A good day for a football match saw Tiddington turn up at Jubilee Park on our dry, uneven pitch! They started brightly and there was a number of balls looking for their front 2 to run on to, a tactic they stuck with for most of the game as their pace was better than ours! Surprisingly it was actually Bloxham that took the lead from a rare moment of rest at the back, Knaggsy made the most of a mix up in the Tiddington defence to put us 1 up. It lasted for only a minute as a goal kick found their forward, who played a simple through ball, that left me struggling to get up to speed to make a difference, as the strike settled in the back of the net for 1-1. We couldn't get any rhythm going, unable to string any significant number of passes together. We weren't without any chances but there was nothing to test the keeper and Tiddington almost scored from a replicate goal as another through ball found the same striker. This time Scott came out to close down the angle and I was able to track back to put the strike wide of the post but it was just another example of play we had no answer too. Although slightly fortunate they did take a deserved lead, as a free kick just outside the box snuck through the middle of the wall, wrong footing Scott, who did well to get a hand on it but was unable to stop it sneaking inside the post.
Half time was a new experience as there was very little being said, all trying to contemplate the questions we were being asked, looking for possible answers. The decision was made to take Knaggsy off, replacing with Paul who's job was to sit in front of the back 4 and try and close down the threat before it reached the back line. It immediately felt like pressure had been relieved as Paul took to the role well, breaking up play and giving us a calmness in the middle, to try and create from. It was always an over the top ball that had us in trouble but it felt like we were starting to get to grips with it with Scott making some important claims on the edge of our box to help out the defence. It was the third goal that did us though, having started to compete, a corner came in that wasn't cleared, and six yards out their man of the match managed to turn and find the top corner.
It was now all or nothing and we started to improve, asking our own questions rather than looking for answers. Midfield was getting on top and we were able to run at their defence, whether through Gary on the right or Brooksy through the middle. We still hadn't threatened their keeper but we were soaking up any pressure and building our own. Our opening finally came as the ref penalised a push in the box giving Matty a chance to get us within one goal. The following 3 minutes was a side show as the ref called Tiddington players over one by one to deal with their protests but Matty remained focussed and when the moment came he sent the keeper the wrong way and we were back in the game.
As time goes on you always know you you're going to get one last chance but it turned out we had 2 chances in the final couple of minutes. The ball was worked across the box from right to left, each player picking it up, looking for the opening, before passing it on for the next to have a go. At the end of the line was Matty who opened up a gap for a sight at goal but drilled his effort high and it felt like that was it. An equally good chance was still to come as the ball found its way from left to right, this time, landing at Knaggsy's feet with some space to take a shot. The ball flashed the wrong side of the post and we weren't going to be given a 3rd chance as that was the last action of the game.
A tough day against a tough team. No excuses, they were better than us, but even on a bad day we managed to score 2 goals and create chances to draw or even win the game, on another day.