March 1st 2015
Match report by Simon Finch
In 1854 Lord Lucan received the vague and precipitous orders that led to Cardigan’s Light Cavalry being immortalised by Tennyson’s poem, following their frontal assault on the Russian artillery positions. Yesterday at Balaclava Road there was no such uneven struggle.
Three times in the opening thirty minutes the Sharks fell behind only to fight back, level the score and carry the threat on the balance of play to go on and take the lead.
Corinthian’s first significant raid into our penalty area was successfully repelled by Joel, but no-one could do anything about the ensuing shot from outside the area that put us one goal down.
Shortly after that setback a free-kick awarded for a foul on Francis arrived at the far post, from where Ben delivered a curling cross which Francis was able to expertly convert — neither goalkeeper nor post proving too much to overcome. Enrico could then have given the Sharks the lead with a powerful shot that scraped the crossbar.
As the team looked to get on top of their opposition, a simple through ball undid us and we were once again a goal down. No matter, a long throw by Martin caused panic in the Corinthians defence and with the ball at Ben’s feet again on the left flank a rash challenge was greeted with the correct award of a penalty. Gabby duly despatched the spot kick just inside the post.
Fortune then smiled on the home team with a wicked deflection giving them the lead again. The Sharks continued to respond with skill and energy. A hurried back pass was intercepted by Joe and he raced clear to calmly make the score 3-3. Within minutes Francis was next to be racing through on goal, his surging run only ended by a crude foul, rewarded with a yellow card for the offender. Many observers felt it was a clear goal scoring opportunity, and salt was rubbed into the wound just before half time when Corinthians scored again and took a 4-3 lead into the break.
All told it was a thrilling first half and both teams deserve credit for delivering such entertainment to us olds on the touchlines.
In the second half the horses tired as the muddied ground softened a bit. The standard dropped as the players’ vision became impaired by the fog of war that covered the pitch, blown there by a persistent and chill wind. Every man fought his corner but some of the cohesion had gone.
The grand scale of the first half was replaced by close quarter skirmishing in the second. Corinthian Casuals extended their lead to 5-3 and the chance of victory slowly slipped away from the Sharks as time ticked by. The many moments of individual determination that kept the result in doubt for so long was best exemplified by Jayden’s brave dash from his line to deny a break-away chance. Everyone was pleased to see him get up from the bad knock he got on his ankle in the incident.
Sharks can look forward to another good game against this strong opposition later this month and hopefully a different result.