The Vets are undefeated in 2019 and yet to concede a goal as we get the New Year up and running with a 2-0 victory!
The dressing room was buzzing before the game, all ready to get back out there, and we started with great energy, pressing high up the pitch and both full backs being positive in possession to keep the ball moving forward. We were restricted to few shots, though, as Ettington's defence held a good line and worked the offside trap well. It was about 15 minutes before our defence had any great pressure, resulting in a corner that was dealt with and cleared. Scott was also called into action to tip a strike over the bar, resulting in another corner but that was really the full extent of the threat from Ettington in the first half. Teezer looked like he was going to have our first strike on goal, until he actually came to hit it and sliced it out for a throw! He did make amends when Matty let the ball run through for Andy to run onto where he found himself in space heading towards the box. Rather than shooting he chose to square to Brooksy who couldn't get his shot away with any real threat. The breakthrough did come on 40 minutes with the ball again being worked down the left hand side, getting crossed into the middle for Brooksy to have a better attempt, only for the keeper to fumble it out and into the path of Gary who slotted it home, giving us the advantage at half time. We lost Scrap to a scratch on his knee, just before half time, and that was his day finished as the magic water and ice pack failed to work!
We've been in this position before, at half time, and had a positive team talk to make sure we stayed focussed and got the second half off to a positive start, trying to avoid repeating history where we let teams back in. It seemed to work as we went at Ettington again with some excellent football, moving the ball around quickly, and slotting balls through for the runners to latch onto. Although we had all the possession their keeper still wasn't being tested. A number of corners looked threatening with no end product and Gary couldn't get anything on a cross from the left. As time went on there was always a danger we could rue our pressure and we nearly did get undone with Scott needing to punch the ball away after an Ettington throw in ended up in a dangerous position in the box. There was also a scare when Scott's clearance landed at an Ettington players feet but the bobbly pitch saved us as the resulting shot ended up being sliced wide.
Thankfully we did get the deserved second goal as Matty looked to take a throw but intelligently decided to leave it for Rich Walker. The throw in went long into the box, was headed out to Matty on the edge of the box, who volleyed it goal wards and past the keeper! It was now all about the clean sheet and whether we could take that bonus too. The defence had looked strong all game and weren't to be denied the clean sheet as we saw the game out looking for the 3rd rather than worrying too much about a come back.
A great performance by all and a good standard for us to look to maintain for the rest of the season!