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Away to Cricketers Horndon Saxons (2 - 8) Cup

Vets v Cricketers Horndon Saxons, Division 2 Cup Semi Final

Although we've never played the Saxons before we went into this game full of confidence on the back of our strong league position.  It's fair to say that although the weather did it's best to get the game postponed we were definitely up for the challenge and despite the continual sleet and very gusty wind we were there to win the match.
And on to the game....  It was clear from the kick off, with us playing downwind first half, that Saxons were a useful well organised team.  They adapted to the conditions quicker and played the ball around better and with more confidence than us.  It was no surprise that they went into a two nil lead early on and we were staring down the barrel of a pretty heavy defeat.
There were a few notable exceptions to our poor play in the first half hour with Martin Treadway causing problems with one ball in particular into the box just evading the on rushing Darren Foss.  Finally we managed to get a break in the game and the referees assistant gave us a penalty for what looked like a suspicious hand ball.  No matter as Halil Hassan stepped up and dispatched his second penalty in as many games.  Back in it!
To be fair we looked the better team in the later stages of the first half and Saxons seemed to be suffering.  Barry changed thing around and brought on fresh legs which seem to help swing the momentum of the the game.  Shortly followed our second with a header from Kevin Whitworth flying straight in at the back post.  
2 all and a lifeline back into the game which looked all but over on 20 minutes.

Now I would like to go on and say how from here on in until the end of the game that we dominated the proceedings and simply wore down the opposition.  However the opposite is very true.  Saxons, clearly rejuvenated from their half time cuppa, came out rampant in the second half and simply tore us apart.  Perhaps it was the fact they had the wind behind them or that we had run out of steam.  Either way they controlled the second half from start to finish and never looked in any danger of us scoring (okay a couple of exception but we could have played another hour and not scored)
With ten minutes to go we were 4 - 2  down and five was dispatched with ease with about six minutes remaining.  Freezing cold and very disheartened enough was enough and I started the 100m trudge back to my car.  By the time I had my wellies off and was sat in the drivers seat Saxons had put another three past the suicidal Gary Doodes in goal.
So a fairly embarrassing end to what looked hopeful at half time.  Questions will be asked about this defeat and the manner that we seemed to just roll over in the second half.  We appeared to be lacking in the centre of the park today and that's not a criticism of any individual it's an observation that their two central midfielders stuck together, kept it tight and closed down extremely well.  A reminder from Saxons on the importance of training and keeping fit one would suggest!
Back to the league next game and hopefully back to some normal weather.  I don't think we play overly well in the snow!

Final score Saxons 8 (eight) v Hale End 2.

Gary Doodes, Sean Windeatt, Halil Hassan, Kevin Whitworth, Martyn Tribe, Darren Foss, Trevor Burton, Paul Obinkwo, Suhail Butt, Martin Treadway, Taju Oyedji, Anthony Furlonge, Paul Laughly, Hilary Francis, Roger Gayle, Billy Howard, Barry Smith.two

Man of the match Kevin Whitworth