The second leg of the cup game took place at Jubilee Park with the Vets needing to turn round a 4-3 first leg defeat. With away goals not counting, it needed to be 2 clear goals or 1 to take the tie to penalties. There was a strong belief and confidence, as has been the case for most of the season, and the game started in that manner with Bloxham playing positive football. It was a new back four with Teezer and Dan making their claims for centre back partnership moving forward. Scott had very little to do all half and it was really all about the other end of the pitch.
The first shot on goal came from an unlikely source as I pushed forward, played a 1-2 with Jack and found space to push the ball into the box, to run on to. It was a shot on target that the keeper managed to fingertip out into the path of Aaron who could only find the side netting from close range. Balls splitting the defence were providing the most success and further chances fell to Aaron, Brooksy, who choose to cross rather than shoot, and Teezer nodded over from a corner. Ian, having started as a sub, came on and his first impression on the game was to chase down a through ball from Teezer and take a first time effort that lobbed the keeper but crashed into the crossbar and away to safety. It had been a comfortable half, dominated by Bloxham, but without a goal the performance deserved.
Going into the second half we knew more risks would be needed, if the game carried on goalless, and no 2 halves are ever the same! There was a greater sense of panic in the second half and FISSC were finding more opportunities than they had previously. Scott dealt with mostly long range efforts but there was a greater number of balls in our own box to deal with. At the other end we weren't finding opportunities to test the keeper, despite getting the ball into good positions. It was to be Bloxham that broke the deadlock, however. A superb throw in from the right back, allowed Gary to turn and strike a sweet left foot shot into the bottom corner, leaving the keeper with no chance and Bloxham back level in the tie.
As has been our downfall on so many occasions conceding soon after came back to haunt us. The only mistake of the game, from the back four, saw the offside line beaten, leaving FISSC 1 on 1 with Scott and we were back level again. The tie could have been out of sight but Ant put his body in the way of a goal bound strike to keep us alive, needing another goal to take it to penalties. A change of formation, to put 3 up front, was a risk worth taking and Knaggsy thought he'd given us back the advantage, breaking into the box and finding the top corner, before being pulled back for being offside. There were always going to be chances but all attempts passed us by with Brooksy and Knaggsy having the best of the late chances, that just couldn't be converted.
It was a solid performance and a draw that any other day may have been palatable but it ended up being a 'what could have been' game, to end our season. It shouldn't overshadow what has been our most successful season, one that will leave us hungry for the 2019/20 season to see how far this great bunch of lads can go!