Match reports are much more difficult to write when you've lost and this one is especially painful. I'm definitely not feeling particularly chipper about writing it but what must be done must be done. So here goes.
The Men's 2's travelled to OMT with still a slender hope of sneaking into the top three following a pretty decent second half of the season. OMT is not an easy place to go to as the home side always seem to give a much better account of themselves on familiar ground than on their travels. However back to back wins against the top two sides in the table in the previous two weeks gave the boys some reason for optimism as did the news that Witney had beaten third placed Chiswick (somewhat unexpectedly) that morning.
It was, however, not to be. The 2's started like a train bossing the first ten minutes but failed to convert the chances that fell their way and then conceded a goal to OMT's first serious attack. 1-0 it stayed till half time with the home side adopting a resolute but rather negative half court press throughout. You expect that at BRN and we have got quite used to it but away!?!? I suppose we should take it as a bit of a compliment.
The second half was something of a disaster for Hawks. It all started so well with outstanding goals from Dunny and The Kiwi. Dunny finished off a slick 4 man break which cut OMT to pieces from our 25 and buried his shot past the stranded keeper. Within 5 minutes Gurden found himself in space in the circle, chose to ignore Boy Band in a much better position on the far post and went for an ambitious "Dutchman" which he smashed into the top of the net. No one more surprised than me or Pep - except possibly their keeper. I can't help but observe that had the Kiwi missed I would happily have severed, with a rusty razor, any part of his body the coach chose to nominate. But he didn't. 2-1 to the boys.
The last 15 minutes require a veil to be drawn over them. The 2's missed chances which would have finished off the Old Boys who, nonetheless, carried a threat themselves having partly abandoned their half court mentality out of necessity. Just as it was looking as though we would manage to close out the win OMT scored a bizarre equaliser which I won't attempt to describe. There then followed a frantic final few minutes which included the home side's winner courtesy of a horrible defensive error that they exploited with greater composure than we had managed. Game over.
Very disappointing but we could hardly complain. The boys had plenty of good chances which were not finished and as Pep keeps reminding us goals win matches. Full marks for effort and commitment but 5 out of 10, at best, for finishing.
Nonetheless this side is way better that it was at the start of the league programme and with most of them back next season I imagine we can expect many more happy half court contests. In one sense I suppose other clubs are treating the 2's with respect so we may need to get used to it.
The League table doesn't lie but it may disguise the progress this group of players has made in a few months.
As I said - Bother.