Andy Leete (pictures from Helen Covey)
As kick off approached the starting line up was announced, Barney in goal, Fin, Kelsey and Marco at the back, Sylvester, Willem, Ben and Luc across the midfield and Sam leading the line up front.
The Cobras started well with the ball being moved around quickly, some excellent work from Luc found Sam breaking free and bearing down on the Sharks goal, unfortunately his snap shot across goal going just wide. Further good work from the strong midfield duo of Ben and Willem asserting their authority in the midfield created further opportunities for the Cobras but no breakthrough could be found.
With ten minutes on the clock Elstead finally got into the game, initially with a couple of long range efforts, fortunately Barney was alert and produced two excellent saves at full stretch to keep the scores level. A more physical approach from the Sharks was paying dividends combined with some hesitant tackling from the Cobras, tackles were not being won, too much standing off and not enough 'conviction' being shown in winning the loose ball. All these combined quickly found the Cobras 2-0 down. Based on possession and chances the scoreline was harsh on the Cobras but the Sharks determination was the difference.
The second half saw further changes with Marco taking over in goal and straight from the kick off he was into the action as the Sharks broke down their left, a teasing cross somehow found their striker in the six yard box to apply a simple finish 1-3.
What followed can only be described as an 'unscheduled' on field change with Angus deciding to take over in goal from Marco allowing Marco to resume defensive duties. It could be an interesting car journey home for young Angus .
The game continued at a frantic pace with chances coming at both ends. The Sharks finding success down the right with their pacy winger proving a real handful. Another cross into the box found their forward with an open goal and a chance to make the game safe, thankfully his shot was saved at close range excellently by the 'new' keeper. Phew !
Undeterred the Cobras pressed forward and created several chances themselves with time running out. Willem picking up the ball on the edge of the area and deciding to give it a 'poke', not the cleanest of strikes but well directed and somehow it made it had enough on it to make it past the keeper. 2-3 with only a couple to go.
Some excellent precision corner taking from Kelsey was always proving a menace and threat. At the other end Fin was putting in a very assured and mature performance at the back against a very determined and physical winger.
Time was short but the Cobras poured forward, a through ball found Ben in space and with a run in on goal. Holding off the last defender he guided the ball past the on rushing keeper and goal bound. The away supporters held their breaths........never in doubt as the ball found its way into the corner. 3-3.
That was pretty much it, final whistle went. A thoroughly well deserved draw with the Cobras showing great resilience to come back from 3-1 down.
A very pleasing end to the first league outing. Well played all.