What can I say about today’s game at St David’s other than AAAAAGH!!!! The omens didn’t look great from the very start of this week when at least three players came down with sickness bugs and three or four others gave notice that Mother’s Day plans were going to clash with the rearranged afternoon kick off time. Thankfully, the sickness that struck earlier in the week came and went in the nick of time so with a bare 11 players and enough parents willing to commit to the clubs cause, we were at least able to field a full team. The lack of substitutes is a problem we’ve become used to of late unfortunately but even that can’t be used as an excuse this weekend, as St David’s were only able to round up 10 players.
So with conditions perfect, a large pitch awaiting us in a pretty decent condition and a slight advantage in numbers, things looked promising as the game got under way. It only took six minutes before we were able take the lead when Harry retrieved a ball from Ed on the half way line and he found himself in acres of space down the left wing. The St David’s right sided players seemed to back off without closing him down so he was able to cut in and score his 17th goal in 16 games with a cool finish that found the far corner of the net. St David’s had their first chance a couple of minutes later and looked sure to score as they broke quickly but Charlie’s height came in handy as he tipped a high, goal bound strike over the bar.
As the game flowed from end to end you always felt there would be more goals in this game. St David’s always look dangerous on the break with a couple of fast lads in their attacking line who love to run with the ball but we have some electric pace of our own at the back and Josh Cook was looking more than a match for the quickest of the home teams strikers. Evan had already been penalised for a late challenge so after fifteen minutes, when the St David’s forward twisted and turned towards our penalty area in another dangerous looking move, Evan needed to time his tackle perfectly and looked for all intense and purpose that he’d done just that as he went to ground and cleanly won the ball in what appeared to be a firm but superb challenge. The ref however saw it differently and lectured Evan about the error of his ways and he let the Royston managers know he’d be having no more of this ‘strong sliding tackle’ business. Suddenly we were all reminded about how pernickety the home teams regular referee can be and it no longer felt like 11 v 10 in our favour. Credit to Evan though as he managed to keep his cool and almost had the last laugh ten minutes before half time when he connected with the ball from Stan’s corner but his shot deflected off the St David’s cross bar from close range. The Colts kept the home side at bay with some solid defending and were able to extend their first half lead when a great passing move between Ed, Harry, Stan and Kyle set up Jacob McCormack who was able to score on his return from a long spell out injured. Welcome back Jacob, back in the goals and everything was looking rosey in the Shephalbury garden, Stevenage but this was after all St David’s. A team we’ve been 2-0 up against several times before. A team we just can’t seem to overcome so two goal advantage or not, the job felt far from being done and dusted. The home team came close right on the half time whistle but a shot heading for the bottom corner was kept out by a good diving save from Charlie Hill.
Half time and we are 2 nil up. What could possibly go wrong?
The second half had barely got under way when Lee got his head on a corner that was deflected agonisingly wide and boy could we have done with a three nil lead because things rapidly went down hill from that moment on. The St David’s speedy front man burst into life just five minutes after the restart when he went on a mazy run which resulted in him bringing a goal back for St David’s and all of a sudden, with legs tiring we looked seriously under the cosh. A few minutes after the goal, St David’s were in again as the home teams scorer found himself in space but with just Charlie to beat he shot wide. The inevitable equaliser came a short while later in a move that I can’t even recall, or perhaps I just have chose to erase it from my mind because this was really starting to feel like déjà vu now. We’ve been here so many times before against St David’s but just as we looked like we had nothing left in the tank and would probably end up getting convincingly beaten we rallied and tried in vain to fight back . Harry burst through and found himself in a one on one situation with the keeper but his shot went narrowly wide. Lee had a shot moments later that was well saved and Jacob nearly grabbed his second goal of the game but the St David’s defence somehow managed to scramble the ball away. It has to be said that St David’s also fought hard for the win so a draw would probably have been a fair result in the end but wouldn’t you just know it, they claimed yet another narrow victory over us when they scored a winning goal with just two minutes remaining. I can’t describe that goal either, I just know it was like a knife to the heart for the Colts boys, the Coaches and the parents watching from the side lines.
As the game ended the referee felt the need to have more words with a couple of Colts players which seemed really odd considering the game was played in pretty good spirits over all. It seems there’s no such thing as an advantage when you go away to St Davids, even if you do start with more men on the pitch!
The coaches had very little to say in the post match summary as they looked stunned by the whole situation. It was once again a case of missed chances, costly errors, tired legs and maybe a lack of killer instinct but 10 out of 10 for effort once again to all those boys who gave their all this afternoon. Charlie took the man of the match award home for keeping the scoreline respectable with some fine goalkeeping. Just one more league game left for the under 13 Colts now, an away match at unbeaten Stevenage Migs.
No one said league two football would be easy!