Crane Sports

Crane Sports

After a week’s rest it was big game time with a Bob Coleman Cup semi-final against old rivals Achilles at a very windswept Greshams. The conditions were obviously the same for both sides and it would depend on which team adapted to the gusting swirly wind best and it was evident that our boys were up for it from the off in a bid to retain the trophy we won last season.
In front of a large crowd we came out of the traps at a high tempo, but it was Achilles who nearly opened the scoring after 10 minutes when Field smashed shot against our crossbar and then they had a goal disallowed for a push which was well spotted by lino Mr Eley.
As with all our games with Achilles the tackles were hard and fair by both sides with one or two perhaps going just over the limit but that’s what makes these encounters so enthralling. However some Achilles players were constantly trying to get in the refs ear when perhaps they should have been more committed to the game and their colleagues. We took the lead on 15 minutes with a cool finish from Nathan Woolard who ghosted into the box and slid home after Teon Leggett broke through the visitors defence. Not satisfied with that we then scored again when Danny Thrower slid a perfect ball through for that man Woolard and again he finished brilliantly to put us into the ascendency. James Blades was having a terrific game up top and Achilles defence just couldn’t handle the robust style which makes him a such a handful when he is on his game and he set up our third goal just before the break as he latched onto Mark Roper’s perfect through ball, muscled his way past David Grimwood and when his shot rebounded, Mo Fike was on hand to make it 3-0 at the break.
Now it has to be said that we did have the advantage of playing with the wind behind us in the first period but none of the goals we scored were wind assisted and came from excellent football played on the deck, as we clinically exploited the gaps in the Achilles defence. However we knew that the second half was going to be a different ball game and for sure Achilles management were going to rev up their lads for an onslaught….. but it never really happened, as their tactics seemed to be play long balls up field the from their keeper. Our defence and midfield coped with this as we changed to sit deeper and played more on the break. Mark Roper and Mark Van Oene were solid at the heart of our defence and with Incey and Rands covering when necessary we dealt pretty easily with Achilles throughout the second half.
Achilles as they do, did create a couple of chances but Jack Foster saved well and midway through the half we scored a fine goal on the break when Danny Thrower finished following some great defending by Yarpy and another fine run from Bladesy to put us 4-0 up and game over.
So we now face a final on the 17th April against Henley who defeated Cops in the other semi-final and this promises to be an excellent game between two very evenly matched squads.
Achilles were not their normal selves on the day and as we know all clubs have their off days. They seemed too preoccupied with arguing with the officials on a day where they needed to be at their best. Whenever we play them we know that unless 100% is given by every team member they will take the honours as they have some great talent in their ranks but on Saturday some of their lads didn’t perform to their best and we took full advantage. They still have a great deal to play for and in my opinion are still in pole position to lift the title with their games in hand, despite the fact that we remain top of the division at the moment. We will see....
For us James Blades was immense. Full of running, power, aggression and directness. In the second half against the wind we needed a front man to retain possession and he did that perfectly. He showed that he is more than just a goalscorer and gave a man of the match performance for the team. Nathan Woolard scored two fine goals on his 30th birthday and once again linked up very well with DT. All of the lads deserved credit as they worked tirelessly from start to finish in difficult conditions and it was a very happy clubhouse afterwards.
Finally credit to our management team as they got the tactics on the day spot on. TJ, Rads and Damo deserve bags of credit for that and they were rightly delighted at the final whistle for a fine days work.
Next week Leiston St Margarets at home.

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Posted: Tuesday, March 12 2019 by Andy Pearce

The views expressed in club/league notes are not necessarily those of Archant Suffolk

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