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We displayed our true grit

PUBLISHED: 11:12 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:22 05 July 2010

SHORTEN BRIEF



SATURDAY delivered a fantastic result and a performance of true grit and determination in pretty extreme conditions.

We arrived at Needham Market to a playing surface that was better designed for potato planting than a football match and it was a somewhat surprising decision that the officials deemed it fit for a game and just as surprising that our hosts were prepared to do their pitch further damage.

SHORTEN BRIEF

SATURDAY delivered a fantastic result and a performance of true grit and determination in pretty extreme conditions.

We arrived at Needham Market to a playing surface that was better designed for potato planting than a football match and it was a somewhat surprising decision that the officials deemed it fit for a game and just as surprising that our hosts were prepared to do their pitch further damage.

All credit goes to the players from both sides who rolled up their sleeves and got on with it and in the end produced an entertaining afternoon of football.

The officials had a significant part to play in the events of the afternoon with an array of cautions and three dismissals one of which included yours truly! in a match that was far from being “dirty.”

The first big decision came early in the first half where Justin Fox was clearly fouled in the box by the last defender and although this was directly in view of the referee it took an alert assistant to make the call, which left the referee with no option but to dismiss the Needham skipper.

Robert Woodcock dispatched the spot kick with nonchalant ease. We then cranked up the pressure and deservedly went 2-0 up from a neat Allicion Blake finish from a pin point Louis Blois corner.

Then controversy struck - Justin Fox was clearly fouled by the touchline and the referee decided to ignore this. In turn Fox tracked his opponent and fouled him.

At worst this would be a yellow card. However the decision was a red and the opportunity to level things up had been taken by the referee in what can only be described as a ridiculous decision.

When I shared my opinions on the decision with the assistant I was duly removed from the dug-out and cautioned for the first time in 10 years of football management.

Had the referee taken the same action on all similar challenges thereafter we would have ended up with just the goalkeepers on the pitch. This decision clearly affected our players and we played out the first half without creating further opportunities.

Then came the injuries. We had already lost Joe Jefford in the warm-up, which had given Danny Tacon an opportunity for his first start for a while which he grabbed with both hands and put in an excellent performance.

We had to withdraw Robbie Horton just after the break with a chronic dead leg and not long after we lost Ian Dawson with a hamsting in jury,

So these injuries, along with the dismissal of Fox, meant we had now lost our entire midfield! With all of these changes it was not a surprise that Needham took advantage and started to dominate proceedings in the middle of the park.

However against the run of play we had a fantastic one-on-one opportunity for Nathan Stone to make it 3-0 however he hit his shot straight at the keeper and it was not long after this that our hosts got themselves well and truly in the game from a spot-kick.

It was then pretty much backs to the wall as we defended with great determination and gave everything to protect our lead.

In the end though another great all round team performance led to an excellent away win against a very good side who really should be higher up in the table based on the quality that they have.

We are nursing the injured this week and hope to have them all back available for the visit of Stanway on Saturday where we will be working hard for a win following our last two disappointing 0-0 home scorelines.

Nick Shorten was speaking to Mark Boggis

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