The Vets travelled to Honington, in the rain, looking to make it 3 from 3 in 2019. Teezer took on captain duties in Scraps absence and we stuck with the 4-4-2 formation that had proved so successful in the last 2 games. Kicking down hill in the first half it was Bloxham that started the brighter and dealt with the conditions better. Most success was coming down the left hand side and it was Teezer that had our first effort on goal with a sweetly struck left foot strike that looked to be nestling in the bottom corner before the Honington keeper managed to stick a hand out and tip it round the post. Dan was next as he was put through, down the middle, going one on one with the keeper, who again came out on top as he got enough on the shot to push it wide. Neil only had a couple of high balls to deal, with during the half, as all the action was heading down the hill, with Dan again getting an opportunity on goal, only to put it wide. The break through did come as a corner was pinged around the box before Mike got a foot on it and buried it into the top of the goal. It always felt like we needed to make the most of the slope and we did continue to push for the second. A cross from Gary just evaded the runners into the box and other chances went begging as the Honington keeper had a half to remember. The half time whistle went and we were in familiar territory with a half time lead.
We knew the second half was going to be a different game, as we were playing up hill and we needed to be switched on early. Honington came at us and put us under pressure from kick off, which was pretty much the story of the half. Their long balls over the top were avoiding the boggy pitch that wasn't helping our passing game to get going. Most attacks were being dealt with but it was going to be a long half to keep it up for 45 minutes. We weren't able to get the ball to stick up the other end so it was largely a challenge for our midfielders and defenders. A turning point came with about 20 minutes left to play when Neil deflected a strike into the path of 2 on rushing Honington players but he was first to reach it and pushed it out for a corner. The ref initially awarded a penalty but took the advice of Dan, holding the flag, who hadn't got a decision right until that point, and gave the corner. In the mean time Neil was struggling from the challenge and couldn't continue. It was a shame his Vets career came to an end in such fashion but he'd done us proud with the performance today and Knaggsy took over the role between the sticks.
The pressure did eventually take its toll as Honington found themselves free in the box. Andy rushed out and did enough as the ball hit the post but the partial clearance fell to another Honington player standing on the byline. From a tight angle he managed to find a way through a number of players and we were level. The last 10 minutes opened up a bit as we looked to claim back our winning advantage. Teezer, who'd moved to left wing, had a run that resulted in a corner and Jack, Dan and Gary all had half chances. It was Honington that came closest to the winner, however, as Knaggsy made a clearance from the side of the box, which landed on a Honington players head, he directed it towards the open goal and it felt like that was it but Knaggsy managed to get back and clear it off the line, which saw us through to full time with a point.
It was a fair result as both teams dominated the downhill half and one that keeps us undefeated in 2019 and looking forward to the next one. Hopefully the weather will provide us with an opportunity to get back to our passing game next time!