Scorers: Miguel Catalan (2)
Lineup: Tim Finch, Tom Hunt, Aaron Thaxter (c), Tom Agnew, Ciaran Kelly, Steve Gaskell, Sam Wakely, Kevin Thaxter, Shaun Clarke, Miguel Catalan, Maged Sfar
Subs: Tom Noble, Svetozar Popov, Andy Lindley
A pleasant, autumnal day dawned. The early morning saw a crisp blue sky with fluffy white clouds and a slight breeze. A certain freshness in the air but nonetheless, perfect conditions for football.
The squad selected saw the absence of all this seasons goal scorers except Catalan with Cole and McNie unavailable and Hall lacking fitness (and quality). From the squad selected and the variety of attacking options, it was clear that Finch and Thaxter were determined to get three points after the controversial defeat to The Lectern last week.
As kick off approached, the breeze had picked up slightly but did little to stifle the 19 degree heat of the autumn sun. Without Bantock, there was a calm feel about the team and very little swearing.
The appointed referee did not show so Hangleton asked one of their non-players to stand in. With “home” referees in these situations, it can be an extremely difficult game or the visitors, however, to his dues; he did a better job than some of the qualified referees we have seen.
The View lined up in their away strip of Sunburnt Orange against Hangleton’s home kit of maroon. The game kicked off promptly at 14:00 and saw an early spell of possession for the home team. Two early crosses were well defended and a free kick on four minutes was fumbled by Finch and went behind. Hangleton were unable to capitalise on the resulting corner with a strong clearance from Hunt.
On six minutes, Gaskell picked the ball up just inside his own half and, after a strong run, fed the ball through to Catalan who slotted home his fifth of the season in the bottom left corner. 1-0 to The View. A good counter attack from The View somewhat against the run of play given the early possession by Hangleton.
Hangleton responded positively and a half chance was easily saved by Finch who released Clarke down the left wing. Nimble footwork, good pace and strength and pinpoint cross to K.Thaxter saw the score stay 1-0. A good chance to double the lead but the header sailed over the bar.
Another strong run from Gaskell saw a 20 yard left foot strike saved well by the keeper to his left. The View were starting to get into the game after a slow 10 minutes and flick from Kelly saw K.Thaxter wil space to show his pace. The resulting cross landed on the head of Gaskell who powered over the bar by inches. The move deserved a goal – unlucky!
The View were now holding the ball well and making regular forays forward. A terrific run from K.Thaxter to the by-line saw his pull back lashed goalwards by Sfar only to be headed inches wide by their centre half. So close to an own goal. The resulting corner was well cleared and the counter attack saw a long range shot from Hangleton sail harmlessly past Finch’s right post.
With Catalan wanting more of the ball, he came deeper to pick it up and following one of his trademark runs which left four defenders looking at each other he slipped the ball to K.Thaxter on the edge of the box and his shot missed the right hand post by inches.
On twenty minutes, their linesman was still arguing with th Hangleton manager about an offside decision from five minutes ago whilst Sfar used his trickery to work into the box and earn a corner from a good tackle. The corner was played short to Kelly on the right hand side of the box who shot over.
The View appeared comfortable now with Hangleton’s attacks being reduced to long range efforts and an excellent free kick from Wakely saw the ball zip to the back post but there were no orange shirts attacking it. On twenty four minutes, the inevitable happened and Sfar, used good strength and feet to feed Catalan who spun to his right and shot, right footed, across the keeper into the bottom left corner. 2-0 The View.
Wakely won the ball back from the resulting kick off and held off two defenders to fire a shot from 25 yards into the keepers arms. A long kick upfield from the keeper saw the ball clear the everyone and Hunt, with their striker breathing down his neck, tried to head it back to Finch who had already sprinted off his line to clear. The resulting header bounced of Finch’s outstretched arm and all three players ended up on the deck. Hangleton’s striker reacted quickest and slotted the ball into the empty net – 2-1. Finch would be doubly disappointed at conceding this goal as an under the table deal had been made between him and Caldercourt. The Sunday Keeper agreeing to pay Finch’s signing on fees if he kept a clean sheet in the games before he moves to Japan for the winter!
Hangleton had regained their confidence after getting a goal back and, rather uncharacteristically, the back three looked rather shaky, Hunt missing an easy header allowing their striker through but A.Thaxter put in a good last ditch tackle.
Half an hour gone and Gaskell doggedly won the ball again in the middle of the park and sparkled into the inside left channel, fizzing a superb cross along the six yard line but again, no orange shirts in the box to take advantage of it.
The resulting counter attack saw a good cross from the Hangleton right winger but a poor shot from the striker which was easily gathered by Finch. A clumsy challenge from A.Thaxter saw a freekick conceded on the edge of the box however the wall did its job and Kelly picked up the loose ball, fed K.Thaxter who, with a pass through the eye of a needle, found Catalan on the edge of the box. Quick feet, a little dummy and a left footed drive was well wide.
Another corner won by Sfar but it was wasted and Hangleton broke quickly with four on two, The View were outnumbered but the final pass was not good enough and A.Thaxter was able to clear.
