** Football Rule 26** If you are going to put an end to an unimpressive “run” by getting a big win, do it with 10 men and 2 nil down against an old enemy (ideally with a drunk defence).
In line with the above rule Kitsonians did their very best, during the first 30 minutes of the game against Gransden (who they pipped to the Division 3 title last season) to give them a 2 goal lead and get a man (S. Dunkley) sent off. Only an own goal by one of the Gransden Centre backs (15) put a spanner in the works.
Gransden took the lead on 10 minutes after yet another bright start was not taken advantage of by Kitsonians. A yellow card for Dunkley and another goal for Gransden on 21 minutes meant that when S. Dunkley received a second yellow on 25 minutes for a deliberate hand ball, Gransden could have been forgiven for thinking that they had done the hard work in this match, 2 -1 up and playing against 10 men for over an hour.
Infact (and very pleasingly) the sending off had an incredible galvanising effect on Kitsonians who knew, when they got to the break with the score still at 2 – 1 that they were still very much in the match.
All the talk at half time was about having 45 minutes of season defining work and discipline ahead and not to leave anything out there.
A disciplined start to the second half was rewarded when S. Dipple classily converted a C. Thurlbourne cross on 55 minutes.
This discipline was very much the theme of the whole of the second half, with Kitsonians sitting increasingly deep whilst regularly probing the Gransden defence with insisive and high tempo counter attacks, pace and power down both flanks (notably through P. Higginson) and hard working performances from everyone.
When the alcohol finally took it’s toll on A. Howlett at the back, M. Caspel was brought on to shore up the back line.
The vital and somewhat inevitable feeling goal came on 72 minutes when C. Thurlbourne converted P. Higginson’s assist.
The final 20 minutes of the match were real backs to the wall stuff from Kitsonians who on a number of occasions had E. Dudko to thank for his man of the match showing between the sticks. Kitsonians none the less continued to keep Gransden honest with their counter attacking and it was certainly not in any way a lucky win when the referee’s whistle went on what felt like about 99 minutes. It was infact an object lesson in disciplined well drilled teamwork, and what can be achieved when a group of players tasked with simple jobs pull together in pursuit of a common goal.
A match to be proud of for all that took part in it.
Team: GK-Evardas Dudko, RCB-Steven Dunkley, CB-Dan Shinn, LCB-Alex Howlett, RM-Peter Higginson, CM-Andrew Dobie, CM-Jonny Tofts, CM-Mike Ball, LM- -Tom Matthews, FW-Sam Dipple FW-Carl Thurlbourne. SUBS. Matt Caspel, Nigel Gardiner.