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Magnets 3 - 3 Old Cranleighan Barnstormers (A)

29th January 2024

By Mark Waller

Scorers: Waller, Beaney C, Beaney R

Squad: Barnicoat D, Beaney C, Beaney R, Dowthwaite, Frost, Green, Jackson, Laws, Michael, Sharpe, Todd, Waller, Wingfield

After a bye week, the Magnets were keen to resume their league season and waited nervously on the results of a late pitch inspection at OCs. Fortunately, the pitch cleared and was deemed fit to play. 

Now it was just a matter of how to cope with the much younger legs of the OCs who beat us handsomely in the corresponding home fixture early in the season. What we really wanted was for our pilates boys to lead a team warm-up. Sadly, they were both unavailable so we had to resort to the standard half-hearted routine.

That lack of sharpness soon made itself felt as we faced wave after wave of OCs attacking moves. They were winning all the 50-50 battles and moving the ball around with confidence. When we got possession we were less composed and everything was a little fraught. Despite valiantly holding out for 20 minutes or so, the defence was unable to stem a flurry of goals from the OCs, who found themselves 3-0 up and dominating play.

As the first half drew to a close, the Magnets rallied a little and pushed up more. Slowly but surely we grew in confidence and just before the break Jacko tore through the defence before playing a pass across the goal leaving Waldo to deflect the ball in.  

The half time talk was calm and everyone recognised what had to change. We had soaked up a lot of pressure and were still in the game. The second half was a much more open affair. OCs still had plenty of opportunities to build on their lead, but the defence and Frosty in particular kept them at bay. In turn everyone else started to play the ball around with much more confidence and this gave us some breathing space. This paid off when a glorious interchange of passes from left to right found Luke in space. He played an inch perfect pass to Chris, unmarked in the circle, who swept the ball past the GK, making it 3-2.  

As the half went on the game became a little more fractious and both teams had players sent to the sin bin. We did very well to hold on whilst reduced to ten men and soon after managed to find an equaliser from another good counter-attack. Jacko was again at the heart of things, this time setting up Richard to score, bringing us to 3-3.

The closing stages of the game were tense as OCs pressed for the winner. However, a late flurry of PCs came to nothing and we were delighted to hear the final whistle. The result was somewhat against the run of play, and we rode our luck at times, but it is testament to a side that refused to give and deserved its reward. Frosty in goal was especially magnificent, saving everything thrown at him in the second half, even stopping one shot with his face. Jacko also had a good game. But everyone worked hard to try and stay with the pace and weather the occasional onslaught. With no PCs and three goals from three shots, we may have been lucky, but a valuable and hard-earned point nonetheless.