27th September 2003 - Hadleigh Pines (A)

After playing Hadleigh only a week previously, it was a case of here we go again last Saturday. Unfortunately, the number of players training on Tuesday out numbered the players available for the match. We had 11 players. This gave no room for injury, fatigue or any other mishap, and to be fair to the 11 who took to the field, we gave everything we could but unfortunately it proved not to be enough.

We started with a slightly unfamiliar set up, with John Hartnett and Alan Arkins swapping positions on the pitch, Alan played a great game in midfield while John dropped back to centre half to assist the back line in the speed department.... ! Malcolm returned after a long absence to play right wing and he had a fine game both attacking and defending. Micheal made his debut and proved to be a great target man for the odd Villa long ball forward!

Our goal came from an indirect free kick awarded after the Hadleigh 'keeper had picked up a back pass. Alan rolled the ball to Sean who hit a sweet left foot shot past the goalkeeper and the defenders on the line. 1-0 to Villa and things were looking good. Unfortunately the second half was totally one way traffic, it wasn't that Hadleigh improved dramatically, but we couldn' t hold the ball up front which meant we had to sit back and try to soak up the pressure. After more than half an hour on the back foot and with little respite the inevitable equaliser arrived and two minutes later a still demoralised defence conceded the second goal that proved to be Hadleigh's winner a simple tap in from 6 yards by their tall No.9.

It was a performance that underlined the importance of a squad. It would have been nice to have the opportunity to make some substitutions when things were going wrong in the second half but with no one on the side lines that obviously wasn't an option. No's 1 to 11 played their hearts out but just came up short. In future it would be nice for the rest of the squad to give them a dig out.