vs Crawley Green (A)
SSML Premier Division
29th December 2018
Another mild December day on a 3g pitch which was a new experience. What wasn’t new was the lack of centre backs for Arlesey with Randall and Guiney along with Lawrence all reporting in sick while Brown and Gooch were unavailable. This required a reshuffle of the team with James Hatch and Ross Taylor making yet another new partnership at the back.
Both sides looked to test out the surface at the start; Arlesey started with a very good interchange down the right that brought the ball back to Aarron Browne but his shot from the edge of the area went over the bar. A FK from Alex O’Brien found Brown and his cross in led to a corner but this was cleared. At the other end a good ball in from Mark Bunker found Danny Watson but he was O/S and a long range shot from Bunker was taken by Robbie Ponting. On 14 mins a Crawley Green corner was headed clear well by James Hatch but it only went as far as Bunker and he put the ball back in and Craig Merick turned well stabbing the ball back low under Ponting tight by the post and into the net for 1-0.
Arlesey seemed to sort themselves out from this point and gradually gained control; a cross in was headed on by Lorrell Smith to the overlapping Demi Debola but Josh Moulison did well under pressure collecting in front of him. Brown was on the end of another good move; Moulison did well diving at his feet but lost the ball, Browne collected it and pulled it back to Kai Ashley but he shot over the bar at an angle. Another good cross in from Ashley found Alex O’Brien who hit a good shot bringing a good save from Moulison. In the next attack Ryan Lamond was fouled on the edge of the area. Browne took the FK and just missed the stretching Hatch at the far post but this was really close. Arlesey were now on top and playing some really good football; Smith had a long range shot taken by the keeper, and a great interchange by O’Brien and Ashley saw O’Brien feed in Smith but the defence just managed to intercept it right in front of Smith.
Another good interchange found Browne who crossed into the overlapping Lamond but he could only find the side netting, another close chance. O’Brien attacking, beat 2 defender before finding Smith in a great position, he shot and Moulison made a really great save point blank to somehow keep the ball out. A FK found Hatch who headed wide and O’Brien chipped the keeper from an angle to see the ball hacked off the line by a defender.
Crawley Green seemed to weather the storm a little and forced a series of corner which were cleared and Tyler Ingram had a long range shot over the bar, but as the half drew to a close Debola and Aedan Gaffney combined well before Gaffney shot over the bar and O’Brien cross well but nobody was near enough to get the ball and just before the whistle another good move fed in Ashley but his shot was well taken by the keeper keeping it 1-0 at half time although im not sure how Arlesey hadn’t scored.
Both sides started well in the 2nd period; Josh Williams worked well into the box but his shot was well stopped by Ponting, and at the other end a good cross in only just missed Smith in a good position. Crawley got the break through on 51 mins from a FK that found Williams; he put a good ball back to Danny Watson who hit a great strike through the crowd from the edge of the box to beat the unsighted Ponting for 2-0.
Arlesey made a change taking of Stuart Richardson for Charlie Moss up front. As they kept pushing forward a good ball found Lorrell Smith on the far edge of the area, he turned and hit a superb ball over the keeper into the net for 2-1 and it looked like Arlesey were back in the game on 63 mins.
Crawley replaced Craig Merick with Connor Waite. Arlesey were trying to get on even terms as Gaffney hit a shot over the bar but they were undone as Crawley counter attacked; Watson hit a good shot that Ponting sparried away, the shot came again which produced an even better save as he recovered but he was unable to hold it and Williams was on hand to lift the ball over the keeper from close range and 3-1 on 70mins.
Arlesey brought on Makudzeyi Makuza to replace Kai Ashley to try to get back into the game, and quite soon he had a great chance as from a FK the keeper dropped the ball with it coming along to Makuza on the 6yard lone but somehow he put the ball over the bar, and just 2 mins later he has another chance as Lamond found him with a great ball, Makuza turned but then missed his shot allowing Moulison to dive in to grab the ball. Charlie Moss who looks a good prospect was fouled which brought the only card of the game for Bunker. The FK was lifted in but a FK was given to the home side for some reason.
A good ball looked to have found Makuza in the box and he looked to have been comprehensively flattened by a defender but the ref waived it away when it looked a stone wall penalty.
A Crawley corner bounced off of the bar but went clear, but as the game moved into added on time a rare break from Crawley by Nathan Randall looked to have been stopped by a just about perfect tackle by Hatch, unfortunately the ball was pushed forward past the diving Ponting a squeezing inside the post for a flattering 4-1 which just about summed up Arlesey’s December in one moment.
There was still time for Moss to be fouled on the edge of the Crawley area. O’Brien lined up the ball with the wall in front of him and hit a great ball that moved around the wall but hit the base of the post with Moulison beaten. An Arlesey corner dropped just the wrong side of the bar before the whistle finally went for a flattering score line for the home side but sometimes that’s football.
Arlesey were unlucky in this one and really should have been in front at half time but they failed to convert the many chances they created. This has been a really bad December with no wins but for all of those games they have had key personal missing which makes things really difficult for a small squad. Going into the new year and the 2nd half of the season they must regroup, maybe find new players to reinforce the squad and find the explosive force they had in the first half of the season up until this month.
Team : Robbie Ponting, Ryan Lamond, Demi Debola, Aedan Gaffney’ James Hatch, Ross Taylor, Aarron Browne, Stuart Richardson (Moss 59) Alex O’Brien ©, Lorrell Smith, Kai Ashley (Makuza 70).
Subs; Makudzeyi Makuza, Charlie Moss, Antony Araba, Phil Payne, Jason Darvall.