The Cobras were missing their influential leader Willem but welcomed back defensive rock Kelsey with Ben G and Archie to anchor the midfield. Young Barney was tasked with ‘guardian of the gloves’. The message from the coach considering the lack of numbers was straight forward... ‘keep possession and pick the simple pass’ With numbers still short at KO, Angus, still nursing a sore ‘Darren Andertonesque’ hamstring was thrown into the action in the unaccustomed position of ‘lone’ striker, now this could be interesting !
To throw another spanner in the works it was to be a ‘silent weekend’. How was this going to go with Coach and supporters desperate to show their support for the brave eight? With the referee keen to enforce the ‘silence’ and another referee monitor on the side lines to reprimand any wrong doers, both Marcus T and Liam began to sweat…..no vocal encouragement allowed - just ‘positive’ clapping.
The game got underway and the home side tried to assert their numbers advantage, but the Cobras stood firm with Marco impressing early on with his pace and reading of the game. Thankfully Cobras reinforcements started to arrive, with Archie slotting into the midfield alongside Ben. With parity restored the Cobras started to get themselves into the game with Sylvester impressing down the wing and Luc unlucky not to open the scoring with a well struck effort. Archie and Ben calm and assured on the ball dominated the midfield battles, frequently releasing Angus into space down the wide areas who was unlucky with another cross shot, just firing wide. Elstead struggled to maintain any consistent pressure on the Cobras goal, but when they did manage a strike on goal Barney dealt with everything admirably.
Back to their full compliment of players on and off the pitch a change was made to give Angus a rest with next week in mind to avoid any further injury. The ever improving Dan made an instant impression up front with some excellent hold up play and link up. Archie too proving a constant threat with his confidence growing and positive running into dangerous areas he was unlucky not to finish off a fine solo run into the Sharks penalty area. Finally the Cobras were able to make their pressure pay and a Ben G ‘thunderbolt’ strike from halfway in the opponents half proving too good for the despairing dive of their keeper, with the ball rising high into the back of the net. 1-0 Cobras, Wow ! well deserved. Some change in Elstead personnel not long before half time brought instant dividends with an excellent move from inside their own half finished off in style past a faultless Barney. 1-1.
The half time whistle came and with scores level, both teams coaches (and supporters) were finally able to get a few things ‘off their chests’, although the assured first half Cobras performance meant no ‘hair dryer’ required this time around. Keep doing the simple things. ‘Birthday Boy’ Chris was restored to the attack for the second half, keen to continue his impressive performances from previous weeks.
The second half got back underway, with no half time ‘talkings too’ for either coach or sets of supporters from the ref or pitch side monitor, phew. At this point the weather took a turn and the heavens started to open and the pitch started to cut up further . The Cobras continued their confident display with neat passing. Dan and Archie combining well together to allow Archie space to burst into the opponents penalty area only for a moment’s hesitation to allow the desperate defenders time to avert the danger and scramble it away. A moment of midfield ‘ping pong’ due to the worsening conditions then led to the ball breaking to Archie who only had one thing on his mind....skipping past one challenge....then a second...still going....evading a last ditch defensive lunge and calmly slid the ball past the helpless keeper 2-1 Cobras. A wonderful goal !
With time ticking the Sharks pressed but some excellent defending from Fin and Barney kept them at bay. A couple of further chances came the Cobras way but the killer finishing touch was all that was missing when it mattered, sometimes a case of 'over doing things'. Cobras really should have had the game won, however some old Cobras bad habits resurfaced just when it mattered, players caught out of position and some ball watching from the half way line left the defensive line exposed and the Sharks grabbed a late equaliser.
Full time whistle 2-2, on the whole an excellent team performance with some nice passing football. A performance that deserved a win but not to be.
Well done to Archie and Ben for their excellent efforts and awards on the day.
Weather permitting a home game next week.
Well done you Cobras !