Improvement not Enough
UCFL Div. 3
This article was originally published in blog:
Improvement not Enough
18 May 2013
Terenure FC 3rds 2 - 4 AGP 2nds
After the carnage of Wednesday it was hard to know what to expect on Saturday afternoon. It was agreed that there needed to be a wholesale change in attitude and performance for this game and from the early stages of play this was in evidence. In the first 45 minutes we were pressing high up the pitch, playing at a good tempo and keeping AGP on the back foot. There was a minor hiccup when we conceded a soft penalty for handball but justice was served when Dylan saved comfortably. From that point we looked much the more likely to open the scoring with David Fennelly going closest with a strike off the post.
At half time all was well. We were aware that too often this season performances have dropped away in the second half and there was a determination to make a strong start. It couldn't have gone any better when Mark Gleeson prodded home after a scramble in the box with just 90 seconds of the half elapsed. That should have been the perfect platform to build a solid victory but 90 seconds later it was 1-1. From the resumption we conceded a dangerous free kick and as it was floated into the box, it glanced the head of our defender and Dylan just couldn't quite get enough on it to keep it out.
The reaction to the goal on the pitch said so much about the fragility of our confidence at the moment, players had their heads down and it looked more like we had just gone 3-0 down than conceded an equaliser. The message from the line was that we were back to where we were at half time, so just keep playing with the same organisation, but we reverted back to the shapeless, panicky and headless team of Wednesday, suddenly passes were going astray and we were getting on each otherís backs. It was hard to fathom from the side line how things could change so dramatically.
For the next twenty minutes or more it was all AGP and we started to gift them chances. After 70 minutes it was 3-1 AGP and the two goals were a direct result of coughing up cheap possession in dangerous areas, with the third goal not helped by poor communication of the offside line.
With 15 to go I made my long awaited (by me anyway!) comeback from injury and minutes later we pulled it back to 3-2. Gary Revins made a strong run into the AGP box and won a corner, I swung it into the near post and Dave Fennelly did the rest with a firm header. At this stage the game was wide open and there were chances at both ends, Matt Dean had an effort cleared off the line from another corner before AGP broke our high defensive line and added a fourth goal to kill the game.
For the most part the performance was so much better than recent games, but there's a fragility about the team at the moment that is hard to understand. Too many good players seem to have lost all confidence in themselves when met by the slightest set back. To ensure survival we need two points from our last two games of the season, but against a Limekiln side that won the division three shield and only lost on penalties to league winners Chapelizod in the Bedlow cup final. Alternatively if Grant City beat Three Trout Rovers on Wednesday we are also safe for another season in division three.