K Sports 2nd XI returned to action this week against their club mates, K Sports 3rd XI, and what a test it was to come back to. Coming up against the 3rd team minnows, there definitely was something fishy going on. The 2nd XI dominated possession, and produced wave after wave of attacks but couldn’t quite click in the final third. Andy Stiff swept up anything potentially building from the 3rd XI, and started attacks by moving the ball through their midfield. 2’s captain, Andy Smith, and Simon Boniface worked well on short corners, having impressive service from Joe Dowling and Jamie Carmillet putting in.
However, the 2nd XI didn’t have it all their own way, with an industrious 3rd XI producing opportunities for John Ward and Hayden O’Shea. Despite good approach play, they failed to force goalkeeper Aaron Divall into any noteable saves.
At half time, it was clearly the away side who were happier with the 0-0 scoreline, with the 2’s frustrations threatening to get the better of them. They showed grit and determination to come through though, piling more pressure on the 3rd XI in the second half.
It really was end to end stuff, with both sides having their chances, however it was the 2nd XI who were having a few more chances than the 3rd XI. Goalkeeper Mike Newmarch being called upon on several occasions, with the post also helping. Short corners, reaction saves and deflections onto the crossbar and post were the results of more attacking play from the 2nd XI… it was coming!
Joe Dowling and Martin Dadd were solid again at the back for the 2nd XI, stopping anything that came through and releasing quickly to start another attack. The 3’s did keep themselves in the game with some real athletic performances, combined with evident experience and ability, but that wasn’t to put the 2’s off.
Finally, a quick passing move and a smart pass from Andy Stiff released Andy Smith at the top of the D. He managed to turn and strike through the defenders legs and catch the keeper off guard, giving the 2nd XI a well deserved lead. It was far from attractive or their best, but once again K Sports 2nd XI produced what was required to get the points.
For 3rd XI captain Jerry Montgomery, this was the most enjoyable inter-club game he has played in for years. After the 3rd XI had settled from the early onslaught, they took the game to the 2nd XI, and Montgomery felt the 2’s were quite shocked at the skill levels shown by the 3’s. Ultimately, the 2’s won the day with a really good strike from their skipper, Andy Smith, and it was to be the only goal of the game. A fantastic 3rd team performance, which just shows how this mix of youth and age is maturing into a fine, competitive side.