Ooof. That was certainly an interesting game. On the one hand I’m gutted to lose my first game of the season, but on the other it was probably my best and most enjoyable game of the season, so I’m happy.
Going up against the champions-elect was never going to be easy and we were certainly the underdogs, especially as we were short on numbers in some areas of the pitch. We were on top for much of the first half with most of my action revolving around catching a few long range efforts, rushing out to get the ball and goal kicks. I was very happy with how I dealt with all of these in the first half, I definitely felt more confident than in previous weeks and felt I was getting back to my best.
We did concede before half time unfortunately though, with a low cross from the left being put in that area between the defence and the goalkeeper, giving neither the chance to get to it and allowing for an easy finish for the striker.
The second half saw the opposition on top and I was kept far busier. Against the wind, my kicking initially became poorer, but I got control of it as the half progressed and I was forced into a lot more saves throughout the half. The most notable bit of action for me was crazy 10 seconds in which I pulled off 3 saves in quick succession. Firstly, getting my hands to a low driven cross to force it away from the on-rushing striker, then stopping the follow up shot from the penalty spot down to my right, before getting quickly back up again to tip another rebound from the six yard line around the post to my left.
Their second goal came from a long throw in on the right. The ball was flicked on at the near post to an unmarked attacker near the penalty spot and he guided his header into the bottom right corner of my goal. I got down quick enough to get a hand to the ball, but couldn’t quite keep it out.
All-in-all I was happy with my performance. I was more confident in coming out and claiming wayward crosses and overhit passes, my distribution was strong apart from a few poor kicks at the start of the second half and most importantly I was back making saves, something which I’ve not been called upon to do as much this season as we’ve been quite strong at the back.
That’s me done now until 2017, although the team have one game remaining next week. I can’t wait to get back between the sticks next year!