MATCH REPORT | HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS 2 MILDENHALL TOWN 1
The Hall Open Season with Defeat in Pulsating Encounter at the Scarley Road Stadium
A new season, and the first new ground..Heybridge is a small town near Malden in Essex, and their ground is very nice...two decent stands, and tidy clubhouse and decent burgers. The journey with the Bartons (1,2 and 3) was fine once we turned back from Fiveways.
In reality, it was no further than say Clacton or Wivenhoe but there are at least 4 ways to get there, and we tried bits of all of them. We arrived with half an hour to spare, and managed to have a little relaxation before the game started.
New season, new physio, Georgie, new management (Liam Bull and Shaun) although I understand Dean will be back on Tuesday, new players, Curry, Kerrins, Taylor, Roach, Avis and Chambers Shaw, and a feeling of a new beginning for us.
We soon found out what this league is about, as Swifts set about us with intent, playing sharp football, leaving us trailing in their wake. It wasn't long before they went ahead through Reece Grant who burst through a flat defence, and slotted past Roach with a cool finish.
Swifts continued to dominate, and soon doubled their lead after 37 minutes through Grant again with another top notch finish.
I looked at the Apicellas and we were thinking the same thing...this is something different to say the least.
Half time came and went, with Chelsea being 3 down at home to Burnley, so it was not only us slow out of the blocks.
Second half saw us revert to the old 442, with Simmo coming on for Taylor. After 4 minutes we had a real chance with Dan Brown bringing a save out of their keeper.
What was happening? We were getting into it now, we were starting to dominate. Josh Curry was starting to get on top of trappy Kyle Walker lookalike Reece Grant on our side, and Hall were now getting a toehold in the contest.
Bacon then was introduced for Avis.., winning headers, winning corners, we were getting right into this, goal line clearances, if only we could get one, we might have a chance. The referee, who was dishing out plenty of cards to 'dirty Hall' relented, and awarded us a penalty with 15 minutes to go.
Up stepped the rejuvenated Bacon to slot the ball home with their goalkeeper scrabbling on the turf in the opposite corner. Perhaps he had lost a contact lens or something.
The final twist was the sending off of KERRINS for a second offence as he brought down his opponent high up the pitch. It was really the first foul that cost him, 89 minutes earlier, that made him walk a tightrope for so long.
The referee added 5 minutes, of uneventful overtime, and that was that.
The Swifts supporters said that we did well and should do well this season. There was certainly grounds for optimism with the second half performance, but I can tell you that if this first match is anything to go by, this league will be tough..but we will learn quickly, and it will be exciting. The quality of football was there to see.