Mighty Fours Floored By Four (In The First Half)
By David Higgins
A game of two halves leaves Sils waiting for first home points
By Mike Bettridge
With the returning players from half term duties, the team looked more like the fourth eleven. The Sutton team were a higher side than we had played in previous seasons, but looked on a par with the mighty fourths being a similar mix of experience and youth. The first exchanges seemed to bear this out with both sides testing the defence of their opposition.
Good movement down the Sils right from Whitfield and Scott found Willetts. His cross to Rush resulted in the first short corner, but Rush’s shot from the set-piece was stopped by the Sutton ‘Keeper. The ball was cleared and almost immediately the Sils defence were under pressure. Throughout the first half the defence looked at best “out of sorts” with no cohesion and poor marking. It was not surprising that Sutton scored their first after only ten minutes. A second followed after another five minutes with Jogi left to fend off two shots and unable to reach the third.
The Fourths were able to mount a few attacks themselves but could not keep play out of their twenty- five. Inevitably Sutton scored twice more before half time leaving Captain Higgins’ blood pressure dangerously high. Fortunately, the half time whistle allowed him a break to vent his frustration with a critical appraisal of the team’s play to that point and a positive approach to the coming half.
This started well with the Sils playing more like a unit with purpose. Jogi made a magnificent over-the-bar save that galvanised the defence into a more constructive frame of mind. Dwyer and Lane both kept the respective wings from getting any good ball from the opposition’s mid field. The Sils were also far better going forward and a resulting short corner led to a Rush shot being stopped on the line by a Sutton foot. Rush converted the flick clinically and the Sils were a far better team throughout the half. Attacks came down both the right and left wings. Good pressured play from Whitfield and Atwal kept the ball coming into the Sutton twenty-five. Scott was tireless in both defence and attack and combined well with Willets and Rush and Aylin was a dominant force in mid-field.
Towards the end of the half Sutton forced a short corner and a good cross-goal movement gave them their fifth. On the whole the second half was far more positive for the Sils who were the better side by the end of the match. It was, therefore, a pity that the weak first half performance gave such an unbalanced result.
MoM award went to the industrious and composed John Scott, whose jet lag thankfully ensured that he was not on the same wavelength as the rest of the team in the first half.