EJA  CUP 1st ROUND  BUCKHURST HILL u14  0 -V-  TILBURY u14  1

Both sides taking a break from league action go into today's game with Hill winning their last two games and Tilbury picking up their first point of the campaign in the Essex Division last week.

Before a ball was kicked there was an omen for the superstitious when the lights in the changing room came crashing down.....and  It seems when the light went out in the changing room the boys forgot to turn it back on when the game kicked off.!!! The first five minutes we started sluggish, were second to the ball,had sloppy passing and were hitting long hopeful balls forward. Mixed in with not being strong enough in the tackle. This was the pattern set for most of the match with small glimpses of football! Much against the run of play Hill take advantage of a mix up in the Tilbury midfield when Redhead breaks away and plays a through ball for Dackombe who pulls his shot wide. On 18 minutes Redhead finds himself away on goal and clear of the back four, the Tilbury defender (17) shows exceptional pace and gets back to close him down before he can pull the trigger and clears the danger. This again was to be the pattern of the game and the sooner the boys learn that the long ball over the top whilst working well in previous years is no longer the only route to go. We have to keep possession and work the ball, when a side have a bear eleven the way to tire them out is not play into their hands and hit everything first time long which after seeing the pace of the defender (17) will play straight into their hands. The gaffer and coach are blue in the face asking for us to keep possession and until we do that we will struggle to win matches. Tilbury are starting to dominate the game and are pushing down the Hill left. They play a neat interchange and the winger gets away sending a powerful low drive across goal which only needs the slightest of touches to find the net but Proctor does brilliantly getting back to take it off the toe of the forward three yards out at our back post. That should have been a warning sign as two minutes later they again break down the left which sees the ball at our near post and a mix up in the Hill back four, with no one taking responsibility for clearing the ball the centre forward has an easy job of heading into an empty net. 0-1

Hill are now on the back foot as Tilbury push forward, the centre forward (10) who had  great game upfront hits one from the edge of the box which S Barrett parries and h Barrett who was  Hills best player today clears with the help of the crossbar off the line! The away side again break quickly down the left and Jessop who had he's hands full all game with the excellent (10) accidentally trips the winger and from the resulting free kick the ball goes narrowly wide. This time Tilbury come down the right with the winger showing good footwork cuts inside and hits a powerful shot which would have found the bottom corner but S Barrett gets down well to push it around the post. Just a minute before halftime Hill show the only bit of football they put together in the first half. Emmerson picks it  down the left and keeps possession feeding Grace who moves the ball across field where we play some quick short one two's with a cross coming in from  H Barrett which the home side just fail to finish off.

Halftime 0-1 we have been out played, out passed,out thought and out muscled. This was the general view taken from several of the watching parents. Not a happy touch line!!!

The second half starts much like the first but the gaffer may have used the "hair dryer" as there are signs that we want to turn up today. The gaffer also uses the squad to freshen up the team and a few replacements are implemented. Brookes on the halfway line shows good feet and puts Redhead away but yet again the 17 has to much pace for him and clears the danger. Tilbury have a lack of concentration at the back and the ball falls to Grace on the edge of the box who bears down on goal and with only the keeper to beat but doesn't connect with the shot and it bounces wide. King on at left back is looking to play football and slides it in to Bolton's feet who in turn finds Grace, his shot goes narrowly wide. King out on the left shows good feet cutting in and again plays good football with a cross field ball to Proctor that sees him in on goal only for the keeper to parry the shot away at the near post. Hill push forward in numbers in the last 10 minutes but a little bit of composure and cutting edge in front of goal is missing today. We have to learn that just running with the ball and first time long balls will not always work and we need to see another side to our game.

The gaffer had a long inquest in the middle of the pitch afterwards and by the look of the boys faces I guess they know he was not happy. We now need to learn from this and put the performance behind us and move on to a tough cup match away to Prostar who will be looking for revenge after losing to us in the semi final of the cup last year. They will be 'up' for it and I'm sure the boys will be too!!

Don't forget to turn the lights on....