The visit of an unbeaten Loughborough Town to St Margaret's Pastures was another promotion six-pointer for the Men’s first team. Short on numbers due to reading week, City’s line-up included the walking wounded, the old and grumpy, and two debutant ‘keepers.
With Harry travelling back from the Twos' game, City Firsts started in an unorthodox 443 and managed to keep the visitors out of the home D until the late arrival of the goalkeeper.
After a jittery first 15 minutes, City started to get on top and took the lead as Tim converted a PC with a straight strike from the top of the D. The visitors responded instantly and an excellent stick stop from Harry was needed to maintain the home sides lead.
As an end to end first half petered out, City fashioned a chance to double lead but David M pulled the ball in to his own foot when unmarked on the penalty spot. Half-time saw the team huddled in tightly around the bag of Haribo and coach Elsbeth’s tactics board.
City grabbed a much needed second goal early in the second half as short corner slipped left to Declan whose shot on target was poached by David M from an inch out in another fine example of blatant goal thievery.
That was as good as it got for the home side who seemed to run out of steam with 15 minutes remaining and as the youthful away side started to apply the pressure Harry was called in to action with a quickfire double save.
The visitors were dominating and forced a number of short corners which were excellently dealt with by number one runner Henry. But it wasn’t long before the pressure told a whipped ball in to the D caused chaos in the City backline and after a number of blocked efforts a cheeky deflection saw the ball flick up and Harry in to the goal.
The home side failed to react and conceded another short corner which saw a big hit fly in to the net but the goal was disallowed as it was slightly too high. Loughborough Town continued to attack and it took some dogged defending to see out the final few minutes with the lead intact.
Lucky to claim the three points, and thankful to Harry for his crucial role on the victory, City made their way back in to the club house with fire extinguishers at the ready as Luke failed to blow out the candles on his Colin the Caterpillar cake (other animal-based cakes are available).
Team – Harry (GK), Luke, Boyce, Paul, Henry, Mike T, Ross, Declan, Scott, Tim, David M, Mo S
MOTM – Harry, excellent debut which deserved a clean-sheet.
DOTD – Luke, fire hazard. We’ll need fireman Dan back in the team for the next birthday celebration.