Erdington and Saltley grind out vital point!

Saturday 17th November 2012 @ Braemar Road

Erdington and Saltley 2 – 2 Harborne

Scorers – Jayden Ward, Callum Brown

You’ll struggle to find any football manager in the whole universe who would admit to being happy after watching his side concede a two goal lead, but that is exactly what I am right now! Life is full of ‘ifs, buts and maybes’. If only we had cleared that free kick. But it wasn’t a free kick in the first place. Maybe we could have scored a third. However, I genuinely have no complaints about today’s performance! After all, not only did we have six key players absent, but we also had a mere three lads playing in what they would consider their natural and best position. Right wingers playing at left back. Strikers in defence. Defenders on the wing. A midfield five made up of two attackers. The list is endless. Throw into the mix a goalkeeper who has never played 11-a-side for the district and you’ve got a potent mix of possible problems. This is no normal team though. This is The Ton and The Ton are made of stronger stuff than that!

All the talk before the game had been about remaining focused for the whole game and contributing 100% during the 50 minutes. With these words still ringing in their ears, The Ton got off to a flyer after Jayden played a ball into the box for the onrushing Callum to latch onto, after the rapid striker cut in from his right midfield starting position. Cool as a cucumber, Callum slotted the ball away to rapturous applause.

Despite the obvious excitement, Erdington and Saltley regained their composure and went on the attack once again. Karter was causing problems for the Harborne defenders using his strength to hold the ball up for the advancing midfielders. However, on this occasion the goal arrived after the target man ran onto a through ball before being brought down by the unfortunate Harborne defender. There was certainly no malice in the challenge but it was still a penalty nonetheless. Captain Jayden stepped up to take responsibility and calmly placed the ball to the right of the keeper to make it 2 – 0 to The Ton.

We knew only too well that Harborne had a comeback in them, after they came from behind against Aston earlier in the season. So it came as no surprise when they pulled a goal back before the break. The nature of the goal left a sour taste in the mouths of the Erdington and Saltley players after they failed to clear an innocuous floated cross. Letting the ball bounce twice between no less than five black and white shirts, The Ton could only stand and watch in disbelief as the ball rolled over the line. Regardless of the sloppy defending, you would have to be exceptionally biased to deny that Harborne deserved a bit of luck, after controlling large parts of the first half.

During half time all of the lads were determined to add to their lead and there was no talk of simply defending what they already had. The second period was one of contrasting periods of play for The Ton. At times the Erdington and Saltley lads had their backs against the walls, repelling the Harborne onslaught that came their way. At other times, they sought to catch their opponents on the break via the pace of Callum, who now found himself up front. This game plan almost worked, only for Harborne to clear an almost certain goal off the line, just as the courageous Sam had done for Erdington and Saltley during the first 25 minutes. In the end Harborne snatched a deserved point from the game.

Regardless of the fact that we let a two goal lead slip through our hands, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Things to be happy about:

  1. We never conceded a late goal! That always has to be a positive when you follow The Ton!
  2. Many players were asked to play in unnatural positions and they did so with gusto and composure.
  3. Sahib and Michael, as well as Josh S and Jayden formed great partnerships through the heart of the field.
  4. The effort from every player was immense – as optimised by Sam’s clearance from under his own bar!
  5. This result proved that there is depth to our squad.
  6. The mature, composed display of many players, including William on the left of midfield and Darrelle at left back.

Things we can improve at:

  1. Clearing corners and freekicks at the first time of asking.

Well done lads, I couldn’t be prouder of you all. You’ve grown into a fine team over the past two months and there is no reason why you can’t go on to reach even greater heights. Harborne are a classy outfit and they will win more games than they lose during the season and a point should not be dismissed.

Team: Connor, Sahib, Michael, Sam, Darrelle, William, Callum, Josh, Ethan, Jayden, Karter (Zane)

Ref’s M.O.M – Sam

Roll on next week!

Up The Ton!

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