The Cobras first home game since September was greeted with blue skies and a blanket of frost on the ground. Pitch conditions were going to prove tricky early on until the frost and hard ground had lifted.
Cobras were again missing Angus' Anderton' Leete, this week Angus deciding to try basketball at school, however after several trips to A&E and Xray, broken bones were finally diagnosed ! Ben G also missing chasing the funny shaped ball again, however Captain Mulder was welcomed back to marshall the troops. The home crowd numbers swelled by rumours of a celebrity within the camp.....70's brown sheepskin coat...a guest commentator perhaps???? Unfortunately not to be....just Marcus in a fashion throw back.
Cranleigh kicked off down the slope, and it was instantly apparent that a close eye was going to be needed to kept on their number 5, who was full of pace and trickery and a wicked left foot. Early exchanges saw Archie carrying on from last week with enterprising runs from midfield, Dan holding the ball up well up front alongside Chris. Cranleigh too were posing some stern questions of the Cobras back line but Kelsey, Fin and Marco held a nice high line and managed to keep the majority of Cranleigh efforts at long range with Willem making a couple of comfortable saves. The Cobras too were also asking questions in a game of end to end excitement, Sylvester breaking free down the left, outpacing the Cranleigh defensive line only to unluckily snatch his shot wide. Chris too going close after some good work by Luc.
The Cobras continued to press with a great work rate, which had the elderly referee straining to keep up with the pace of things. As the half ebbed away the Cobras had earned themselves a corner on the left hand side, one last chance before the break perhaps. Kelsey to take, arm raised, training ground set piece coming up ;). The ball was floated into the box nicely, the keeper failed to claim, Cobras bodies trying to stab the ball home, the ball was half cleared by Cranleigh only as far as Archie who was on hand to poke the ball goalwards again, only for it to deflect off an unlucky Cranleigh defender into the net. 1-0 Cobras. The half time whistle came soon after and the referee tried to catch his breath in between his team talk.
The second half began with Chris back between the sticks and Willem tasked with strengthening the middle of midfield. Dan lead the line up front well, with Luc breaking from midfield and an early through ball found Archie free still with plenty to do and being chased down by a couple of Cranleigh defenders. With the keeper advancing Archie showed once again a calm head and easily made it 2-0 Cobras.
Heads far from down back came Cranleigh with some neat exchange play down their left hand side found their danger man number 5 wide but still with plenty to do, he crossed the ball high over keeper Chris's head and in off the far post and through a hole in the netting causing confusion amongst the supporters. A quick VAR check was required but the recent Specsavers appointment meant the referee had made a correct decision (well he had to get one right was the call from the touchline!) 2-1 Cobras.
Soon after the restart and deep in Cranleigh territory Fin now in a more unfamiliar midfield role smartly caught Cranliegh in possession on the edge of their own box and a determined challenge saw him dispossess the defender and with the keeper still out of his goal expertly curled the ball around the keeper into the empty net 3-1 Cobras.
Undeterred back came Cranleigh, this was tense stuff for all concerned. Somehow another speculative cross/shot from wide on the left found its way into the far corner. 3-2 Cobras.
Cranleigh now definitely had their tails up and were back in the game, the Cobras had switched off temporarily, tackles not being won, too much time and space being given. Once again their danger man number 5, side stepping a couple of Cobras defenders and unleashing an unstoppable left foot shot past Chris in goal 3-3 eek ! .
Willem tried to rally the troops for one final onslaught to snatch a late winner, tackles were now being one and passes more accurate keeping valuable possession and managing the game better. With time running out a defnsive mix up in the Cranleigh back line had forced a corner. A tired Kelsey somehow managed to put the ball into the 'mix', with the ball breaking to Willem on the edge of the penalty box and with a quick look up he unleashed an unstoppable shot across the goal into the top right hand corner past the despairing dive of the goalkeeper. What a finnish ! 4-3Cobras.
With time nearly up anywhere would do. The final whistle came to an excellent game which could have gone either way.
Well done to Fin and Sylvester for their awards and top team effort again all round.