A really tough game for the sickness-depleted Sharks against a full strength Kingswood team. It’s the first time in two seasons they have failed to score in a game; but Kingswood are an excellent side and the Sharks should be proud of their efforts against very strong opponents.  Joe in particular was superb in goal, making save after magnificent save.

We knew this would be tough match. Kingswood are a very good team – fast, strong and well organised. In truth they are probably a good few divisions too low for their abilities.  And our cause wasn’t helped by a flu virus bringing down our captain Alejandro and the withdrawal of a leg-weary Sebas on Saturday. 

Still, the Sharks were up for it on a bright, crisp, Remembrance Sunday morning. In Alejandro’s absence, Elliott started at centre back, with Martin and Phin either side.  Midfield was Jake at DM, with Wiktor and Jakub in the middle and Ben and Francis on the wings.

But the size of the task quickly revealed itself as the boys found themselves 2-0 down after a few minutes.

The Sharks have a habit of starting slowly and Kingswood took full advantage scoring two quick goals after early pressure.

A quick reshuffle put Martin in the centre, Jake at right back and Elliott in the DM role. We tightened things up further by bringing Gabby on to man-mark Kingwood’s big player, who was running the game until that point.

Gabby did superbly, working hard and stopping the Kingswood player’s influence. And things started to settle down a little for the Sharks.

They had a few good moves themselves – Ben had a couple of good runs on the left and a few moves just broke down between Jakub, Francis and Wiktor with the final ball.

But Kingswood continued to apply the pressure – and Joe started to demonstrate his heroics. He made one superb save, tipping the ball over the bar from a strong shot and carried on from there.  He punched corners clear, save from point blank range on at least three occasions, and tipped the ball onto the post.  All in all it was a magnificent, man-of-the-match performance from Joe who is growing into an outstanding keeper. Well done!

Thanks to Joe’s efforts and the work of the boys on the pitch, Kingswood didn’t score again and it remained 2-0 at half time – a good return considering they’d scored their two goals so early in the game.

After some half time encouragement, the boys came out with a renewed sense of purpose and enjoyed their best spell in the match for 10 minutes or so.

The game was very evenly contested as both sides carved out chances – and it looked as though the Sharks might get the goal their improved performance deserved.  But Kingswood proved what a good side they are by keeping the Sharks at bay.

Joe was still keeping Kingswood out at the other end with his cat-like performance and everyone was working really hard.  The defenders were especially busy – Rory and Jake at full back and Martin in the middle, who gave his all.

The midfielders were also working hard – Elliott man-marking, Phin at DM and Francis, Gabby, Wiktor, Francis, Ben, Jakub and Nile all put in good shifts.  They held their own, but they just couldn’t quite find the breakthrough for a morale-boosting goal.

The effort finally began to take its toll though and having held Kingswood at bay for half the second period, the Sharks conceded another two quick goals.

As the minutes ticked away, they still had chances of their own – while Joe continued to pull off some fantastic saves at the other end. But Kingswood had the final word with a fifth goal right at the end. 

It was heavy defeat in the end for the Sharks, but they can be proud of their efforts against a very, very good Kingswood side.  I don’t think they will drop any points this season – we came closest to getting a result with our 2-1 defeat a few weeks ago.

The good news is, we won’t have to face them again this season!  So we can now focus on winning the rest of our games and see where that leaves us at the end of the season.

Onwards and upwards!

 

 

 

Thanks to Ray for running the line this week.