Forty minutes played and a good run and cross from Clarke saw K.Thaxter unmarked at the back post. It seemed harder to miss, but he did. The ball at that awkward height between trying to volley and head it when all it needed was for him to walk into it. Easy to say from the side of the pitch!
As the half drew to a close, the game stretched with both teams resorting long shots, Gaskell forced a good save from their keeper with a strong half volley from the edge of the box.
Half time - Hangleton Athletic 1 – 2 The View
The second half was a cagier affair, both teams seemed slow out of the blocks with Finch easily saving a couple of long range efforts and K.Thaxter, unmarked, headed wide from another good cross from Clarke.
On fifty five minutes, another good run from Sfar and a good ball into the inside right channel found K.Thaxter who fired a left footed drive straight into orbit. It was clear from the sidelines that frustration had started to creep in however it remained positive vocally which was a welcome change.
Fifty eight minutes and K.Thaxter picked up a loose ball and danced past two before delivering a sublime cross which Catalan sliced horribly with his left foot but somehow resulted in a corner. The resulting set piece saw a good delivery from Catalan and header from Hunt so high, the sniffer dogs were out looking for the drugs!
Another attack, another good cross and K.Thaxter got the ball caught between his feet and fell over. Pounding the ground in frustration, this was clearly one of those days for him.
Sfar showed good strength and dinked a cheeky ball over to Catalan who rounded the keeper only to have his shot cleared off the line.
On 62 minutes, Popov replaced Agnew with Ciaran dropping into defence.
An excellent run from them saw The View midfield part like sea in front of Moses. And a curling, dipping shot saw a top quality save from Finch deny them the lead. The ensuing corner saw a free header belted off the line by Wakely.
Twenty five minutes into the second half and The View seemed to have switched off, simple passes going astray, formation unorthodox at best. An excellent double block from A.Thaxter and Hunt after another all too easy attack from Hangleton.
On seventy six minutes, a rather sloppy defence allowed their quick striker through on goal and although his shot was saved, the rebound was put in but ruled out for offside. Despite Hangleton’s protestations, Lindley calmly advised the referee that had the initial shot gone in he wouldn’t have flagged. The good thing was that this seemed to wake everyone up. Sfar was brought off and Noble on. Clarke pushed up top and Noble took the left wing.
It was clear that everyone was tiring, both sides guilty of giving the ball away cheaply but The View were determined not to concede a third and dug in deep to battle and chase everything.
On eighty minutes, Catalan bamboozled four defenders and had an easy pass to Popov, unmarked on the edge of the box, which he ignored and his shot went wide. K.Thaxter was substituted with Lindley on to help hold the ball up top.
Subsequent attacks had little pace in from both teams; clearly the heat had worn out both sides.
Ninety first minute and a long ball upfield from A.Thaxter, flicked on by Clarke’s right nipple to Catalan who fired over in what would be the last chance for The View.
From the goal kick, the ball bounced and Hunt clearly held their striker back. A free kick was given and Hunt was probably lucky it wasn’t a real referee as there was an argument he was the last man. The free kick came to nothing and the goal kick signalled the end of the game.
Final Score - Hangleton Athletic 2 – 2 The View
A well battled draw which was probably a fair result in the end however we should have put the game to bed in the first half. On another day this game would have been a 10-0 victory, three players would have had hatricks and Bantock would have been sent off.
Next week sees The View in their first home game of the season against George and the Dragon in the Charity Cup. A tough game to be sure!
Match Report: Mark Hall (still scored more than Kev).
Finch - 7 – Good distribution, slightly at fault for the first goal but handled all long shots with ease and pulled off a fine save in the second half.
Hunt - 7 – Defended well when needed, also slightly at fault for the first goal but otherwise his usual dependable self.
A. Thaxter - 7 – Finished the first half well and made some important challenges, particular at the end of the first half.
Kelly - 8 – Listened well to the coaching from Lindley on the sidelines and ran himself into the ground.
Wakely - 7 – Good strong holding midfield display. Passed well and broke the play up. Marshalled the midfield well.
Gaskell - 8 – Never stopped running. Some brilliant penetrative runs. An assured and solid display. Unlucky not to score the header.
K.Thaxter - 7 – Playing in the centre of the park instead of out wide, missed several good chances and got frustrated towards to the end. However, the encouragement, running and effort was exemplary.
Clarke - 7 – Good running throughout in a position that is not his natural one. Strong on the ball and some good skills
Sfar - 7 – Good feet, good strength and looks as sharp he did all last season.
Catalan - 8 – Two well taken goals although could have had a couple more. Still – six goals in three games is not to be sniffed at.
Popov - 6 – Made some good runs but didn’t see enough of the ball. Some good half chances which nearly got us the points.
Noble - 5 – Difficult game to come into late on and did what he had to do but did not have the time to shineLindley - 5 – As with Noble, maybe a little too late to make a big impact. Held the ball well and relieved the pressure of the back three for the last few minutes.
Sam W 3
Steve G 1