Heswall Jaguars 3-1 AC Hoylake Galaxy
Galaxy's 100% record was struck down by Heswall.
The result was a bolt from the blue for Galaxy who were looking to make it a fifth win on the bounce, but three first half strikes from Heswall meant the game had all but slipped from their grasp before the break.
Is that enough meteorological metaphors? Probably, but I can't help thinking the result would have been very different had we played them when we were meant to the other week.
Never forget, "you're an open target for lightning in a field!!!"
And such was Galaxy’s sluggish start that the goal was effectively an open target for Heswall today (this stuff just writes itself sometimes) as half-hearted challenges, and an unwillingness to close down the opposition meant Heswall had the run of the first half, and were able to pick up space and pick up shots, almost at will.
Heswall won the game simply because they wanted it more than us, and that’s the hardest thing to take about today’s result.
None of the lads who did a stint in goal can take any of the blame for the goals (big thanks to James Roberts, Josh Hughes, Joshua Carruthers, and alex robinson for stepping up) as it should never have got to the point where the opposition could get the shots away. And even the third, which awkwardly bounced in from a free kick, should have been cut out before it got anywhere near the goal.
We’ve not started this sluggish for a while, and while key players were missing, we can’t use that as an excuse – the side that lined up today was capable of a much better performance than they showed in the first half.
There was no movement, no tackling, no communication, and no desire.
And yet, we still could have gone in at half time with just one goal in it, but both Lewis and Alex had unlucky breaks of the ball in front of goal – Lewis’ chance just ran past him a little too quickly, and Alex was undone by a great tackle.
We came out in the second half looking much more assured, and immediately took the game to Heswall, creating a few openings without really troubling the ‘keeper.
Some good running down the right from Lewis drew a foul, and Jamie stepped up to whip another brilliant free kick over the keeper and in – that’s his 13th of the season, and his second direct free kick.
Galaxy took control for long parts of the second half, were much stronger in the tackle and were closing down Heswall down much quicker than in the first half – the only real chance Heswall carved out was a snapshot that Alex did well to tip over.
It was to no avail though, and we couldn’t force a way through.
Not to put too fine a point on it, today’s game was an absolute shocker (that’s definitely the last one) – but so long as we learn from it, it won’t be for nothing. We need to be prepared to get more physical with teams like Heswall when they start putting it about, and we all need to be at our very best each week if we want to win this division.
I’m in no doubt we are still the best team in the division, we need to pick ourselves up and prove that we are in the run up to Christmas, starting with Shaftes at home next week.
Man of the Match – Jamie Gann
For the first time this season, there were very few contenders, and no-one really did themselves justice this week. Jamie gets the nod, just ahead of Ben, as he was always looking for the ball and looking to do something positive with it. And his free kick was probably worthy of the award on its own.