Mens 3s v K Sports (Cobdown)

Match date: 14/03/20
Opposition: K Sports (Cobdown)
Home or away: Home
Result: 4-1
Scorers: Matt Smith (1), Josh Slater (3)
Man/ Woman of the Match Wynn Roberts
Match Reporter Jon McIver

NHBC's 3rds final home game of the season, played in a slightly surreal fin du siècle atmosphere at a near deserted Lennard Road with almost every other team game at the club cancelled. End of an era for Wynn Roberts too, with (probably) his final game for NBHC after many years and even more goals for the club and its predecessors – his contribution will be remembered by all.

The Cobdown 4s is clearly their development side and they were much improved from the side we beat five nil in the reverse of this fixture in November – there are a lot of them, with coaches and supporters, and obviously a lot has been spent on their perfectly matching kit, but if you don’t play in a tight formation at this level, winning matches is hard.

NHBC 3rds do however play in a tight formation and consequently have only lost three competitive games all season, and were in no mood to lose this one. We started the game confidently and pushed Cobdown firmly back into their half but as always struggled to score against a team with 11 men behind the ball, in spite of having Andy Skipper back for his first game in five months. Gradually however we managed to make progress simply by widening the formation and getting behind the Cobdown defence. The first goal came from precisely that, the ball was moved quickly out of defence, up the right wing, across the goal and onto the stick of Matt Smith who gratefully knocked it home.

For the rest of the half we huffed and puffed, Wynn came on and within a few minutes of his (probably) last appearance was given a ball on the end of his stick which he unluckily knocked against the post. The half time team talk focused on the lack of goals – at only one nil we are always vulnerable. Against Ashford the week before the same thing had happened and they had ragged (literally, their striker clearly kicked the ball in and then celebrated like Maradona, embarrassing) an equaliser in spite of us having 80% possession.
The team talk seemed to work and we went into the second half re-invigorated and Josh scored a well-deserved goal after a few minutes. A second from him seemed to put the game out of reach, but Cobdown were not finished and finally seemed to start playing the ball onto their attackers from deep in midfield. A mix up on the left and a pass to their main striker resulted in Cube rushing out of his goal to kick the ball clear, unfortunately he kicked it straight to their other striker who rounded him and slotted home. Cobdown subsequently got a few short corners but another swift attacking NBHC move enabled Josh to get his hat-trick from Andy's skied shot and the game was over.
No handshakes but congratulations all round, we finish the league a firm third.