Flitch Utd V Tiptree Heath FC Saturday 29th October 2016
BORDER LEAGUE DIVISION 3
MANAGER: STEVE CHESTER , COACH : IAN DOBBINS
SQUAD: Lee Greenwood, Michael Lamb Kameron Dock Charlie Abrehart-Briggs
Connor Brumpton Jack Tolhurst Jamie Chesney Joe Chester Dan Waring Ryan Jones Max Hawkins John Newman Reece Speller
This was a keenly anticipated contest between two of the top sides in the league at present. Flitch on paper had a good defensive record with a number of players that could score goals. Heath though having a superior goal difference .
On kicking off it was clear that Flitch were playing the long ball game whilst Heath typically looked to get the ball on the floor and play. We had an early corner and a throw in with Flitch demonstrating vigorous defending. On 15 minutes Flitch managed a break down the left and crossed the ball in and threatened in the box only for Lee Greenwood to challenge bravely at their feet .On 17 minutes Flitch whipped in a devilish cross from the right where a Flitch player made a super header and I hear a Flitch spectator saying ‘that’s in’ as it flew toward the back of the net but Lee Greenwood made an excellent reactionary one handed punch away.
On 21 minutes Heath play broke down in the Flitch half and they recycled the ball through on goal,but again Lee Greenwood bullishly and fearlessly saved at feet. Flitch like other teams were up for this game no doubt keen to scalp us, they battled hard whilst calling for everything to try and get an edge, but Heath were unperturbed, remained focused and went about their business in trademark fashion and on 22 minutes Kameron Dock made himself known with a feisty challenge such that he was booked. Nothing came from the free kick and two minutes later Jamie Chesney had the ball at his feet in the Flitch half and pushed forward at pace, with Flitch players snapping at his heels.There followed neat one two’s at close quarters between players on the left edge of the box where the ball was squared to a loitering Joe Chester who was square in front of goal inside the box, he composed himself whilst unchallenged to power the ball home for 0-1 on 25 minutes. That was quite simply football at its best and playing Flitch off the park.
The game felt like it had gone up a notch, almost frantic even. Flitch had been stung and they were looking to respond. Flitch gained a couple of corners in quick succession but Heath remained focused and resolute in defence. Each time the ball was crossed in it was met by a Heath player, usually a steely header to clear it away . On 30 minutes our measured play saw Michael Lamb combining well with Max Hawkins, who can always be relied upon for neat passing and good distribution, such that Ryan Jones had the ball on the edge of the box, though the Flitch defence were close at hand and in the melee the ball was cleared away. On 38 minutes we again confidently played the ball out of defence down the right side touchline and a searching ball forward saw Joe Chester powering forward as the ball sailed over his head with measured weight and whilst taking the ball in field a short way he made an instinctive tight angled shot on goal, it took a bounce before the keeper and he could only parry the ball one handed where it fell into the 6 yard box and was scrambled away before Heath could pounce.
On 41 minutes Ryan Jones came off carrying an injury to his foot and the big man John Newman went on.Not a minute later,Jamie Chesney found Dan Waring to the right of the box and the ball was begging to be hit first time but, by taking a touch it gave time enough for the Flitch defence to jump on him and steal it away.
The whistle blew for half time and manager Steve Chester made the point that Flitch are not able to trouble us on the pitch other than from free kicks, long throws and corners and to press them in their own half and pressure their defence.
Once play resumed it was clear the match had intensified as Flitch looked to equalize but on 48 minutes it was Max Hawkins that delivered a fine free kick into the box from 35 yards out right side of the centre circle where Joe Chester had risen superbly for a clear head on goal only to glance it into touch (manager ‘dad’ in frustration remarking ‘what a lettuce’! ) Not heard that one before but it made me chuckle anyhow, better luck next time Joe. As the game progressed Flitch had a free kick 2 yards off the left side of our box, a dangerous position for sure but Lee Greenwood having a great game collected the cross untroubled. Charlie Abrehart-Briggs then collected the ball in defence high up in the centre circle and he calmly laid the ball out to the right to set up a spell of good movement and link play in midfield where play was then switched over to the left side of the pitch for Joe Chester to take possession where he strode purposefully along the outside of the box to pick his spot and dispatched a fine low shot that left the keeper standing as it tucked itself neatly inside the right post. A goal of the month contender if ever I saw on. 0-2 on 50 minutes,
Connor Brumpton then decided to get motoring and surged forward through a gaggle of Flitch defenders but they ended up making a sandwich of him and were booked accordingly by the ref for having cut him down. 52 minutes Reece Speller goes on for the injured Dan Waring. The Heath were then quite literally motoring along in top gear having reached a certain tempo of passing and off the ball running, not to mention swift closing down of the Flitch team at every opportunity. Connor Brumpton even managed to work the ball out of defence when boxed in at our corner flag where again with confidence and surety the ball was worked up field and play switched to Jack Tolhurst who ran full pelt down the left touchline in the Flitch half toe to toe against a Flitch player and managed to get the better of him, the ball then found Kameron Dock in a forward position where he fired off a shot with his left foot.
Flitch make a substitution on 60 minutes whilst Reece Speller was well into the game, making timely interceptions, showing good strength and guile with it. We remained focused and were fiercely competitive competing for every ball such that Flitch could not make any headway. We continued to play out from the back with Lee Greenwood providing quick throw outs for various forays forward.
The last 10 minutes saw the manager demanding that we keep the ball to kill the game but to no avail as we allowed Flitch an opportunity where the ball was scrambled away from close in our six yard box. The game then ebbed and flowed as the clock ticked but we were able to mostly control things in the dying minutes. We got another free kick on 85 minutes only for the effort to hit the wall. Flitch continued to give away free kicks and the game by then had slipped away from them and we played to the corner flag.
FULL TIME and this game, as stated by manager Steve Chester,goes down as a marker for the rest of the season. Considering Flitch’s league position and being unbeaten, it was surely going to be a stern test. It was a test and one that was passed with flying colours . I’d give the boys an A grade myself, however let’s face it they play as men rather than boys and so I can’t help but think of the 90’s R&B band Boyzll men and song titles befitting this game.
‘End of the road’ ..nope!
I’ll make love to you…no way!
‘One sweet day’… it certainly was though!
But it has to be ‘pass you by ‘ I think as we did that quite a lot to Flitch
That was also a super shift put in by the lads and they did us proud again not least the super defensive effort that gave us that elusive clean sheet.
Upon speaking to Dobbo after the game I put it to him that this game was surely the 90 minutes of football that he had been wanting, but him being a tight bugger he was happy with 89.
Anyhow well done men (not boys) on cooking that Flitch bacon.