After most games getting called off last week the boys were pleased to get the games played this Sunday 10th Feb and by the match reports what games they were:
BARMING COLTS V HOLLANDS AND BLAIR THUNDER
Belting down with rain and with two boys pulling out through illness on the morning of the match (get well soon Fin and Archie), the omens could have been better as Thunder made the short journey over to Maidstone Tennis Club to face Barming Colts.
The downpour was over by kick-off and had left the pitch a quagmire, which would prove to be a leveller as the game went on.
But any nerves the boys were feeling as they fought to continue their unbeaten start to the season were washed away with two goals in the first six minutes.
First, the busy Leo Pickett set up Zach Tydeman for a trademark Zach finish, keeping his cool to slot home with only four minutes on the clock.
Two minutes later, Dexter Davis burst away from his marker and lofted in a ball from out wide which sailed over everyone and into the net. It was just reward for Dexter, who worked hard all day down the left.
The boys looked comfortable and never stopped trying to play their passing brand of football against a dogged, well-organised Barming team who would not let Thunder relax. Barming missed a good chance in the 18th minute and Leo had an opportunity to make it three on the 22 minute mark but his shot went just wide. He made up for it six minutes later when he worked a great angle for himself in the box and stroked the ball home to give Blair a nice cushion.
Two minutes later Barming were awarded a penalty which was overturned by the linesman’s offside flag and that was it for the first half.
The boys dug in for the second period and needed to be vigilant, especially after Barming pulled one back through a penalty in the 36th minute. Fred Bullivant teed up a great chance for Leo in the 42nd minute which went just wide and there were at least three occasions in the second half where a Thunder player passed when he should have shot.
But that’s no criticism of the boys, who battled hard playing up the slope with special mentions for Ben Phillips, Charlie Firth and Franki Hillier who all worked their socks off and stood strong against some concerted Barming pressure.
Harry Lawrence was his usual reliable self when called upon and Blair saw the clock out on a performance they should all be proud of.
Despite the pitch and an industrious opposition, there were patches of sublime passing football from Thunder, who deserve lots of credit for always trying, and usually succeeding, to do the right things.
HOLLANDS & BLAIR LIGHTNING Vs VINTERS RANGERS
On a cold, wet and windy Sunday with fine rain and a boggy pitch, the Lightning players took to the field after a superb training session looking to build on a superb start to 2019.
Reflecting on Thursdays training session, Manager Ben Barnes-Farnham said “I’m delighted with the start to the year that the players have made. Their efforts in training have been top class and if they continue in that vein then the performances will bring the development that we are looking for”.
Timi Olagbemi was rewarded for his superb showing in training with a starting spot despite the boys giving him a hard time for his late arrival. The group is still missing Callum Spittle, who is struggling with injury. Everyone at the club wishes him a speedy return to fitness and hope he can get back to training asap. The only other gap in the squad was the missing Sean Okoronkwo.
Liam Hughes was installed into centre midfield alongside Josh Carter and the pair started the game superbly well building and creating for the front two.
A dominant display meant the opposition, Vinters Rangers failed to get out of their own half despite the support of the howling wind.
The Blair players were boxing clever, playing the ball short and on the floor to feet to work up the pitch, building out from the calm figure of Liam Sherriff between the sticks. The superb build up play was rewarded early in the first half. After three good attempts on goal the scoring was opened after some superb build up play down the Blair right with Harrison Liddle linking up with the excellent Hughes via Dylan Simpsons pass up the line. Liddle linked up with Harry Wells whose cross was turned into his own net by the Vinters defender who was under pressure from Lewis Inkpen on 4 minutes.
The goal was a fair reflection of the superb start and Blair continued to press and created numerous chances hitting the woodwork and going close to extending their lead but they were met by a stubborn Vinters keeper who made a string of excellent saves as well as the Vinters full back who was having an excellent morning breaking up attacks on the Blair left, much to the frustration of Ronnie Horner.
The score line of 1-0 at the break flattered the visitors as Blair delivered one of their best ever footballing halves.
A test of the players discipline and focus in the second half saw the players continue to dominate, and Josh Carter, working down the left flank doubled Blairs lead with a superb finish 6 minutes into the second half to dampen the visitors hopes of getting into the game.
Flashes of brilliance had the coaches purring on the touchline as Liam Hughes, Josh Carter, James Barnes-Farnham, Inkpen and Liddle were battling it out for who could get the most nutmegs. Harry Wells continued to be on the end of chances and on another day could have bagged a few goals himself when on 50 minutes, Liddle capped his excellent work with a goal.
Not wanting to be left out, Inkpen rounded off the scoring with a superb individual effort leaving the visitors deflated and Blair with the result that their superb performance deserved. Back to back clean sheets and a solid defensive display from Simpson and Olagbemi saw Timi deservedly awarded with the Man of the match by the faithful Blair support.
Next up, a derby day away to Chatham Town.
Once again fantastic write ups from Richard and Ben, greatly appreciated letting everyone enjoy the action from the boys games.