Match Report – Woodnesborough vs Tankerton Seniors – 8th March 2015
After two frustrating weeks of no action Tankerton Seniors were back out on the football pitch in search of a further three points to bolster their title challenge. Today’s opponents were Woodnesborough – the only side Tankerton were yet to play this season. With two games against today’s home side up and coming for the Blues, the action of which would take place amidst the glorious sunshine here this afternoon would set the scene for the remaining games to come.
Tankerton started with the following eleven – Crane, Whyte, Agada, Bardrick (C), White, Kupperblatt, Ginnaw, Dale, Russell, Roffe and Radford – with five ready and waiting substitutes in Schild, Rigden, Lavender, Clements and Hinchcliffe. Tankerton were to play on a surface of which was polar opposite to the playing surfaces they’ve been used to in recent weeks. The lack of rain recently had meant the ground was very firm under feet; Tankerton would have to comprehend with this surface, just as they did to the stodgy, heavy pitches of Deal and Monkton.
The need to adapt to the new surface may have contributed to a slow start for Tankerton. However the visitors came out of the blocks firing and put the home side under some considerable pressure during the first 5. The league leaders soon got their reward for an impressive start as the took the lead via Russell and a set piece. A corner floated in from the left hand side found the feet of Agada just inside the penalty area. The centre back’s shot looked certain to hit the goalkeeper however a special moment of ingenuity from Russell saw Tankerton take the lead. Agada seemed keen to claim the assist as intentional, however not many saw reason to agree!
Despite the opening moments of positivity, Tankerton’s hold of the game then seemed to fall away as Woodnesborough responded to going 1-0 down. A dip in communication, a lull in concentration and a sheer lack of further penetration on Tankerton’s part meant the home side where firmly on top of the game and soon were rewarded for this. A lofted through ball directly from a free-kick reached a Woodnesborough forward who had found his way in behind the defence. The forward finished cooly by chipping the ball over Crane and bringing the scores back to level pegging at 1-1.
Many felt this equaliser as a result of a drop in performance by Tankerton would spur the visitors on and they would inevitably pick up their game. This didn’t happen. Woodnesborough caused further worries to the Tankerton defence and many felt they were unlucky not to take the lead.
However there still remained that silver lining around Tankerton’s rather unexpected cloud of sorrow on what was meant to be a delightfully sunny afternoon – set-pieces. Another left sided cross met Kupperblatt inside the box who judged the ball and it’s bounce perfectly to head home and put Tankerton ahead again.
Again many presumed that Tankerton would use the joy of going ahead for the second time to go on and assume control of the remainder of the game. This also didn’t happen. Woodnesborough put Tankerton under a great deal of pressure despite going behind for the second time to the league leaders. This pressure, just as it had done at 1-0 down, heaped rewards for the home side of whom went level once again after a mix up at the back.
Up until half-time, Tankerton remained second best; a description of which has been rarely used in connection with the Blues this season.
The second half performance would have to be of a much greater standard than the first if Tankerton were to win this game and continue to put Herne Bay Youth under pressure in the title chase. The visitors had had time to adapt to the differing pitch conditions and so any dip in performance during the second half would come with little excuses.
Much to the relief of the Tankerton coaches, the visitors’ performance picked up a great deal from the off during the second 45. Woodnesborough attempted to regain some of the control they held during the first 45 however the quality of Tankerton meant this was not a possibility.
Tankerton had several chances via Radford, Roffe and Kupperblatt however the home side’s keeper really came into the limelight when needed.
But this Woodnesborough resilience didn’t last too long – as many had anticipated. There are no prizes for guessing from which form of play Tankerton’s third of the game came from – yet another left sided set-piece. Clements put the ball in and the Woodnesborough keeper did well to prevent the ball from going directly in. However Hinchcliffe was there to smash home the re-bound – 3-2 now was the scoreline in favour of the visitors.
From then on Tankerton maintained control of what was once a very close encounter. As far as chances were concerned for Woodnesborough there were far and few between. Another lob through ball from the home side produced a half chance of which failed to trouble Crane. Tankerton on the other hand were in search of the conclusive fourth goal. This didn’t come until the last 5 minutes whereby a threatening run, typical of Roffe, cutting in from the left hand side set up Radford who continued his goalscoring form in recent weeks.
So after all of the struggles felt by Tankerton during the first 45, the league leaders further justified their title by claiming their 5th consecutive win. With 4 games remaining, Tankerton will be hoping to continue this Championship-winning worthy form (with added hopes for a slip up on a Herne Bay’s part). Anything is possible.