Last week's hissy fit from the High Sheriff was put to one side as we regrouped as a new compact squad on a fantastic sunny afternoon at Woodgreen. Positivity was the order of the day especially with new squad member Ashley Sutcliffe welcomed to the band of merry (mainly old) men. A transfer from Abingdon 2's (did they have a 2nd XI?) with promise of midfield agility on newly repaired knee. Facing Hawks were some familiar faces including Easterbrook snr and jnr with fully family support.
Hawks started well and applied pressure in all areas and to High Sheriff's delight even our 16 hits worked well as we transferred around the back to good effect using that new defender Shirley. We squandered a couple of golden opportunities including a great move with Darby and Elliott which ended in a wide shot rather than a classic Darby 3 footer. Ashley started to impose himself on the game and a good passing move from the back linked him with Tyser to Darby out wide with a cross D shot missed by 3 but connected with by McGreggor for an early lead.
Signs of concern started to appear as the back 4 contrived to gift 2 goals which Bunny was unable to deal with. Ashley was also seen to slip on occasion as he challenged for the ball.
Half time jelly babies for jelly legs and positive team talk as we knew we had the ability to come back.
Second half started inauspiciously with new talent Ashley slipping on the greasy RHS and then over stretching and pulling a hamstring. Those wiser heads could read the game and knew Ashley would take time to adjust to the (lack of) pace of the 7's and dashing around like a mad thing inevitably ends in tears. We should have reminded him about Professor Hack's calf strain 2 weeks before in what appeared to be just a gentle acceleration (if it can be said that Carl does anything gently).
So down to 11 but the Magnificent 7's took up the challenge and the game started to open up. The backs forgot about the 1st half and put in some great tackles with Wellsie and Shirley getting in some good challenges. The mental part of the game started to evolve as Easterbrook snr found topics of discussion to converse with Tyser and Darby as we started to focus on the key player who could make a difference for Witney.
The game developed into proper 'end to end' attacks with Andrew Graham and Nico demonstrating how their game has come on delivering some great passes and interceptions. We then won a short corner and Shirley dispatched a corker low and right. At 2-2 we knew we could take this. Elliott was unlucky a few times (or was it more than a few) and then Tyser broke with the ball from their 25m line with only the keeper to beat. We could all see the dip of the shoulder feinting a ball to the left and pushing the ball to the right of the hapless keeper. Well, we could all see this apart from Tyser who launched the ball straight at the keeper earning an immediate DoD award followed shortly after by a green card following further tussles with Easterbrook. Hawks repelled several short corner in the final quarter to keep the match level in what was a very enjoyable game played in good spirit which followed through to beers, sausages, chips (and more chips for Wellsie to replace those carbs).
Final words to Mrs Easterbrook who commented on just how fast a pace the game was played at. We may be the 7's but we still have it....
MoM Andrew Graham for continuing on pitch endeavours.
DoD - Tyser
Goals - McGreggor 15 mins/ Shirley 65 mins