To & Fro in friendly against the Tigers.
By Ian Blackburn
Herons grab second half Equaliser as match finishes all square even after a penalty shoot-out.
With team morale still high from last weeks win the Herons came out in force with all nine players in attendance. This week saw them host Croftons' Tigers in another local derby match and a tougher fixture expected after the Herons suffered a heavy defeat in the league fixture at the Tigers just a few months ago. The match started with the Herons put under pressure from the whistle by a lively set of Tigers. Some good tackling from Daisy, Noah, and Ben along with a few saves from Oliver helped Josh and Jonathon have a couple of counter-attacks but it was the Tigers who broke the deadlock and scored their first around the five-minute mark. This prompted an increased effort from last weeks MOM Jonathon who started to come deeper and help the defense leaving Josh to hold the forward position ready to pounce on any counter-attacks. With the added help at the back, the Herons started to move the ball forward as a unit and defend higher up the pitch. The Herons almost had their first goal when a break-away run from Josh saw his shot palmed by the Tigers Keeper and the ball bobbled along the goal line only for the Tigers defenders to shepherd the ball for the keeper to claim at the 2nd attempt.
The first round of substitutions saw Alfie, Louie and Taylor come on for Josh, Ben, and Noah. The equalizing goal came a couple of minutes later after some strong running forward from Alfie up the center and Daisy on the left in support of Jonathon whos determination allowed him to get free of his marker and hit his shot past the Crofton Keeper. With their spirits raised the Herons were back on the attack again, but were subjected to some good counter-attack play from the Tigers as a number of breakaways were halted by Oliver sweeping away numerous long balls. Last-ditch tackling from Taylor coupled with Daisys' clearances and Louie running the ball to touch held the counter-attacks at bay. It was the Herons who scored next however as their attacking play saw a great pass from Daisy across the box release Jonathon towards goal only for a Tigers defender to unfairly bring him down on the edge of the box. That was all the incentive Jonathon needed to hit a great free-kick over the Crofton wall and past the Keeper.
The Second round of substitutes saw Jonathon, Daisy and Oliver come off for Noah, Ben and, Josh with Taylor moving to goal-keeping duties. He was called upon almost immediately after a Crofton break saw him make a good save at the feet of the attacker. The Tigers continued to apply pressure and some confusion in the box after Louie made a good tackle, let a Tiger in to square the ball across the goal for a second Tiger to react quickest and stab the ball home to make it 2-2. The Herons were put on the backfoot and conceded a third just before half-time as the Tigers broke free and a good shot beat the Herons Keeper. Halftime came a couple of minutes later with the Herons 2-3 down.
More rolling subs in the second half and the Parents were treated to more entertaining end to end football with both teams going for it. It was the Herons that bagged the only Goal of the second half after some determined play saw Jonathon break through to get his shot away and score his hat-trick to make it 3-3. That's how the 40 Minutes ended, a penalty shoot-out still couldn't separate the teams as Louie made some good saves as Goalkeeper, only for the Tigers to do the same. A fair result from an end to end game throughout, the Herons are improving and gelling well together with the new players complimenting the players already here.