West Wight FC 2 v 4 Sandown FC – Division One
Sat 24 August 2019
Score 1 – 2
The first team visited Watcombe Bottom yesterday for their third game of the 2019/20 league campaign on a day with extreme heat and no breeze. The conditions were not conducive to a quick game; however, we knew that whatever happened, we were in for a tougher match than when we met them in pre -season.
A couple of changes were made, Pete Thomas stepped in and donned his brand new Hugo Loris gloves on the morning for Andy Payne who had to work, and with Josh Field unavailable on Tuesday due to work, Alex Breingan got his first start to get some important match time ahead of the Brading clash with Josh starting on the subs bench., however, if any day was made for the new roll on roll off subs rule, this was going to be it. We set up 4-3-3
The game started well, and as suspected Ventnor were a different side than pre-season, better players available and we knew we were in for a battle. Within 3 minutes we were through on goal with the ball at Alex’s feet, however his shot ended up in the keeper’s arms. We continued to pressure their back 3 and seemed to be working well as a team. The top 3 of Jake Lester, Ben Field and Alex Breingan were putting a shift in but we knew in this heat it could not be kept up for 90 minutes.
With a continued battering of the Ventnor back line and a good shape across the pitch buy the whole team, Ben Field made a great run down the right, beat a couple of players and crossed, allowing Jake Lester the chance to beat a static centre back to the ball. 1 – 0.
On 25 minutes Jake came off and Josh came on and we continued to play some good football.
At half time with the score at 1-0 we knew we needed the second goal as Ventnor always looked like they could battle out a goal. That said, even in the heat, we looked the fitter side. Dean Johnson came on and Butch came off for a well-deserved rest. Because of the heat and the levels of energy spent in the first half we changed formation to 4-4-2 and tried to bolster up the midfield.
The second half started and we continued to play some good football. The 4-4-2 settled the team and gave the midfield guys some support, and on 60 minutes after some good pressure and a good run on the left by Josh Field, Dean slotted home to make it 2-0.
Ventnor now started to tire and gaps started to appear, and generally we started to find them, we just could not finish. Across the 90 minuets we have chance after chance, but the finishing was not to be. Ventnor were tiring and it was pleasing to see that although hot, we continued to battle and try and play football. On 65 minutes, Lewis Wade was the subject of a bad knee-high tackle which saw the Ventnor player see a straight red, Ventnor down to 10 men.
10 men is always dangerous, and it seemed to give Ventnor a new lease of life and they started to battle a but harder, then on 75 minutes a Ventnor player hit a 50 yard lob high in the air and we all watched in slow motion as the ball went sailing over Pete’s head to make it 2-1. It is worth saying that Pete was not at fault because he was doing what he had been asked to do and sweep the edge of the box, and it was just one of those hit and hope goals.
Ventnor now started to believe and put pressure on us, but some great defending by the back 4 of Blow, Iley, Spragg, Brad (Regan played first half) kept them out.
The final whistle was welcomed and the final score was 1-2.
We are striving to improve as individuals and as a squad, and already we can see that the fitness is playing a key part. We said to the lads at half time that in some games we have to win ugly because of differing factors, today was a day to win ugly and the lads did that and should be praised for their efforts in difficult conditions. Thanks to our travelling supporters of Bob, Charlie, Sam and Alice.
3 games, 6 points, 6th in the league. A good start and on Tuesday we go to the League leaders Brading Town 730 KO. We have
nothing to lose and everything to win.
Dale Watkins (C)