As a first-team Town are entered into the Bluefin Sports (UHL) Challenge Cup and came up against Hellenic Premiership side Lydney Town. A long trip, but a chance for a break from the league.
Town started brightly and showed some good energy, within 2 minutes Ryan Bradbury pinched the ball in the centre circle and found himself running clean through on goal one on one with the keeper, he rushed his shot which went wide of the post, great chance that went begging. Our shape was good and we managed to pinch another ball, this time out wide but James Tranter’s shot was straight at the keeper.
Lydney started to put passes together and clipped a ball into their big front-man who was a handful all game, he forced a corner. Town defended it well but found the ball coming back in every time we tried clearing it, they had us under pressure but we eventually cleared to safety.
Town were putting some good passes together themselves, a nice ball from Darren Sawala into Rob Owen who’s step over dummy opened up the middle of the pitch. He slipped a great ball through the gate down into Christian Wills path, he controlled the ball superbly before unleashing a great strike from the edge of the box on the angle which whistled just past the post!
Another really good chance and perhaps town should have been 2-0 up in the first 15 minutes. Soon after that chance, Lydney forced another corner where they did take their chance, a deep one that just went over Justin Yates and was headed in too easily. Town undeservedly 1-0 down. Lydney being higher league opposition then controlled possession, making Town work hard through their shape and moving us around all over the pitch.
On 30 minutes, Town went 2-0 down, a similar goal to the first. Another corner that went deep and found a free man that side foot volleyed it towards goal. Captain Matthew Pill clearing the ball off the line but the rebound was smashed in. 5 mins later the big man up front for Lydney flicked the ball onto his partner who played it back off to him and his shot from 25 yards clattered the post but Towns keeper Justin Yates looked to have it covered.
For the last ten mins of the half town carried on buzzing, Will Bazen and Adam Finney showing great work rate and determination in towns centre midfield.
After the break Town came out buzzing again and showed the same intensity as the first 10 minutes of the game. A great challenge in the box from Matthew Pill showing great composure found Ryan Bradbury in the middle of his own half, he spun and slipped another great ball into the path of Christian Wills, he was running down on goal with the keeper coming out towards him, his early shot caught the keeper out who’s reaction 25 yards out was to handle the ball. The referee had no choice but to send the keeper off which resulted in a free kick to Town.
Lydney made a substitution and the replacement keeper was put in. The resulting free-kick came to nothing which was a shame as we deserved a goal from that somehow!! 15 mins into the half Ryan Bradbury again was slipped in on goal, he ran through but his shot was poor. If he would have looked up he would have realised he had James Tranter to his left waiting for a pass as we were 2 on 1! Another good chance.
Town were starting to stay a little higher than they did in the previous 60 mins and were caught out. A run-down Lydneys right, cut back and deep cross went just over the head of our right back but his man placed a well-executed side-foot volley past the helpless Justin Yates. Town 3-0 down. This knocked us back a bit as well as our energy and fitness levels depleting.
The machine Will Bazen was caught on the ball in centre mid, this let Lydney in again this time 2 on 2, the forward cut inside and managed to finish. Lydney 4 up
With 5 mins left town did manage to create another couple of really good chances, Rob Owen up against two defenders showed great footwork turning both defenders inside out but the keeper came out and managed to close down the shot. Another chance for Rob came from a lovely ball from Ryan Bradbury which gave him a free effort on goal but the ball wasn’t quite where he wanted it to execute his shot and the effort was straight at the keeper, a glorious chance for a goal especially as we deserved one, meat and drink for Rob normally.
Town then managed to see out the last couple of minutes and finished 4-0.
During the game, the match official on the sideline said “how surprised he was with how good we had been throughout the game”, the opposition supporters applauded us for our efforts on the day and another official at the end of the game said we “should have went 2-up.”
Overall a pleasing performance. Our work rate, effort, shape, discipline and chances created I thought were great. Disappointed we didn’t take any chances, as these were glorious opportunities, another day we will, all 4 goals being defensive errors was also disappointing.
The lads were down after the game as they knew they deserved a lot more from the game, a great mentality to have. Especially when one supporter said he was surprised at the scoreline, as going into the the game he was expecting a 12-0!!!
It was far from that and the lads did themselves, their team mates and Faringdon Town Football Club extremely proud. If we can take this solid performance forwards, cutting out the defensive errors and taking more of the chances created, then we have a good chance against any opposition.
A real good team effort gents, let’s take the positives from this game and learn from the things that frustrate us. Roll on next week!
Final Score: Lydney Town 4-0 Faringdon Town
Man of the Match: Will Bazen – work rate and effort levels of three men. Superb performance