Anglian Knights are stuck at bottom of Division 3 of the Business Houses Saturday League, but their opponents, Marlpitt, are sitting comfortably in 4th place in Division 1, so the Knights went into the game with nothing to lose and they can all be very proud of their performance today.
Mark Cook was a substitute after his injury, but Matt Jillings was ruled out with an ankle injury he picked up last week against CNSOB. Louie Watts captained the team from the centre of a 5 midfield as Anglian started with 3 at the back in an attacking formation.
Marlpitt, playing in florescent orange got off to a good start, after some intial pressure from Anglian and good defending by the boys in orange, they broke down the Knights defence to make it 1-0. A diagonal ball from centre midfield, picked out their quick striker on the right edge of the penalty box. He sprinted into the box and smashed the ball in at the near post.
Anglian tried to pick themselves up and continued to probe the Marlpitt defence, but after numerous shots were blocked, and corners were cleared, Marlpitt got their second. A long ball was not dealt with by the defence who, despite now conceding 2, were doing well against the opposition. The quick striker again, using his pace to his advantage shot from the right side to the far corner, putting it just underneath the keeper who was unfortunate not to do better. 2-0
The Knights then defended doggidly with Liam Smith dropping in to right back and Kierstan Foreman sitting at centre back. A long ball from Marlpitt on left wing, whipped a ball into the 6 yard box to pick out the striker with 2 goals to his name already, but a superb last ditch tackle by Kierstan denied a hat-trick.
The Knights did create a couple of chances in the first half, all falling to Joe Young, on both occasions he managed to get one-on-one with the goalkeeper, was challenged and failed to get the ball out of his feet.
Manager Phil Perriton gave the lads a lot of praise at half time, as there were a few chances created and despite them being a higher division team, we were giving them a run for their money. It was a simple team talk of go out there and go again.
That is exactly what the Knights did, switching back to a 4-4-2 formation and Mark Cook coming on for an injured Joe Young. Josh Powley dropped to centre back, partnering Ian Probert and Liam Smith moved up to right wing.
The second half started brilliantly for the Knights as they pulled a goal back within 10 minutes, unsettling this established side. A superb through ball from Louie Watts found Jack Hurrell one-on-one with the keeper, as the defence froze claiming he was offside, Jack chipped the keeper beautifully. 2-1 and game on!
However, Marlpitt continued to use their influential captain, who in my opinion could play at a much higher standard. His silky feet and superb passing continued to cause issues for the Knights. Marlpitt piled on the pressure and got regained their 2 goal advantage. After a string of great saves and blocks from the young goalkeeper, Anglian conceded from a corner. The ball was whipped in, cleared out to the edge of the box before it was crossed in again, this time along the floor, being met by the outstretched leg of the Marlpitt striker. 3-1
Things went from bad for worse for the Knights as they conceded a 4th a few moments later. After pressuring the Marlpitt defence, the oranges counter attacked and won a corner. They had a defender who was about 6ft6, and he proved a nightmare to defend at every corner or long throw in. During this game he had had a few chances at goal, and he finally scored from this corner, tucking the ball brilliantly into the bottom right corner of the net. 4-1
Anglian piled on the pressure again, and got their second goal of the game after resilient pressure broke down the Marlpitt defence. Anglian won a free-kick just in the Marlpitt half. Craig Kiddell dipped the ball into the 6 yard box, which was flicked against the cross-bar by the tall Marlpitt defender. The ball rebounded out landing at the feet of striker, Jim Newman, who made no mistake smashing it into the bottom left corner. 4-2
Marlpitt were on the ropes and Jack thought he had got his second goal of the game, again a great through ball picked him out, and despite great work to round the keeper and bury the ball, it was disallowed as he was deemed offside.
The game took a twist again as the oranges managed to get a 5th and appeared to have the game settled. A diagonal ball again from left to right found their speedy striker who smashed the ball into the net to seal his hat-trick. That was his 6th hat-trick in as many games! 5-2
Although they were 3 goals behind, the Knights never give up, and after last weeks comeback against CNSOB, which saw the whites score 2 in 10 minutes, they looked like they were going to do the same again. Jack Hurrell got his second of the game when Mark Cook chipped the ball over the defence and left it to Jack to lob the keeper brilliantly. 5-3.
This is how the game ended and although they were knocked out of the 2nd round of the cup, they played well and never gave up. My star performers of the match were Kierstan Foreman who was dangerous moving forward when at left back and made some crucial tackles throughout the game. It was also great to see Mark Cook return to the squad and get an assist after a month out. Saturday the 24th will see Anglian host Mousehold reserves in the league cup, kicking off at 1.45pm, so any support would be greatly appreciated by the whole team.