Bulls Head Athletic 4-2 Magna 73 Rangers
We set of to play Bulls Head Athletic without some big names, we don’t have the biggest of squads so when your missing 5 players who would normally start it affects us quite badly. John Grady, Pete Quinn, Matt Hillier, James Pearce and Phil Howard were all unavailable. The unsigned Dan Pickering (waiting to be signed when he is fit) and Joe Wakeling were also unavailable.
For the 2nd week running Kev had to go in goal as Joe continues to struggle with a shoulder injury, also Darren Mann came in for his first start in a Magna shirt since he signed in November. Rob Skeemer slotted in at left back with Chris Keeling and Adam Lane at Centre halfs with Iain Gray sweeping, it was decided we should go 5-2-3 with wing backs, a formation that worked against Scraptoft Garage (lost 2-1, losing a goal with 5 mins to go). Steve Oliff and Lee Tyers played in Central Midfield Kirk Holland and Joe Brown on the wings with Ogden up top on his own.
On a half frozen pitch Mike Kneafsley got the game underway and we started really well, passing the ball with composure on a bobbly pitch and it looked OK. Then Ogden burst into the box and the centre half made a good challenge but the Ref pointed to the spot to the understandable Bullies protest and Lee Tyers buried the penalty sending the keeper the wrong way.
To be fair the Bullies sensed injustice and went about attacking Magna with Pearson Mwanyaongo particularly dangerous taking on players for fun but the end product wasn’t quite there. Mid way in the first half Mobbs put through Kewmoss who's shot was saved by Big Kev in the goal to keep Magna in front.
The Bullies were slowly turning the heat up and Magna were buckling a bit but stayed strong with Chris K and Adam Lane putting in some ridiculously good challenges as was little Lee Tyers and Steve Oliff in the central midfield.
Then Bulls Head got there deserved equaliser when Pearson yet again tore Rob Skeemer apart and fired in a shot across Big Kev, Kev made a decent stop but it fell to a Bullies player who set up Asanti who levelled it up for Bulls Head at 1-1
During this period Magna’s passing game of the first 5 minutes had disappeared with the ball a bit like a hot potato, Ogden wasn’t getting any service to run at the defence and aimless balls were being pumped forward. Credit goes to the Bullies midfield though who pressed Magna and forced these errors.
Bulls Head had numerous corners which created problems and some last ditch defending with Iain Gray clearing one off the line from an Asanti header, then Pearson Mwanyongo was put through one on one, he managed to take it round Kev but Lando came in with a super challenge, Mobbs was also put through one on one but before he could get a shot away Chris Keeling came through and made a magnificent challenge.
The inevitable 2nd Bullies goal came with about 5 minutes to go in the first half when player of the half Mwanyongo was put through and from the about 12 yards out at the corner of the 6 yard box he finished it superbly giving Kev no chance.
There were no more chances of note for either side for the remaining 5 minutes so we went in at Half Time with the score Bulls Head 2-1 Magna 73 Rangers.
After a bit of a rollocking at half time it was demanded that we keep possession and support Ogden more, we felt if we could do that we could trouble the Bullies, we needed to get Browny on the ball more as he was a spectator and he is capable of causing teams problems.
To be fair Magna came out 2nd half and we implemented those instructions and we looked decent in fact we started the same way we started the 1st half but this time it was more prolonged.
We put pressure on the Bullies, Ogden hitting one on his left foot which although straight at the keeper it gave us encouragement and eventually we got the leveller which at the time was deserved, Gary Harding who had come on for the injured Darren Mann in the first half drilled a low cross at the front of the goal, Browny went in bravely with the centre half and fired it in to equalise…but it came at a cost as Browny hurt himself and with no more subs available we had to hold on with 10 men.
Down to 10 men we were unable to build on any momentum we got from the equaliser and the Bullies were able to take command of the game, Browny did come back on but was never going to contribute anything.
The last 20 minutes saw Bulls Head dominate like they did the first half, our pressure had yielded only one goal, strangely Pearson Mwanyongo had been moved to left back meaning they lacked the same threat they had in the first half, Rob Skeemer was particularly pleased.
The Bullies created a good opportunity when Ebony Asanti ran through on goal towards Kev and tried to play it across to Mobbs who had an open net but once again Chris K was there to toe poke it away for a corner, although it was so close to being an own goal, then a deflected Mobbs shot looped into the air with Kev beaten but cannoned of the cross bar.
It was all hands on deck as Magna held on for a point but with 15 to go Mobbs played a delightful ball over the top which Iain Gray could only flick away but Asanti was waiting about 10 yards out and as cool as a cucumber he side footed a volley past Kev with the ball flying into the net, breaking Magna’s resolve and giving the Bullies the lead.
From then on there was only going to be one winner despite every Magna player putting in 110%, Lee Tyers put in 3 brilliant tackles in the middle of the park, one after the other – the only reason this lad didn’t make it to even a semi – pro is because he is about 4ft 9in or something but he is a dynamic midfielder, he perhaps lacks pace but on the ball and as a midfield force he has become a very important player for us.
With 5 minutes to go the Bullies finished Magna off, after Rob Skeemer was disposesed on the corner of the 18 yard box a ball was played to Mobbs who had a heavy first touch but as Kev came to smother he got a touch on the ball which rebounded of Kev and back onto Mobbs and into the net.
There was still time for Magna to create a couple of half chances but the Bullies sub keeper made a couple of good stops but the game was lost. Final score Bulls Head 4-2 Magna 73 Rangers.
I will say that I was very impressed with Bulls Head, they are a well supported club both financially and on the sidelines, they support there side but never go over the top. Good luck for the rest of the season, you are nailed on for 4th place I think.
If Carlsberg made club secretaries I would still be rubbish!!