HEADINGLEY 2 ROBIN HOOD ATHLETIC 2
By Matt Wright
Saturday we travelled to Headingley in what was a game we were looking forward to due to the standard of the playing surface.
A couple of changes today as Chris Coupe and Matthew Gould were unavailable, with James Finlayson carrying an injury we had to be mindful of.
We started the game in a positive fashion as we adapted to a team who played a condensed midfield 4 with lots of rotation. The danger man Ash Austin was the person to watch as he looked to add to his already impressive goal tally. Headingley, typically a footballing team who play in the correct way were trying to press with the ball but some impressive work from our midfield and wide men really limited their attack to long ball. This almost paid dividends as danger man had a shot cleared off the line by skipper Chris Brown. It wasn’t long before we really got into our stride, we were breaking at pace and the use of ball from the midfield. Our front 2 were also causing issue for the Headingley back line, a Physical big Lewis Richardson really imposed himself on the game. It wasn’t long before we were carving out some very good opportunities, a couple of long range efforts were flooding a keeper who looked shaky at best. Our first goal came from a set piece that Browny turned back across goal and Lewis smashed home after an error from the keeper 1-0. We continued to force the chances and Chris Brown was unlucky to have an opportunity cleared off the line. At the other end chances were limited, unfortunately for us though we conceded a goal in circumstances that again were avoidable, a free shot was deflected and looped over Matty Smith in goal. We responded well though, another wave of attacking play forced another corner. This time it was Harold the helicopter who sprang to head back across goal, again for Big Lewis to slot home. Before the half ended we had another few attacks that ultimately came to nothing but the opportunity was there for our lead to be extended.
The second half started and it was more of the same in terms of attack. Unfortunately nothing was sticking like the first half, the control of the ball wasn’t there even though our intentions were the same. From defence to the front line it was just a case of taking that extra care on the ball. Headingley equalised in unfortunate circumstances, a goal kick was met first by the Headingley midfield who broke at pace at our defence, the forward went to the bye-line and from a tight angle found its way past Matty in goal. A disappointing goal to concede as our concentration levels have been good of late.
Our response again was good and we created some really good chances to regain the lead, our final ball though was not accurate enough or just the wrong option. Nevertheless we were getting into some really good positions where we were looking like a threat, and that’s the positive. We hit the post through young Alex who continued to get into good areas and late on a great opportunity that fell to Paul Mitchell was blocked on the line. James Finlayson, even not 100% displayed the character to try and get the team over the line for 3 points, he found his late rocket blocked by Dale who was making a run away to free space.
The game finished 2-2 and it was hard to decide if it was 2 points lost or 1 point gained. One thing is for sure though, we are making good progress and the squad are really pulling together. There is no sense of individualistic attitudes, players drop to the bench and respond despite the disappointment with positivity that is really driving us forward. On the field we are creating chances but with a return of 7 points of the last 9 is very respectable. Our output in goals with 12 in 3 is another positive we must drive forward. To draw a game like that and be disappointed is a positive step but we must travel well next week to extend our good form.
Today’s player of the match could have gone to several players, Chris Brown though leading by example and having a positive effect on the squad really showed maturity in keeping the danger man up front quiet won the race.
Next up for Robin Hood is a trip to Knaresborough Town and the motivation that another 3 points could take them to 5th in the table.