The 10th of March saw current Essex Alliance Premier Division champions visit Frances Bardsley. This was the first time we faced Jolof Sports since we caught them using ringers and it was always going to be a tasty affair. To their credit, Jolof are a team that can play football and our games have generally always been tight affairs.
Although we started off very well, having most of the posession and attacking play, a long ball right down the middle wasn't cut out and we found ourselves 1-0 down. Soon after it was 2-0 when Ross came rushing out to the edge of his box and misjudged the flight of the ball and handled outside, leading to a direct free-kick which was dispatched into the bottom corner as the wall wasn't lined up right.
The half-time whistle went and it wouldn't have been inconcevable for the players heads to drop. The half-time team talk by the players themselves was very positive as it was a game where we knew the scoreline did not tell the story.
In the second half our chances continued to come as we hit their woodwork three times it seemed like lady luck was against us. Jolof even had an extra man in the linesman whose flag was continually raised incorrectly as they tried to hang on to the lead. That was until a cross came in which the referee saw and a penalty was awarded. Scott Truman stepped up to take the shot, which was initially saved, but the follow up converted.
As we pressed for another goal the game became more open and the opponents tackles became more fierce as they picked up 3 yellow cards. One of these should have been a straight red and the referee gave one player on a yellow the benefit of the doubt. Btoh teams had chances and with the clock now over the 90 minute mark it looked as though Jolof had robbed all three points on the day.
That was until a point blank header from Bill was saved and super sub, Shaun Goddard hit a sweet shot which rocketed into the roof of the net, even though their linesman flagged again, to share the spoils in an epic battle as the match ended 2-2.
Next week.... we do it all again :-)