Lutterworth Ath Vets 1 Harboro Town Vets 1
Ian Too Nice To Lutterworth
Ian Too Nice to Lutterworth
The penultimate game of the league season saw the mighty Bees head off to local rivals Lutterworth for another 6 pointer in the battle for the title.
The warm up saw Kris get quite a sweat on. He hadn't done any running, but had seen the bounce on a concrete laden pitch and had an inkling his touch may be tested a little!
With a few seemingly already on their post season hols (not naming names Stan, Woj & Motters), Harborough were still able to field a strong team. Lardy returned from his loved up weekend of feeding chocolate covered strawberries to himself and through default was back in goal. Nice Guy, Shambles, Adam and Dependable Neil (?) made up the back 4. Kris, Gaz O, Rent a Rod and Robbo covered the midfield, with Chris and Twinny up top. The bench had the cardio twins of Scott and Fletch alongside HTFC#1 Chee.
As expected, the pitch was not conducive to flowing football. Harborough kicked down the hill in the first half. This could have been an advantage if Lardy could connect properly with any of his kicks. Shambles lived up to his name early on as Lutterworth attacked down the right and crossed into the 6 yard box. While Lardy was dreaming of his next romantic encounter, Shambles appeared perfectly positioned to clear, but decided to lift his foot over the ball and let it bounce across the 6 yard box and thankfully disappear to the right touch line. An early air kick £1 in the pot.
Lutterworth were fielding 2 new centre halves that were rumoured to be ringers and they ambitiously tried to play out from the back on the dodgy surface. The pace of Chris, Twinny and Robbo closing them down created errors. Kris assisted with some strong ball watching on the right wing! This effort led to HTFC starting to dominate the possession, with most of the good work coming down the left. Decent crosses, corners and free kicks were generally well dealt with by the Lutterworth defence. It was going to take something special to break the deadlock. That is exactly what happened as we netted with probably the best footballing goal of the season. Lardy started things off with a throw out to Robbo on the left wing. Slick passing led to Chris picking up the ball on the run as he entered the box. A quick shimmy and pull back from the line saw Twinny show great desire at the near post to slide in a beauty from a yard out.
Lutterworth were struggling to trouble the back 4. Our main area of concern came when Lardy decided to venture out way further than recommended. With some heavy momentum gained downhill, stopping proved difficult. In his infinite wisdom, Lardy decided he would try and handle the ball outside the box, which would have been a stone wall red card. For once his handling abilities came to the rescue as he completely missed the bouncing ball and Nice Guy recovered things to all too casually play out to the left wing as Lardy 'recovered' his position. By this time it was pretty much half time!
Not sure what was said at half time as I was warming up, but whatever it was didn't work! Forgetting the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", mantra, the management changed the shape. Bringing Scott on for Twinny, but in a holding midfield role, we moved to a 4-5-1 formation.
With the slope, large kicks from their keeper and only little Chris as an out ball, we dropped deeper and struggled to retain possession up field and ended up under far more pressure than in the first half. Fletch got out of his wheelchair to come on for Kris, who seemed to be trying to avoid his inevitable Chump of the Week/Season award by avoiding the ball and any of the action.
Things then got messy and further neck ache ensued for the central midfielders who had scrapped tirelessly as the ball bounced around them. Adam Law had a brilliantly resolute performance at the back, with good support from his defensive partners. Shambles best effort was talking himself out of a red card for his 'accidental' upending of their centre forward who "just ran into me ref, honest!". It was a relief to see the dangerous free kick float over the bar and we seemed to be holding on to the 3 points. We had evened up the pressure and the opposition were visibly tiring.
However, from a Lutterworth corner on the right with 10mins to go, we self destructed. By 'we', I mean Nice Guy Ian decided to nod into his own net at the back post as the ball across the box bounced to him under zero pressure. He had 3 options. 1 - Wait for Lardy to come and claim it (not really an option). 2 - Let the misplaced ball run out for a throw at the far side. 3 - Turn and hoof the ball up the right wing for Fletch to bring under control, beat 3 defenders and dink over the onrushing melt of a keeper (why didn't he choose this?!). Instead he chose option 4 and placed his 50p shaped bald head onto the ball for the perfect top corner finish! 1-1, heads in hands and the only relief was for the leading candidates for Chump of the Week.
In a desperate attempt to regain our lead we scrapped and got physical upfield. Scott made less friends than Stan had accused their Irish midfielder of having last time we played on the same pitch. We couldn't quite create a decent chance. Robbo had a good free kick opportunity that didn't come off along with final balls from Fletch that didn't find their mark.
So a frustrating 1-1 draw played out, which proved costly as other results went our way. Still a mathematical possibility of winning he league, so a win is a must in the final game of the season at home to GNG. We win and lose as a team (and draw). Not Ian's fault, but he cruised home in Chump of the Week anyway!