This match survived an early morning pitch inspection, yet still the playing surface was like glue. Although both sides coped with this difficult pitch well, and it was an exciting and good match to watch, the surface meant some tired legs at the end.
Moors Academy fielded the same starting eleven that did so well in thumping Shipston last Saturday. The Moors indicated their intent in the winning a second minute corner. Two minutes later Josh Parsons had a great shot blocked. Then Mullally, Andrews and Hirst were involved in a beautiful piece of attacking football. It was unfortunate that it ended with an off-side flag.
Town responded and Nitiri did well to save at the feet of Moore. The Moors won a secession of corners, but could not turn them into goals. Norcott saved a Taylor free kick, and just as it looked as if would be all Moors, Town forced the home side to head from the goal line to prevent a goal. Parsons produced a great cross for Shade. His shot was off target. All this, and we still had only played for fifteen minutes.
Shade and Mullally won a corner from which Willock headed a good chance wide. There were some physical challenges from Town, but Referee Genders (who had a good game) did not deem them worthy of a whistle. It seemed to many in the large crowd, the largest home crowd this season, that there were some off the ball incidents that also went unseen by the Officials.
The Moors were playing really well and had the lion’s share of possession, as well as spending most time in their opponents half of the park.
At the thirty minute mark, Town were defending desperately. It was a case of “all hands to the pump” for the visitors. It seemed only a matter of time before the Moors scored. It was not to be. Although well outplayed, Town held on and even managed a few shots themselves. However their aim was even worse than that of The Moors’.
Time and again Moors made their way into the Town Penalty Area, only for the final ball to be wanting, or the shot off target. When they did get the shot on target, it was either blocked or saved by Norcott in the Town goal.
At the break, Moors were well on top, but just could not score. The pattern of the first half was repeated in the second, at the start at least, Town were forced to defend in numbers, yet managed to keep Moors at bay. Then, Town came into the game. Woeful shooting kept the score even.
As both sides went for the one goal that was obviously going to win the game, there were one or two nasty incidents which referee Andy Genders handled extremely well.
With eight minutes to go, Callum Coyle had the golden opportunity to win the game for the Moors, but – oh dear – he was wide from eight yards with an open goal at which to aim. He hung his head in shameful disappointment. If there was one player you would want to score in these circumstances, it would be Coyle. But there we are, even the best miss sometimes.
Many in the crowd were saying “Fair result” as they made their way from the Beehive. Your correspondent does not agree. The young Moors did more than enough to win this game, and would have done so but for their poor shooting. Town will be the happier of the two side to have earned one point.
Afterwards Little Sam Manoochehri told me, “Shooting practice this week, I think!” It summed up the afternoon.
Moors Academy: Nitiri; MacNally; Hirst; Willock; Taylor ©; Bennett (Medford); Shade (Hansard); Andrews; Mullally; Coyle; Parsons. Sub not used Clarke. Yellow Cards for Taylor and Willock.
Report by Ron Crane.