Another fine fight back from the Sharks, who gave a super second half performance to overcome a 1-0 half time score line. Coming from behind for the third match in a row, the Sharks again showed character, determination and belief to secure the three points – with some great football and some truly fantastic goals.
We knew Ewell were likely to give us a difficult game; two weeks ago Oxshott only beat them 1-0, the tightest score they have had all season. So there was no room for complacency.
But the Sharks started slowly. Perhaps a little ‘hungover’ after the Christmas party, they struggled to get any fluent passing going and looked hesitant in the tackles, allowing Ewell to take the initiative.
Ewell played some good football and were testing us at the back with long balls into space and down the line – and with Alejandro resting the Sharks’ defence was stretched, but seemed to be holding firm. Jake, Elliott Martin and Phin were staving off the pressure well, but the ball kept coming back from Ewell.
Up front, Jakub and Nile were working hard and Francis was making his usual surging runs down the right, but the Ewell defence was tackling well, intercepting and standing strong. It was hard work for the Sharks.
Eventually, Ewell took the lead after a dangerous corner was only half cleared. The ball fell to a Ewell player on the edge of the box and he looped it high into the area. It came down from a terrific height and at an awkward angle and despite getting himself under the ball well, Rory had no chance of keeping it out.
And so the Sharks found themselves behind for the third week running.
Right before the half time whistle, Sebas beat his man brilliantly on the right wing, surged into the box and sent a fantastic cross along the six yard box. Wiktor was inches away from connecting, and the ball fell to safety. But it was sign of things to come in the second half.
No one’s head was down, and the boys went back out for the second half in good spirits.
And they were soon in total control of the match. Sebas was breathtakingly brilliant on the right wing – although his influence was all over the pitch. He was chasing back, flying into firm but fair tackles, winning the ball back, and passing it superbly. And he caused Ewell all manners of problems, belting down the wing. It was an incredible performance.
Wiktor and Gabriel were dominating the midfield, Phin was excelling again in his central midfield role with Elliott fast and effective in central defence. Martin was his usual dependable self; quick tenacious and clever in his use of the ball. Jakub, who dropped to left back was outstanding – hurling himself into headers and tackles, and distributing the ball with real intelligence.
The equalising goal came soon after the break. It was a real beauty and, fittingly, Sebas scored it.
Phin won the ball in the middle and fed Wiktor, who held off his man and played a superb chipped through ball to Sebas, who timed his run perfectly. With the keeper advancing to close down the space, Sebas let the ball bounce and then brilliantly lobbed it over him and into the empty net. A genuinely excellent goal – well set up and with a finish Messi would have been proud of.
Now the Sharks had their tails up and it was all one-way traffic.
The second goal came minutes later after great work by Sebas down the right. He wriggled past his man and crossed into the box. Wiktor met the ball and played a clever lay off to Gabriel, who skipped round the defender and slammed a great left foot shot over the keeper and into the corner.
Again, Sebas surged down the right and played a superb cross into the centre. Wiktor met it this time and slammed it into the net after a neat turn. Great goal and 3-1 to the Sharks.
Francis then came back into the action and was immediately involved. First, he was freed after a great ball by Wiktor and lined up the shot, but the keeper was strong and saved well. Minutes later he was on the scoresheet after the ball bobbled loose in the area and he slammed it home. 4-1.
He almost added a second after another great run – but the excellent Ewell keeper tipped the ball onto the cross bar and over.
At the other end, Ewell were getting some breakaway chances now as the Sharks pushed for more goals. One move saw them in the clear on the left of the box where a cross shot hit the Sharks’ post and bounced out dangerously into the middle of the six yard box. But Rory was quick and made himself big for the shot, which was enough to put the striker off and he skewed his shot wide. Good goalkeeping.
Then Nile came back on as left back and created the 5th goal. Winning the ball high up the pitch, he saw Wiktor unmarked and played a delightful chipped pass over the defender and into the space. It was perfectly weighted and Wiktor turned, controlled it and slammed it home for 5-1.
And that was the last of the action.
It was another great comeback for the Sharks, who looked like a totally different team after half time. We should probably stop giving teams a goal or two head start, but it does make for some tension and drama!
So still a 100% home record this season, and still in second place, level on points with Oxshott as we head towards Christmas. Just one game to go in 2011 – away against Hampton Rangers on Sunday. They gave us a bit of a scare in the home game, so the boys will need to be at their best again to end the year on a high.
Well done again Sharks!
Thanks to Jim for running the line this week. And thanks to Kasia for her great pics.