A brave performance from TRUK United FC saw us get knocked out of the National Affinity Cup at the first hurdle despite a battling performance and on another day would have come away with the W as it was a case of fine margins that settled this exciting goal fest at the excellent Leatherhead FC on a humid but dry afternoon.
TRUK United kicked off but struggled in the early stages keeping hold of the ball as FFC dictated the early exchanges but they failed to create anything of note and it was indeed TRUK who had the first good chance when Currall struck a shot just wide from the edge of the box. FFC continued to press and had a big shout for a penalty after 12 minutes when Paula met their CF head on but the referee and lino who were both in great positions said “No Pen” in unison.
With TRUK soaking up the pressure from FFC they won the ball back and fed Sammy who from inside her own half spotted a run from Curral and pinged a ball over the defenders head which Curral ran onto and lobbed it over the advancing keeper we all held our breath willing the ball to go in but it bounced back of the post and into the Keepers arms.
The game was end to end with both teams having good chances, Paula made a couple of good saves to keep her clean sheet intact whilst at the other end we again hit the wood work with the bar being rattled and then we had the best chance of the game as Sam fed Nicky who beat the keeper to the ball nicking it past him unable to get his shot away a scramble followed which saw Martin rattle the post for a third time!
The match continued in the same vein for the next 15 minutes or so….FFC had plenty of the ball and caused the odd bit of panic in the TRUK Penalty area but we held firm and every time we attacked we looked like we would score with Sammy and Sam creating chances from midfield and all our forward players getting in good positions but we failed to break the deadlock.
After 38 minutes TRUK fell behind for the first time in the game when FFC’s key player ran through to a long ball beating Paula to the ball and tapping into the empty net with TRUK’s call for offside falling on deaf ears.
Despite this set back and with a couple of injuries the pack was shuffled and the match continued to be more like a basketball match with both teams taking turns to attack. Number 19 for FFC saw his free header well saved and Nicky then had a great chance but dragged his shot wide as we searched for an equaliser before the break. We did think we had our first goal as a flowing move saw Sammy find Nicky whose Diving header flew into the top corner from 12 yards! A Brilliant goal but our celebrations were cut short by the Lino’s flag! The half time whistle went and we headed back to the changing room 1 down but well in the game.
FFC got the 2nd half underway but it was TRUK who were the quickest out of the blocks as they set about grabbing an equaliser and it wasn’t long until history was made….Sammy set Trey free who knocked it across to Martin who smashed it back into the corner of the net the keeper had just left and we were level! 1-1 and game on.
Disaster was to strike within 5 minutes of being level however! A succession of fouls on Sammy led to a FK on the edge of the box…Lucy looked to roll back the years and stood over the ball and for some reason TRUK had loaded the box…the FK was saved by the Keeper and he set FFC on a counter attack a long ball should have been no trouble for Paula to deal with but she stumbled, fell over, lost her glasses and at the same time the ball…the number 19 picked up the loose ball and fed it to number 11 who slammed it into the net despite Phil’s best efforts. Within a few minutes it was 3-1 as a stunned TRUK team wondered what had hit them!
Back in the game
Despite going 3-1 down TRUK’s heads did not drop if anything they raised their game with each and every member of the team putting in a shift. The back 4 which consisted of Zack and Natalie who are both forwards continued work hard keeping FFC at bay and continued to win the ball and give it to our Midfield who continued to create chances with Sammy and Sam running themselves into the ground! Following a succession of corners we managed to grab a goal back when Sammy sold their number 8 a ticket to nowhere and she laid it across to Trey who slammed the ball into the bottom corner and it was 2-3 and game on!
With the score at 2-3 you could sense that TRUK were on the accendency and went looking for what would be a well deserved equaliser and they did not have to wait very long as Sammy yet again won the ball back and set Martin free who knocked it round the keeper and into the end of the net to put TRUK deservedly level.
Come on TRUK
At this point there looked to be only one winner as TRUK started to knock the ball around with a new found confidence and belief with the ball getting delivered into the FFC box at every opportunity but the ball would not drop for any of our forwards to take advantage.
TRUK were to go 4-3 down in controversial circumstances… a long punt was being dealt with by Natalie who was running back to clear up…an FFC forward who was in an offside position and just walking looked at Natalie and walked straight into her path stopping her in her tracks…Number 19 for FFC was then allowed to run through and scored under no pressure…the goal was allowed to stand and we were 4-3 down and a few minutes later there was disbelief in the TRUK Camp as Martin was chopped down by the left back in the Penalty area but the referee ( who was in a good position to be fair) waved the shouts away and not before too long it was 5-3 as number 19 broke free from a barren TRUK defence who were searching for yet another equaliser.
A final throw of the dice saw Sam, Hayley, Roxanne and Stacy being introduced to the fray and again TRUK had yet another penalty shout waved away after Trey had his legs taken away from him…A late goal for FFC put the gloss on the score line that was harsh on TRUK but for a first game together everyone did themselves and TRUK United FC.
A really nice touch from FFC who formed a guard of honour for TRUK as we left the pitch…we wish them all the very best in the next round of the competition.
TRUK UNITED FC Paula Griffin, Matt Bacon, Sakhr Dajani, Darren Reynolds, Phil LT, Lucy Clark, Samuel Timms, Sammy Walker, Natalie Washington, Martin Tonge, Nicky Currall. Subs used: Leighton Griffin, Hayley Farmer, Roxanne, Sam Kelly, Trey LT, Ollie LT, Stacy C Unused Abi Cornell