Loxwood Blacks vs Albury (Garth O'Mara and Jeremy Garbett)
QTR 1 – Loxwood Blacks 0 Albury 0
Loxwood started with Sebby in goal and a strong central defence pairing of Sam and Harry J. William and Charlie started brightly with a neat one 1-2 and Oscar was industrious on the right passing through to Cameron who started out looking like he hadn’t had his 3rd Weetabix this morning!
Albury pressed in numbers and compressed the play which caught the blacks out who lost a little bit of formation. “Where is the midfield? Where is the midfield?” came the cry from the home support.
Harry J was giant as he used new found skills at rugby to hustle and bustle the opponents and demonstrated how to play an effective sweeper role. It was end to end as Cameron pressed their keeper and they responded with a long shot from #47 – they must some squad size J
Harry S came on and was like a busy bee from the off. Loxwood got caught messing about in defence and only a last-ditch attempt from William to win the ball back averted the inevitable Albury goal under this pressure. Albury won a corner which Charlie powerfully headed out. The ball landed in the hedge which bought about commentary from the opposing supporters “Thank God it is stuck in the hedge, our defence can get back in time now”.
The game finished 0-0 and Loxwood had ridden their luck!
Sense of cautious optimism in the air as the Blacks took up positions for 2nd quarter. Blacks not playing as fluently as they could but that was down to smooth, well drilled opposition. After the first qrtr everyone knew deep down it was going to be an epic encounter as they went into this session. Crowd went quiet, both coaches frowning as the ball worked itself back and forth in the midfield.
Harry J. in goal for this quarter was ripping it up – catching carefully, deflecting around the posts but the pressure was mounting on our goal. Albury sweetly moving the ball through our largely non-existent midfield as Blacks continually scrambled their defence. Albury right wing crossed accurately and their forward rose majestically from seven yards and headed powerfully into the net past the despairing gloves of Harry J. 0-1 to Albury… and Albury stepping it up couldn’t be denied as they poured forward. Loxwood supporters then found their voice and urged more shape, current coach Paul ‘Ole’ Fielden too waved a hairdryer around on the touchline and the Blacks finally began to settle. Oscar (aka ‘Van Dyke’) defending valiantly and courageously, began to exert a calming presence. William F. was his usual busy, bustling self, tackling and dribbling expertly all over the pitch. Charlie came off the bench giving Harry a well-deserved breather. Whilst still 1-0 , the teams were well matched at the end going into half time…but Blacks definitely needing to work harder in midfield and attack.
Albury were on the up and the professionalism gap was starting to show. Albury have a clipboard for team talks! If only we had a Leeds manager on our side who could spy on them, we mused.
Charlie went in goal and the game started with Harry S showing some nice touches on the left. Coach Paul was less impressed - “Why aren’t you playing on the right as asked? he bellowed. Harry J was tough in midfield and William and Sebby at the back looked a good pairing. However, Albury continued to “knock on the door” the home support observed, and the ball flashed Charlie and went just wide. Well left Charlie – it was never in doubt.
Loxwood were getting a bit more of the ball and Harry S was clear on goal from a Cameron neat through ball but it was hit over the bar. Harry S was next involved in the play and was injured on the far side. With our man down and tears in his eyes our ref did the right thing and ignored him to let play go on!
With Loxwood now static there was little our keeper could do as Albury poked the ball to his right side into a near empty net.
The supporters were up in arms. “He should be disciplined” cried the Refs wife. “Chance would be fine a thing cried the husbands, I have been trying to get my wife to do that for years”. Don’t expect to see Marco for the rest of the weekend ;-)
The blacks threw everything at the Albury defence but their central stalwart – Martha – was strong and had a great touch dealing with everything thrown her way and causing problems at the other end with some decent shooting bringing about a decent Charlie save. Cameron finally got the better of her allowing though allowing the industrious Harry S through who couldn’t quite convert.
Throw-in to Albury – ah, here we go. The old “my shoelaces are untied gag”. That bought them 30 seconds. Oscar came on and played a great ball to Sam but again Martha dealt with it and the score finished 0-1 for the QTR. Loxwood were still in it and this was going down to the wire.
High tension in the air as we restart the final qrtr. Crowd tight lipped…except for a couple of the dads who nearly fall over the respect line as they shout their support/concern. 0-2 down and frankly Blacks have alot to do. Halftime CL LFC vs AC Milan 2005 comes to mind to the fightback required. Wind picking up and getting colder- conditions against us. Could the Blacks do it? The ref, trying to recover from a disastrous decision in previous Qtr, begins now to take closer interest in the game whenever the ball came close to him. Oscar again having strong game in defence holding the line on the left. Albury try three consecutive long-range shots testing our goal. One of their stars Martha, a tall, composed and skilful midfielder, misses by inches – visiting fans fists clenched as they shout their frustration …they knew another goal would finally finish us off. However, Blacks, five mins into this final session, start mysteriously to get a strong 4th wind – they surge forward this time, three in attack and Charlie O’M and Sam playing intricate ‘Salah like’ footy. Sam eventually finds space in the box, traps the ball, transfers to other foot, has a think…then another think...(crowd going wild..”shoot! ..shoot!” they shout) then he calmly rolls it into the corner…1-2! Oh yes! Home fans roar ..the comeback is on. Both coaches have to control their own language as well as their own respective players…it was that kind of match. Blacks rejuvenated now control the ball more sweetly through midfield – they find more space again around the edge of the pen, Sam steadies and connects powerfully & sweetly from over 15 yards out…the ball arcs up and then dips brilliantly at the last moment into the net...their keeper thoroughly beaten. 2-2! 4 mins left to play. Play now surges up and down the pitch – both sides straining (much like the ref who is fast running out of puff…) close chances fall to both sides...but then the ref blows and the players sink to their knees – everyone today was a star.
Final Score – Loxwood Blacks 2 Albury 2
Lots of proud parents. Best Blacks game of the season – creative, strong running and committed defence & attack.
Post-match interview from man of the match Sam Vitese and Harry “Beckenbauer” Jenkinson: