In blustery conditions, playing the last game of the season when most teams had packed up and gone home for the season, we knew that one point from this match would see us staying up. The opposition knew that any points might see them promoted so this was set up for a tense day.
James Oliver sacrificed his outside commitments to start the match in his customary left wing role, a position he has made his own with consistent displays. Showing a willingness to try and pick out teams when on the attack yet not forgetting his defensive duties he provided a good balance down the left. On the right side ran Thomas Walton who has had a very strong finish to the season. In truth, like most of his team mates, he worked hard yet never quite seemed to be in the right place or get the necessary touch to punish the opposition in this first half. Captain Will Jackson started in central defence before moving into central midfield and did little wrong, snatching on a break away chance to put us in front with a nonchalant finish that bespoke his growing confidence on the ball. Showing composure in all areas of the pitch he is a proving to be a fine example of how a player can learn to play multiple roles in a team. Nick Twinn filled midfield gaps, never quite getting that opening to shoot that he so wants. Known for his long passes it was probably his short link up passes that helped his team mates today. Leo Finkle put in his usual assured performance throughout the match and started with Will, then Olly Loan then James Carr alongside him. Olly brought his usual tireless enthusiasm to playing at the back and ran the length of the pitch several times, James C tried to get the passes flowing and Benjamin Wright moved and chased and hassled without truly getting a hold of the game up front. When in possession his passing was good but most balls up field got caught in the wind and disappeared somewhere in Seaham. Half time whistle blown found us trailing the opposition and we had failed to register those long range shots you want in such conditions. Joel Mews-Reed starting in goal had little chance to stop the goals that went past him in the opening 25 minutes.
Now, with such a strong wind to assist, there were a few worried parents on the touch line and right from the restart we found it a struggle to even get to the halfway line from goal kicks. Then something a little magical happened. Olly received the ball from James C in goal. Having registered that his runs from defence weren’t working and any long passes into the wind came back with interest he began to pass the ball neatly between himself, Leo and Benjamin (now playing deep in midfield). Opposition forwards were left chasing shadows and we moved the ball through the team quickly almost ending in a goal. The game changed. Time after time we played out from the back, several near chances before one then two more goals went in. Nick almost scored goal of the season. Benjamins passing cut through the opposition and Leo organised from the back. Joel came on and showed good touches never needing to rely on his strength and James C gave maybe his most assured display of the season in goal. Olly, now up front provided great running and Chester Town were worthy of their lead. An unfortunate last minute own goal shouldn’t detract from a wonderful running and unselfish display from Thomas in this second half either.
A fantastic, exciting game, both teams worthy of a point and played in great spirits. MotM goes to all the kids playing today.