And so it was we taste bitter defeat once again. A marginally improved performance, yes, but even so our Saturday ended once more in Villa heartache. A pre-match decision to switch pitches from a superstitious Bill saw us move down to the bottom pitch at our beloved Falmer, where we had played so well in recent, winning times. A good warm-up saw us raring to go once the whistle blew, in cold, crisp conditions. The opening twenty minutes or so saw us back to something approaching our dominant, free-flowing best, moving the ball quickly through the centre and out to the wings, with some dangerous balls coming in from both flanks. Michael in particular caught the eye, as he did all game, with his evergy and commitment. He may not be able to catch a pig in an alley, but that boy can play football.
The opposition had some pace up front and they tried to exploit this by playing numerous balls over the top to chase on to, coming close to breaking through on a couple of occasions. Jack Cressy made an impressive debut though, staying solid and dealing with the threat. As the half wore on though our touch seemed to desert us and we kept giving the ball away, inviting pressure. 'Sort out your touch. Don't give the ball away. Stop inviting pressure', suggested Bill at half time. Magic words from the boss.
[caption id="attachment_1028" align="alignnone" width="150"] Bill Clifford[/caption]
Unfortunately ten minutes in to the second half we gave the ball away through a bad touch, and their fiery midfield enforcer cracked an absolute beauty in from 30 yards plus, over Adam's head and in off the inside of the post. You don't stop those, as they say. Feeling slightly hard done by we continued to battle without creating any real clear cut opportunities, and ten minutes after their first unbelievable goal they scored another. This time straight from a corner, too high for Adam's despairing leap, scraping the underside of the bar this time. You don't stop those, we said again to ourselves. Particularly when your keeper is only four foot three.
[caption id="attachment_1029" align="alignnone" width="206"] Adam Byrom[/caption]
To our credit we took the game to them for the last twenty minutes or so, with Aidan having two headers saved, one an absolute top drawer effort from their long-kicking keeper after a lovely stooping effort from our sub.
So there it was. We lost again. Four on the spin. Yes, it hurts, but the spirit in this squad is strong. We just need to remember to score more than them next week. Simple, innit.