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Home to Blackmore Royals (4 - 4)

Oh well at least we can concentrate on the league.
A return to the Peter May for the VETS as we entertained the gentlemen of Blackmore Royals in a game that brought us to the halfway point in the league season.
We were hoping to put the unfortunate events of last weekend ..hereafter to be referred to as "the abysmals"...behind us and continue our fine league form.
Our guests and their luminous orange strip currently reside at the lower end of the table,but any thoughts of a canter to three points were swiftly put aside in the early sorties as the Royals threatened to overwhelm us with a brand of composed,pacy attacking football.Thankfully we woke up to the situation and worked ourselves a foothold in the game. The first chance falling to Sean who ghosted in at the far post to head narrowly wide.For the rest of a very entertaining first half the game flowed from end to end with some great build up play from both teams,with Gary being called upon on a number of occasions.
As half-time approached the visitors seemed to be gaining the upper hand,yet the game took a turn in our direction. After winning a bruising challenge in the midfield area,MARTYN TRIBE continued his run,and,latching on to a cheeky flick from Suhail,he tore into into the box and sent an un-stoppable drive into the Royals net.1-0.Undeserved?Our visitors seemed to think so and for the remaining five minutes piled on the pressure, but we held out to take the advantage into the break.
H-T: HALE END ATHLETIC 1
        BLACKMORE ROYALS 0
The half-time chinwag was quite subdued,indicating that we were all aware that we were in a real contest and probably fortunate to be ahead at this point.It was felt that maybe one goal would be enough and if we avoided lapses in defensive areas, our current advantage would be enough. Well the gods of football had other ideas for the second period.Again the Royals started strongly but without creating anything clear cut,and as frustration set in their play became less assured.So their mood was not improved when we doubled our lead 10 minutes in.A period of Hale End pressure rewarded when SUHAIL BUTT sweetly volleyed home a half clearance from 20 yards out.2-0 The blue touch paper had been lit and the game really opened up,and our guests must have thought it was game,set and match,when as the dust cleared on an innocuous tangle in the Royals area it dawned on everyone that the referee had awarded a penalty. Up stepped Halil,but his low strike was parried by the keeper.Darren was first to the loose ball,yet somehow the ball was scrambled to safety.On such moments football matches turn and this was no exception.Within two minutes we  conceded a harshly awarded free kick just outside our area and a perfect strike saw our advantage reduced..2-1.
Blackmore sensed blood and piled on the pressure and when Doodesy,on one of his trade-mark excursions out of the box,was punished for what appeared to be a fair challenge,they took full advantage.An inswinging finding the net via what appeared to be an offside head...2-2.Worse followed when the visitors went ahead from a breakaway goal for 2-3.At this point our heads could have dropped,but unlike we had during "the abysmals" we dug in and found a way back into the game.T found himself in space in the inside right channel,Anthony Furlonges overlap drew a defender allowing T to step inside and his left footed strike was nodded into his OWN GOAL by a Royals defender..3-3.The pendulum had swung back in our favour and even better was to come.Gary feeding Halil on the left who in turn cleverly found the Dazzler,who raced away down the left wing.The Royals were mere spectators as his pinpoint low cross was met by TAJU and the ball was in the back of the net..4-3..That would have knocked the stuffing out of many teams but credit to Blackmore they didn't cave in and got their reward when,following a corner we failed to clear out properly and a returned cross was scrambled in at the far post.
4-4.. With 8-10 minutes remaining there was still time for ourselves and our visitors to carve out good opportunities but both defences held out.
Full Time:HALE END ATHLETIC 4
                BLACKMORE ROYALS 4
Well,I don't think anyone saw that second-half coming, but on reflection a draw was a fair outcome. This Blackmore side are certainly not the team that's been bothering the lower end of the division for most of the season. They had quality all over the park and while its disappointing to score four and not win I doubt any observer would deny them their share today. From our point of view it wasn't quite the backlash we were hoping for on the back of "the abysmals",but defeats for our nearest rivals gives us an advantage on the day.
Man of the match:
Team:Gary Doodes, Trevor Burton, Sean Windeatt, Martyn Tribe, Roger Gayle, Paul Obinkwo, Darren Foss, Halil Hassan, Suhail Butt, Anthony Furlonge, Martin Treadway, Kevin Whitworth, Paul Laughey, Taju Oyedeji, Billy Howard.

Man of the match - Suhail Butt
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