Brading Town FC 3 v 2 Sandown FC – Division One
Tues 27 August 2020
Last night the first team travelled to Brading to play their 3rd match in 7 days.
Brading were sitting on top of Division 1 undefeated and having seen them play last week we knew they would be formidable opponents, turning play over quickly and dominating from their play makers of Harris Payne and Matty Oakley.
The team talk was pretty easy, work hard, don’t let them rest, press and stop them playing. Brading stated the stronger and were knocking the ball around quite easily, and although we didn’t look under pressure our possession was minimal. That said, from about minute 10 we started to get the confidence and the midfield 4 started to push on, pressing their play makers and not letting them rest on the ball. After 20 minutes I felt we were starting to get on top, pushing them back into their own half and not giving them time on the ball.
The game was end to end and although Brading turned us over many times we never looked under pressure. They cam close on a couple of occasion, but having said that we had our chances as well. On 23 minutes after a mix up in our box we gifted them a cheap goal, one that we all know shouldn’t have gone in. However, we were one nil down and we had said in the dressing room if this happened stay focused, don’t panic, don’t start defending, keep pressing, we will not change our game plan. The lads did this and continued to pile the pressure on and on 35 minutes it paid off after Ben Field was played in by a great ball from Chris Blow on the right. Ben took on their centre half and delivered a far post cross to Jake who from about 15 yards out struck a perfect left foot shot high into the Brading net.
It stayed 1-1 until half time, and I think they were more pleased to hear the referees whilst than us. The chat in the dressing room was positive and players were on bussing for the second half.
We were now kicking down hill and the brief was to keep doing what we had done the first 45 minutes. Don’t let them play, keep pressing and if under pressure, frustrate them by clearing our lines deep into their half. We started the second half as we had left the first, and continued on our game plan. Brading again started the second half better than us and retained the ball quite well, but we had dropped slightly and were allowing them to come onto us. That said, we knew where what we had to do, so we pushed up and again the pressure was back on them.
It really was an end to end game, and we all said on the bench that fitness was going to play a key role in the end result. We continued to press and in the 70th minute we got our reward with an award of a penalty, which Brading were not happy with. However, after delaying tactics had ceased, ben Field stepped up and blasted the ball high into the net. 2 -1 to Sandown and in my opinion deserved.
This was now going to be a test of character. The referee was now constantly under pressure from the Brading payers, Bench and crowd and started to give some really dubious decisions, fouls that should have gone to us but went to Brading, all when we were in the final third.
We now had 10 minutes left and again we pressed. The ball was played into the feet of Dean Johnson who had come on for Jake Lester, and after tussling with the Brading Centre Backs was wrestled to the ground. The whistle went, and in amazement we saw the referee give the free kick to Brading. The quick free kick was taken and played down their right. Brad did really well in getting back and when the ball was crossed the ball hit Brads arm. Penalty kick was the decision. We could not see if it had hit his arm or not, but the annoying thing for me was this had come from a free kick that should have been ours. The penalty was well taken. 2 -2
8 Minutes to go this was wither going to be a draw or someone would nick the winner. We continued to play our game and press with attacking football. With 5 minutes left we switched off for the first time in the game. We looked out of shape, which we hadn’t done for the to previous 85 minutes. Brading turned us over, pressed quick and after a messy encounter in our box tapped the ball over the line to take the lead. Another gifted goal.
We spent the final 5 minutes putting everything to get a draw but it was not to be. Final score 3-2
This was without doubt the best 90 minute we have had this season. Every player deserves credit for the way they played, conducted themselves and put a shift in for 90 minutes. We cannot fault anyone and each and everyone one should hold their heads up high.
I must have had over 10 Brading players / management come to me after the game and say we deserved something out of the game and supporters in the bar afterwards commented that we were the best team they had seen Brading play this season, a credit to all of you. But the biggest compliment by far for Bleachy and myself last night was from our player who for 90 minutes did what they were asked to do, battled and never stopped running. You were a credit to the club and yourselves last night, well done.
We are starting to gel as a squad, people are settling into their positions and we are finding the formations that work for us.
Finally, you know I don’t do man of the Match, and this game should not be dedicated to one player, however we have to mention young Regan Clifford, 18 years old in his first season in Division One, playing Centre back against Dan Vale and Aaron Burford he held his own and quite frankly took them out to the game (with some great support from Healy, the only player ever to get sunburn under lights). A great performance by him, a class performance by the team, a good day for SFC.