It was a long, quiet drive back from Chelmsford, with everyone reflecting on the bizarre circumstances in which we lost. At this time of the season, the action comes thick and fast and we’re soon presented with an opportunity to get things back on track.
Chippenham Town Lineup:
East Thurrock United Lineup:
Odds: Chippenham Town=1/2, Draw=13/5, East Thurrock United=9/2
Referee: Mr. Tom Reeves
I send the lads out with an instruction to focus play down the right because East Thurrock deploy an inverted left wing back and concede goals regularly from crosses from the right. For the same reason, Terrique Anderson starts in place of Jack Compton – Compton prefers to play as an inside forward, whilst Anderson’s best role is as a winger.
It appears to have been a good instruction to have provided the lads. In the 8th minute, George Rigg crosses to the far post from the right. Jordan Adekunle meets the cross with his head from 4 yards out. He’s straining every sinew to reach the ball and although he connects, is unable to keep the ball down. The ball hits the crossbar and falls to Anderson, who is 2 yards out.
It’s a simple tap-in and Anderson records his first ever goal for the club on his first start. Truth be told, he’s unlikely to ever score an easier goal. Probably throughout his career, never mind this loan spell.
Jordan Adekunle has his name taken by Mr. Reeves in the 10th minute. Despite the great start, it would be fair to say that we don’t kick on and the game drifts along. Until the 31st minute. Dielna lofts a ball over the top of our defence and Higgins runs on to it. He’s their danger man and makes no mistake, finishing low from 12 yards to pull the visitors level.
I’d like to see a response from the team before half time. We were odds-on favourites coming into the match and have so far done little to justify it. With three minutes to go until the break, George O’Neill tries his luck from 30 yards and watches his shot hit the bar on the way over.
We head into the break and I’m not happy. It’s not too far shy of the scene in Mike Bassett where they show his half time team talk against Mexico. I make it clear that I expect much better. I’ve been particularly disappointed in Hussein Mohammed and aggressively tell him that he’s not been good enough. As far as I’m concerned, he’s not been that great a signing for us so far and if I take him off around the hour mark (which as things are currently going, I will be), he’s set for a spell warming the bench and Seika Jatta will start matches.
I expect the lads are quite happy to leave the dressing room behind and head back out onto the pitch. My team talk certainly seems to have had an impact and we start the second period on the front foot. Mike Jones chips the ball into East Thurrock’s area in the 49th minute and Adekunle cuts the ball back. The cut back reaches Mohammed, who is 10 yards out.
Mohammed coolly slots home a first time shot for his 5th goal of the season and earn himself a temporary reprieve. But one goal doesn’t mean he gets to stroll around like he did throughout the first half…
Lee joins Adekunle in Mr. Reeves’ book in the 50th minute. Two minutes later, Anderson passes to Mohammed. Hickford tackles Mohammed and the ball runs loose. Anderson reacts quickly and thumps the ball goalwards from 20 yards.
It arrows into the top corner for Anderson’s 2nd goal of the season (and game). His first goal may have been as simple as they come, but this one is quite a strike. He’s every right to celebrate wildly and it gives us a bit of breathing space in the game.
On the hour mark, O’Neill win the ball in midfield and runs into the space that opens up in front of him. When East Thurrock begin to close him down, he passes to Mohammed, who is 25 yards out and has his back to goal.
Wow! Not to be outdone by Anderson, Mohammed scores arguably an even better goal. He received the ball, turned and fired to register his 6th goal of the season and 2nd of the game. We’re comfortably in control now and justifying the pre-match odds.
Higgins is cutting a lonely and frustrated figure up front for East Thurrock and it’s little surprise when he has his name taken by Mr. Reeves in the 61st minute. One minute later, it’s a double change as Tendai Matinyadze and Compton replace Yan Klukowski and Adekunle respectively.
Rigg sends in a low cross from the right in the 67th mintue. Mohammed is 6 yards out at the near post and helps it along.
That’s his hat-trick! An 18 minute hat-trick and it’s his 7th goal of the season. That team talk seems to have worked wonders on him and he’s producing the kind of performance I was hoping to get on a regular basis from him.
Five goals is good, but six would be better. We continue to press on. Anderson sends in a low cross from the right in the 81st minute and Matinyadze hits a first time shot from 16 yards. Giddens gets down well and diverts the ball behind for a corner.
Prestedge fires a free kick just over Brad House’s crossbar in the 84th minute. Even if it had gone in, it would have been too little, too late. Surely! Although it would have taken a bit of gloss off the win. I bring Jatta on in the 89th minute, with Mohammed getting the opportunity to accept the applause from all around the ground for his hat-trick performance. Minutes later, Mohammed jogs back on to the pitch to collect the match ball from Mr. Reeves.
Chippenham Town Ratings:
Klukowski 6.8, Adekunle 8.1, Mohammed 9.6
East Thurrock United Ratings:
League Position: 7th
An outstanding 22 minutes at the start of the second half saw us score 4 times and blow East Thurrock away. Hussein Mohammed, who is named Player of the Day, grabbed himself a hat-trick and showed why I signed him in the summer. I expect more of the same from him in the future and he can’t rest on having had one good performance.
The tactical emphasis of playing down the right worked well, with four of the goals originating from there (only Mohammed’s first came from elsewhere and that was a cross from the left). I feel that we exploited it well and Anderson fully justified my decision in picking him ahead of Compton.
Gary Horgan completes his coaching National B licence. As that news comes in, I request to start a National A licence course and the board agree to it.
I publicly declare my interest in signing Tyrone Ofori. This leads to a vote on Twitter and 65% of the fans are in favour of him being brought in to the club.