League Sunday 7th Sept 2014  Ryan FC 3-2 Buckhurst Hill FC

After a mixed pre-season interspersed with holidays to many points on the Globe Hill began the defence of the title they worked so hard for last Season. Concerns were noted relating to fitness but that is what it is concerns only. At 14 fitness is generally good however being “Sharp” is another question to address.#

Hill were entertained by a very Big and Strong Ryan at Wadham Lodge on the unfamiliar surface of “4g”. The writer not being a fan and likening it to going skiing on a slope in Milton Keynes (Ok to practice on but just not quite the same as being on the piste) felt that this fixture would prove to be tricky, and so it proved.

 Hill set out to contain the strong midfield of their opponents electing for a 4-5-1 and started brightly with some neat interchanges but it was evident early on that to push their opponents back the ball needed to be retained further up the pitch and it was the lack of options that led to Ryan intercepting a pass in Hill’s half and sending a Direct ball immediately to their pacy forward who clipped a shot onto Barrett(H) heels that wrong footed Barrett(S) in goal and gently nestled into the far corner. Three minutes gone and a goal down…..now that’s not cricket!!

 Out we came and began passing and retaining the ball and generally getting a foothold in the game but still not troubling the keeper or back line. Credit where credit is due but the next piece of action saw the writer witness one of the best 60 yard cross field passes from the Ryan Right Midfield. It had pace, accuracy, the right trajectory and arrowed inside the back four allowing the left midfield to collect first time and in stride in the Penalty Box. He finished calmly and into the corner. Fantastic play and a cool finish. Fifteen minutes and 2-0 down. The new Coaching Twins of Dacks and Kingy began to perspire and not because of their shiny new tracksuits.

(Incidentally guys you looked the part. Which part that is I reserve judgment for now…)

 Calmness is a key asset and the boys displayed this more than their Peers and Supporters and although unaccustomed to being down by 2 never reverted to panic and continued to play swift an accurate football. The game again moved in possession at least back in their favour. Redhead and Bolton had the Lone ranger job shared up front and worked tirelessly for the cause. A corner was gained and the box became packed. Brookes sent over an Exocet and Redhead rose at the far post to nod home. Twenty Five played and 2-1. Game on…..or so we thought!!

 Good sides never roll over and Ryan came back at us forcing their way forward with their direct and accurate game plan. A corner was earned and at this point Coach Johnson could see it all. Marking is a skill and we switched off…Decent ball delivered and the Centre Forward rose well but unmarked and unchallenged in the 6 yard box powered a header home. 30 minutes played 3-1. That hurt!!

Half Time saw changes in personnel and eventually formation to a “chase the game” 3-4-3. Jethva came on and had a debut of power and panache at the back. His promotion from the Echo ranks appears complete and gave Hill a Platform to play further up the park. At this juncture I would love to report that we overwhelmed our opponents and rammed in a hatful but we are talking EJA at its best and try as we might the drawbridge remained shut.

 

It was a another set piece that raised the hopes. Dackombe  at his “Impish” best skipped round two but was dragged to the floor on the right touch line. Brookes was despatched to deliver a further whipped in cross with the trusty left peg. Redhead was advised in no uncertain terms not to get dragged into mire formally known as the six yard box. The delivery was Good, too good in fact as it evaded heads, knees and a Boomps a daisy to hurtle towards the back stick where at full stretch it was met by the Redhead “Head”. The boy listened well. Ten minutes to go and 3-2….

 Hill when viewed on the sky possession meter ranked in my opinion at 80% in Ryan’s defensive half, Shots were blocked and tackles were made. Ryan wanted the scalp of last year’s Champs and despite tired legs they fought magnificently. The end was nigh and with the writer’s memory reaching back to days of It’s A Knockout and a certain excitable presenter (now censored) we saw bodies, boots, headers and finally keepers glove’s stop the charge of ball over line……Final Score 3-2.

 A very good game with goals, endeavour, near misses and tremendous heart. A real good advert for Junior Football.