Phoenix v Tunbridge Wells
After the disappointment of exiting the Vase at the weekend, tonight The Wells had a chance to bounce back against unbeaten league leaders Phoenix on a very cold school night in Crayford.
With Wembley hero Wibbles at the back, Phoenix have won 16 and drawn 3 of their 19 games so far, quite an achievement in the SCEFL considering the teams around, so we were expecting a tough match on a very chilly and windy evening.
A quick pint of lemonade or 4 in ex footballers Jimmy Bullard’s pub just down the road before kickoff calmed any PMT that might have been occurring, and we joined the rest of the south stand in the clubhouse at the Phoenix sports ground.
Yet again there was an impressive away following considering how far behind the leaders we are in the league, and on a chilly Wednesday evening, but this now seems the norm and the envy of a lot of the other teams around our leagues, alough this should never be taken for granted.
Martin made some changes to the team after the weekend with Rooooarryy coming in for Bourney, Radford slotting in at left back and Digger and Tolley in midfield.
Tunbridge Wells started the game well and finished the game well, but the bit in the middle was frankly pants, the kind of pants you would be embarrassed to let a new girlfriend see, and consign to the back of the drawer, hoping never to see daylight again until your married.
This maybe a tad harsh as the conditions were not great, the pitch had enough sand on it to stop a biblical flood, the wind was very strong and it was very very cold. The Wells started well in midfield against the wind, and created a the first real chance of the game when Cass found himself free but shot at the keeper, but after that Phoenix came into the game more and on 30mins a handball shout in the Phoenix area was waved away by the ref, and Phoenix broke down the right and a cross fell to Ricky Freeman to the left of goal who finished off clinically.
With the Wells defence containing the Phoenix forwards, and a lack of pace up front from the wells meant there were not many chances created by either team for the rest of the half, and we went in 1 down.
Just to reiterate how cold it was (i may have mentioned this), some of us swapped usual half time lemonade for some hot mud, or hot chocolate as Phoenix would call it, from the friendly tea lady. Who’s service was quicker than that of many well known fast food outlets. And not just 1 but 2 burgers were consumed before the players came back out..not quite in the textbook of Marathon training i know, but you dont get many tasty burgers in tier 8.
The second half was a bit more interesting, the ‘ Phoenix 3 ‘as we will call them (the only 3 people who sang) perked up and thought it would be funny to try and out banter the south stand from a safe distance of 20yds behind us, this obviously was never going to work especially with “your going up, your ground isnt” thrown back at them , but was nice for a change to have some competition. They must also like their carrots in Crayford, as the Phoenix 3 could see from a distance and through all of us that the lino got a few comical decisions wong in our favour.
The game opened up a bit more as the match went on, and after some scares the Wells came into the game more towards the end, with after a succession of corners and some ping pong going on in the Phoenix box, the Wells thought they had equalised when the ball appeared to cross the line (well from our vantage point of pitch level at the other end of the pitch it looked like it crossed the line) the players appealed but nothing given. The Wells should maybe have had a penalty and by the state of Seenan’s shin, there was defiantly contact but alas nothing given again, and shortly after the ref blew for full time and Phoenix’s unbeaten record stayed intact.
It was mentioned by the fans that Phoenix were the worst unbeaten team we have ever seen, but there is no doubt that they are vocal and seem to have great team spirit, all we need to do is concentrate on finishing the season strongly and try and get into the top 3. There is also the league cup to play for so all it not lost and we need to continue to get behind the boys, starting at home against Canterbury this weekend.
As Bon Jovi once said, Keep the Faith..