Porton Sports 1 M&T Tigers 1
The tigers extended their unbeaten run to four games…and all against the top 4 teams! And it could have been even better…
Travelling with a select squad of just eight players, Findlay bravely volunteered to don the gloves between the sticks. After expert warming up from Al Garland (!) he was boosted by being given his first England cap to keep the sun out of his eyes! Tigers experienced defensive pairing of Lewis and Scott allowed Nick to push into the heart of midfield alongside James and captain for the day, Will G. Rob took on the lone striker role.
On a very frosty morning, a late pitch inspection and pothole filling was required before the game could start. Tigers took a while to settle, weathering early pressure from the league leaders, who started off like a team confident of a straight fifth win. Findlay did well to fist away an early corner, with Lewis holding things together at the back. James and Rob exchanged slick first time passes and Nick began to take charge in the middle. Gradually it was Tigers who began to edge the game. Three successive corners were followed by a sharp turn and shot from Rob which worried the keeper before sailing over. The same player then charged down a clearance from the keeper on the edge of the box, watched the ball fall from a great height onto his forehead, but just high and wide.
Against the run of play, Porton grabbed the lead. A couple of missed tackles were punished by a strong run and shot from the Porton left winger which beat Findlay at the near post. Typical of Tigers they came back immediately. James, having the best match of his season, turned and slipped the ball infield to Nick, whose inch perfect slide pass to Rob saw a first time strike brilliantly blocked by the advancing keeper. The same keeper we could not pass in November during the home match, probably the best keeper in the division alongside Rob Comer. It looked destined that he would deny us again…
The second half continued at the same breakneck speed on a small pitch. After a sloppy first 5 minutes, Tigers again began to boss things. Will G working his socks off, Scott cutting off the supply with another awesome performance. Adam came on in place of Lewis, as Mark tried to give Rob some support up front. With the supporters agreed that Tigers deserved something from the game, Nick hit a high ball forward from about 20 yards out. ‘That won’t beat a keeper this good’ stated Mark as it floated through the air. What does he know! The keeper spilled it backwards into the net for his only mistake of the match.
This led to a frenetic final 5 minutes, with the supporters nerves fraying by the minute. Findlay tackled bravely with the Porton centre forward advancing to the by-line. Then at the death, Rob wriggled free in the area and blasted a left shot straight at the keeper, who showed his true quality with a point blank catch. A real hands on head moment, but in truth probably a fair result and the least that Tigers deserved.
In a brief friendly, Tigers took advantage of their small squad on the day against some of Porton’s fringe players. Showing great hunger and desire they swept their opponents aside with 3 cracking goals – 2 from Rob and one from ‘Poacher’ Lemon. No less than either deserved for their appetite on the day. Will in goal only touched the ball once, but hey – a clean sheet’s a clean sheet. Very unkind of his dad to suggest that the keeper’s shirt looked like a dress on him!
A home game against Division One opposition Worthys 10 in the Plate next week will provide excellent experience of higher standards as the Tigers continue to improve week by week