An epic win away against Abingdon 1s on a very early start on Saturday at the very noisy Tilsey Park, which backs onto the busy A34 and makes communication at the back almost impossible. Abingdon are just below us in the league and having duffed us up a few weeks ago in a winter-break friendly, we fully expected a hard fought game and so it proved. A 9.15 meet was met with various responses; Atkins in goal rolled up for his usual ‘get the motor started’ warm up at 9am, closely followed by Rodders who’d cycled all the way from Oxford! Laurie Cooke in contrast didn’t get enough sleep that night and had obviously slept in the back of his dad’s car to the venue and could barely open his eyes to start with. It was a very even affair in the first half with chances for both sides, Jules just missing a diving effort at the far post and Neil banging a short just wide, while Abingdon forced a few short corners, dealt with well by the Hawks defence. Abingdon probably shaded it in the first half, but curiously for a home side in an even game, preferred to play a defensive half court press and try and hit us the break. (Having said that, it wasn’t a bad ploy as we’ve been undone by that approach by other teams this season)
Man of the match Charlie Plumptre caused problems throughout the game and into the second half we certainly looked more dangerous and forced a succession of corners, one of which Laurie drag-flicked expertly high right into the top corner. 0-1 to Hawks. Abingdon got more frantic as the game wore on and as opposing inside left Will Trigg got more irate, we became more composed. Tom and Jonny at the back played excellently at the back, supported with assurance by Dave C, Rodders and Will Cairns. It was pleasing to see us pass the ball out of the back without resorting to lamping it aimlessly up the field and although the home team pressed, we were not to be breached (for the second year running at their place, actually). First clean sheet of the season too – well spotted Laurie!