Spuds – Out-thought, out-fought and ultimately out-played on the pitch. Out-sung off it.
They simply didn’t have answers to our tactics and work-rate. How many times did they find themselves going sideways about 20 yards or so from our goal trying to either pick a pass or get a shot away, but couldn’t because there were always 2-3 or more players blocking the routes to goal?
Yet this wasn’t just a park-the-bus operation. Once possession had been regained, we moved the ball very well. Sometimes knocking it around at the back, sometimes moving it quickly forward. Always giving them problems going forward, as the movement and positional interchanging of the midfield players caused them problems all game that they never figured out how to counter.
At times our football was a delight, with some moments to savour. Demel’s bit of ball-juggling tight to the touchline in the first half, Diame showed some lovely touches all afternoon, culminating in the control and pass to set Rav away for his goal. Downing showed some good touches too, and what about Noble’s interception and drift away from two players followed by a pass with the outside of his foot that put Vaz Te away for the second? Trevor Brooking himself would have been proud of that – and what finer praise can you give?
In the stands, I’ve never known the home stands at WHL to be so quiet. Even while the score was still 0-0, there was little in the way of noise from the Spuds. While in the away section, we maintained a good volume of support throughout the afternoon. It was almost as if right from the start, both sets of supporters could sense that something unusual was about to unfold in front of them, causing tension in the home ends and an increasing sense of expectation in the away end. The exodus of biblical proportions from the home stands after the third goal was a joy to watch, leaving the travelling Irons to celebrate in what had unexpectedly become the promised land.
Irons celebrating (wtih thanks to the original uploader)…
I’m in there somewhere, but it’s not a close enough shot to pick me out unless you know where you’re looking.