Perhaps the exertions of a week at fair thorne the previous week took a toll but tigers were made to work hard during this game. In the first half blues looked organised, sharp and keen to push forward. Tigers needed to rely on savvy defending to stay on par. Although the first shot on goal went to Rob who skinned the far post. Adam followed suit a few minutes later when also from the right he slid his shot from a through ball by Nick Comer just wide.
Despite notable defensive displays by Will Hoggath playing on the right and the formidable back line of Scott/Nick E and then Scott/Nick C, the breakthrough came for blues. A short throw from the left had tigers reacting slowly and a quick ball in was turned goalward to put blues 1-0 up. A finely taken goal, speaking with manager Mark afterwards he commented this was the finest goal scored against Tigers this season.
Tigers were not deterred and a rotation policy throughout the game kept the players fresh. A tactical change to put Nick Comer in defense alongside Scott paid dividends in the later part of the 2nd half when he still had the legs left to once again become the driving engine in the middle keeping Tigers pushing forward.
Tigers finished the first half keeping Waltham Blues at bay, there were moments of clever, intuitive play by the likes of Lewis, Findley & James making sure that the midfield provided a launch platform for Charlie, Will G, Adam & Rob in turn to try and create chances. The midfield battle though was tight and was illustrated by Orkan who had to work hard to find the space he enjoys to beat players, frequently he could beat the first player but blues would double up and rob him of the ball as the 2nd or even 3rd player would be there immediately.
As the game wore on, tigers got closer to match speed and began to be first to the ball, this helped turn the tide a little in the second half.
Tigers began to create lots more half chances in the early part of the 2nd half and all sensed that even though the game was incredibly tight that Tigers had it in them to get back on level terms. It nearly happened when a clearance from the back was picked up by Rob Sills just in his own half. He ran directly at the defence creating the space for him to fire a shot across the goal which ran just wide of the right hand upright.
Tigers continued to get close but the defence was called into action on numerous occasions to stop the Blues increasing their lead. Scott led the defence with a man of the match performance and perhaps his award as man of the match shows how tight the game was.
The equaliser did come in a period when Tigers rose to the ascendancy in the game. A great chance went begging as Charlie just couldn’t get into the box in time to turn in a Jacob cross. The well deserved equaliser from Adam came after a frenzied few minutes of pressure. Ball in from Will H, goal mouth scramble and Adam popping up on the right to slot in the ball.
Rob Comer continued to be tested in the Tigers goal but remained firm, a late scare was nullified by the referee’s whistle for handball.
The final whistle blew just moments after Rob nearly clinched the game for Tigers. Sitting on the shoulder of the last defender, Nick Comer cleared the ball from outside the Tigers box, he asked a little much of Rob who was forced wide by the pace of the ball. Perhaps it would have been unfair on Waltham blues who were by far the best team that Tigers have played this season.
Final Score 1-1, a tired squad, but a display by the team which made manager Mark very proud of his boys.