A very hard-fought win for the Sharks this week as they saw off a stubborn Surrey Predators side with a close, but well deserved 1-0 victory.
With Alejandro and Wiktor resting, Craig tried a new formation with two at the back and three in midfield, including a central midfielder for the first time. It took some getting used to: central midfield is a tricky role for young lads to get to grips with.
But they adapted well and showed plenty of determination to battle against an equally focused Predators side.
After an even start the Sharks started applying some good pressure and were rewarded with a goal halfway through the half from Jakub – a belter into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.
An exciting game then took off as it continued end to end for most of the match. The Sharks continued to create chances, with Ben desperately close at the far post with one cross from Francis across the goalmouth, just missing it by inches.
At the other end, the Sharks had Rory, Phin and Martin to thank for keeping the Predators out. Phin got a knock on his ankle and came off for Gabriel, who slotted in at left back comfortably.
Martin was outstanding in defence all game, battling hard to win the ball and keep the Predators out– often on his own at the back. He also got forward to great effect – a real barnstorming performance.
At halftime, Francis switched to the central midfield role (at which he excelled, despite some initial protests!) Ben was freed up to play his usual wider role, which he clearly felt more comfortable in. The Sharks continued to create chances with Nile, Ben and Gabriel combining well on numerous occasions, only to be denied by a Predators goalkeeper on great form.
In perhaps the move of the game, the Sharks worked the ball to the right wing where Gabriel beat his man and floated a beautiful cross into the box. Jakub stepped up to meet it, and headed agonisingly over the bar, inches away from what would have been a superb goal.
Phin also came very close with a great shot from the edge of the box that hit the bar and bounced down and out. I couldn’t see if it had crossed the line, so had to wave play on, but Ben told me afterwards it had been over the line. Apologies Phin for denying you a cracking goal – but I can’t give it unless I’m certain and I just didn’t see it through the crowded box.
At the back, we all saw Phin helping out the indefatigable Martin – and they both had to work hard to keep the Predators at bay. Rory continued his excellent form in goal – coming out with confidence to collect the ball and at one point to sweep the ball away from the edge of the area.
It was nail-biting stuff at times, but the Sharks just held on to record another good win. Rory celebrated his 4th clean sheet in 5 league games – a fantastic record. And the Sharks went back to the top of the table with Waddon Wanderers playing in the cup.
The top of the table clash against Waddon in two weeks’ time should be some match!
Meanwhile, it’s another home game against Ashford next Sunday.
Well done again Sharks – great effort and great determination and some great passing football too.