)
The Sharks continued to apply the pressure. Nile rejoined the action and the thrilling football went on. Francis was inches wide with a lofted cross from the right, and Gabby and Wiktor went close with shots from inside the box. Jason had a great shot from distance which the keeper did well to hold onto.
Then, right at the death, Claygate won a corner, which they swung into the area. Joe managed to save a point blank shot brilliantly from the striker, but it bounced out to another Claygate player who poked it home. 3-2 and the last kick of the game.
The scoreline flattered Claygate somewhat, but the Sharks can be very proud of their win, knowing they could have won by a much wider margin, playing some superb football. Well done lads! Back to the top of the table – albeit alphabetically for now.
Onto a home game at last before half term – against Molesey. Let’s hope the boys can keep up their winning ways and their flowing football.
Thanks to Andrzej for running the line this week.