League Cup 1st Round
Team: Benjamin Streeton, Oliver Trembecki (C) Harrison Thompson, Joseph Kearsley, Robert Murray (C), Jake Morrisey, Adam Van Zolen, Sam Bayliss, Cameron Duff,
Subs: Jack Sutton and Joe Halton
Although the underdogs going into the game, Higham play in the 1st division whilst we are in the 2nd, expectations were high as we’ve played some good football for a while now so whilst a close game was expected we were focused on the win and journeying through to the next round. Ollie was captain for the day following his recent run of good form and we switched tactics to 2 DM’s in Jake and Adam to help contain and control the game from the central midfield spot. The lineup meant we looked solid at the back, with Bob and Sam looking to do damage out wide across the left and right of midfield and Cam’s quality to hold the ball up front. This was going to be a day of hard work from the wide men but with energy and quality of Jack and Joe ready to step in we looked very good on paper.
The opening 10 minutes certainly were close, as we held our own and opened up two clear chances that could and should have seen us take a healthy lead but it wasn’t to be thanks to a wonder save from their keeper. This raised the oppositions spirits and they took hold of the game for a brief but devastating 20-minute period.
Two corners saw us dominated in the air leading to a 2-0 Higham advantage from unchallenged headers.
Suddenly we were second to every ball, tackling with toes, hesitating, waiting for a bounce and standing off. A blatant handball gave the ref an easy decision and the awarded penalty was tucked away.
Kirk shuffled the deck and Bob came off for Joe, Adam also came off for Jack. The half ended with a solid strike from Higham and we went into the break 4-0 down.
Kirk pulled no punches and told the lads how it is, where we were going wrong and looked for individuals to pick themselves up and get themselves back in the game. This is our first competitive season and every game matters and this was an important lesson for the players who have been used to simply playing without any real consideration for the actual result. Ollie, who was one that had actually played well and had really worked hard took a rest and Bob came back into the game at RB taking the arm band. Adam too returned to the game for Cam, Jack now pushing up front.
With the manager’s words echoing in their ears, the lads upped the vocals, starting battling back, got their tackles in and played as they should have in the first half – Higham actually nabbed another goal against the run of play but it didn’t deter the guys and they poured the pressure on, three chances went so close before two goals found the back of the net. There was a real swing to the game as EB applied pressure and did themselves proud.
However, it wasn’t be and a quick counter towards the end of the game finished in an own goal for Bob who could do nothing to prevent a certain goal regardless. So the second half ended 2-2, leaving EB to rue that 20 minute first half period that cost them the game 6-2.
Fair play to Higham, who are certainly a good team and deserved the win today – you have to admire a side that applies themselves so well – but we didn’t do ourselves justice at all in that first half and the overall feeling is of frustration with a real opportunity to do something in this cup gone for this year.
To take the positives out of the game – Jack and Joe made a real impact either could have been MoM and the second half performance showed that we are able to hold our own against any team.
We achieve when we have belief and application and the lads learned that lesson today.
Result: Higham Town 6 – 2 Earls Barton
Scorers: Jack Sutton and Joe Halton
Man of the Match: Joe Halton