Clinical Cobras weather the storm to continue unbeaten run!
After some overnight rain, the clouds broke, and we were 'off' with the opposition on the front foot from the start. A sluggish Cobras, failed to match the home sides intensity, giving them far too much time and space with much of the first twenty minutes spent in the Cobras own final third of the pitch. Only an alert and an excellent Willem in goal and a determined Marco in defence repelled the constant wave of Panthers attacks, time and time again, keeping the Cobras in the game.
Finally the Cobras managed to break out of their own half with Ben and Angus linking well to enable Sylvester to break down the right flank, a determined run and shot forcing an excellent save from the Panthers keeper, that was more like it! With half-time rapidly approaching another rare Cobras insurgence into the Panthers penalty box resulted in a trip with the referee hesitating but finally deciding on a penalty to the Cobras. Stunned silence came over the crowd - Could the Cobras take their chance and force a lead? Up stepped Ben, who with nerves of steel found the bottom corner much to the relief of the travelling coaches and supporters. It was never in doubt! The half-time whistle went with the home supporters dazed and confused as to how the score line showed their team behind.
A 'lively' Cobras team talk ensued with some encouragement to improve in certain areas! A slight change in formation was made with the impressive Marco going in goal due to a knee injury, Angus dropping back into a more accustomed left back position with the willing running and endeavour of Sylvester leading the line up front. Some midfield steel was also added in the form of Willem to support Ben.
The second half continued in very much the same vein as the first, with the home team asking all the questions, however a new sense of purpose and determination was in evidence from the Cobras with Kelsey and Finn impressing at the back along with Angus. The midfield seemed to have more 'bite' in the tackle with Dan impressing along with Luc down the right-hand side. Willem and Ben also combining well to release Sylvester. After some determined play down the left the Cobras earned themselves a corner, with Kelsey placing an excellent cross into the box, a deflection off a Panthers player meant that the ball broke free inside the six yard box with an alert Ben pouncing on the loose ball and providing and excellent finish into the bottom corner. 2-0 Cobras!
Immediate reinforcements for the Panthers almost paid dividends but a fine save with his feet by Marco and also the upright coming to the rescue of the Cobras. The Cobras sensed that this game was theirs for the taking and some fantastic rearguard determination meant that Panthers were restricted to efforts from long range. With passes being taken with more care Sylvester and Luc also went close for the Cobras after some fine work down the right side. Possession wise it was pretty much all Panthers but the Cobras battled hard and never gave up. The Panthers did manage a consolation goal with what proved to be the last kick of the game but the Cobras resolve and determination was a pleasure to witness.
The Panthers and their supporters may have been scratching their heads at the end due to the score line but the 'team effort' and togetherness of the Cobras was enough to see them through a difficult game against a good Panthers side. A very rewarding morning all round for the Cobras who can be all extremely proud of their efforts.
Well done to Ben and Sylvester who thoroughly deserved their awards.
Vipers earn a deserved last gasp draw
On a great run of form with two wins out of two on the journey so far anticipation was in the air (alongside who know what else!). A school event had laid the boys a littler lower in numbers and without George Schmeichel in goal Charlie agreed to stand between the posts for the 1st half – using a nice negotiation tactic of requesting not to be a substitute in the 2nd half. Good work Charlie!
The lads started the game as they have done recently with an early chance and good attacking – Jody flashing the ball just wide. However, with only 3 mins on the clock a speculative long shot from the Sea Lions wasn’t dealt with by Charlie who was rusty between the sticks and trying to use his feet rather than his hands simply watched the ball bobble past him. 0-1 to the Sea Lions.
The game settled into a rhythm of a lot of good possession for the Vipers with fast breaking attacks from the Sea Lions. Notable moments included William pushing the ball through to Jody who couldn’t quite convert, a beautiful nutmeg from Sam through the Sea Lions right backs legs only to be foiled by Goldsworths’ excellent keeper, a Harry Smith shot from a corner and the highlight probably being a fantastic curled shot from the left by Cameron that sailed over the keepers head and dipped goalward only to hit the bar. “Oohs and ahhs” all round from the Vipers supporter base.
At the other end the defence was resolute. Good positioning from Harry J to push players wide and get the ball to safety, a brilliant sliding tackle from Cody, Sebby using his head on multiple occasions to clear the ball – look away Chief Welfare Officer – I don’t think Sebby has read those FA heading guidelines! Cody continued holding the line and what is now a familiar role commanding the defensive line to deny the Sea Lions space. Charlie had made up for his early error with a lot of theatrical saves that had our (my) heart in our mouths at time!
With Paul only bellowing at 300 decibels at this game (jumping up and down like a chimp was how it was described by a player in the car after the game, LOL) it seemed only appropriate that the supporter base would join in on the coaching side! Through their guidance, Charlie collected the ball and before the Sea Lions had a chance to set themselves up a strong goal kick was struck that was very central. Missed by the defender, Jody ran from behind, powered past the last man and elegantly half-volleyed the ball over the keeper to nearly burst the net. A great goal, well taken. Sam Allardyce would be proud! 20 mins gone, a deserved 1-1 score line.
From there until half-time the Vipers continued to have the better of the play. Oscar was “up for it” and displayed some tough tackling, Jody won a corner that Cameron kept at with multiple crosses – a lot of chances but the half ended 1-1. Was this not to be our day?
It nearly made an immediate impact as a great ball in from the right went into the path of Jody but it was just a little too heavy. The boys were winning all the first balls. William had now slotted into the left back role and was commanding, Harry J was “safe hands”. In an attempt to emulate Charlies assist a long clearance by the keeper was mis-headed by the opponents defence into the path of Jody who went on to round the keeper but hit the side netting.
The attacks continued. Cam came close again, William had a brilliant break and Jody was thwarted by what was some excellent Sea Lion defending.
The danger man on the Sea Lines side was the number 6 on the left wing and for some reason the Vipers kept losing him – as the game went end to end this was going to be costly. And there you had it, a beautiful curling cross from number 6 (it felt like it was in slow motion) was met by the head of one of Goldsworths attackers and a thumping header struck the back of the net. Absolutely superb goal, you can only hold your hands up! 48 mins gone. 1-2. After all this effort we were on the back foot with only 12 mins to rescue it!
In something that looked like a scene from the Alamo the Vipers attacked, attacked, attacked!!!! A goal kick spun off the back of Jody, Jody again from the left and a shot stung off the keeper, William was denied off the line, the keepers feet coming to the rescue on another attack, a great cross from Sam and a Jody header. Their amazing keeper couldn’t be beaten. And then….. a speculative long shot from the halfway line by Charlie and the keeper bent to pick it up. Our hearts went out to him as he mistimed it and it bobbled between his legs. Correction, our hearts went out to him for about 2 nanoseconds and the celebrations started (with some shouts of “unlucky keeper” to be fair). Charlie ever the gentleman simply turned his back and didn’t celebrate – although after being interviewed afterwards it turned out he didn’t know that he had scored – “and if I had known I would have celebrated like mad”. J
This was literally the last action of the game, the ref blew the whistle and we were at 2-2. Rumours of a penalty shootout circulated however it turned out that it was a “cup league” game and the final result was 2-2. With 2 wins and 1 draw the Vipers are top of league. With “virus stopped play” however will we ever see this competition resolved?
Harry J was awarded man of the match.
Last word goes to “superfan Marco”……..