New Buckenham 2, Mad Moose 6
It was a big day in Division 2A with second playing third and fourth playing fifth, both the Mad Moose and New Buckenham knew that this would be a game that would help sculpt the rest of their season.
With no points in it in the league between the two teams, just a few games in hand for the Moose and just a few points separating the top five teams this was a true six pointer.
The pitch was potentially the worst of the season as it was half frozen and with car tyre marks covering one half of the pitch causing very difficult conditions for both teams. After a meeting with both managers and the referee the pitch was decided as playable and the game was to commence as scheduled.
The Moose kicked off the game, and after just 47 seconds had put themselves in the lead without New Buckenham even touching the ball with a well taken shot by Tom Swabey from the edge of the box after Chris Goodwin had laid it back for him.
The Moose doubled the lead just five minutes later when Jon O’Shea met a corner at the near post with his head, after a double deflection the ball found its way into the net again to put the Moose two up.
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At this point it looked as though the Moose would stomp on to a high scoring victory, however New Buckenham had a different idea and their heads had not dropped. 10 minutes played and New Buckenham won a free kick centrally and just 20 yards out. Jamie Porter stepped up for New Buckenham and fired the ball low and into the bottom corner to bring one back for the home side.
To continue the lively start to the game New Buckenham got their leveller after 15 minutes when the Moose lost the ball at the edge of the New Buckenham box, New Buckenham broke fast putting the Moose back four under pressure. Gareth Hobley found himself in space on the left hand side with time to smash the ball past Matt Bevan in the Moose goal to even the game at 2-2.
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At this point in the game it was evident that both teams were hungry for victory and it was now a crucial point in the game. New Buckenham suffered a big blow when a key player took a knock to his temple causing his absence for the rest of the game. The following 25 minutes were very even, with both teams competing for every ball and in difficult conditions both teams making mistakes giving possession away easily.
It took until the 40th minute before the next goal came after a penalty was awarded for the Mad Moose after the New Buckenham defender blocked a free kick with his arm. Darren Hills stepped up for the Mad Moose and fired the ball straight down the middle to make it 3-2 to the away side at a crucial time just before the half time whistle blew.
As the second half commenced the Moose tried to command control of the game, however both teams playing good football made it difficult. The conditions played a big part as several mistimed passes were intercepted and the awkward bounce of the ball caused mistakes for both teams.
It took 20 minutes into the second half for the first goal of the second period when substitute Arthur Harries shot from distance, with the ball taking a large deflection off the New Buckenham centre back giving the keeper little chance, this bit of luck gave the Mad Moose a two goal cushion which appeared to relax the team.
Moments later the Moose picked up their fifth when Chris Goodwin took down a ball played over by Bram Goodwin-Wright down perfectly to set himself up for a shot from just inside the box which he took with confidence bulging the back of the net.
The game at this point appeared won, however the Moose still had more to offer, Arthur Harries again stepped up to the mark and hit a thunderous shot with his left foot from 20 yards securing the three points, giving him his second of the game and making it 6-2 to the Mad Moose and moving them back into third position.
It was a well contested game played in the right way by both teams, and the better team on the day coming out victorious.