The Anglian Knights had a good start to the season, beating Hellesdon Reserves 3-1 last week, but they faced a tough challenge away this week against Mousehold Reserves, a team they lost to on penalties in the cup last season.
With a full squad of 16, including new signing Matthew Rush on the bench, the Anglian Knights were confident of grabbing at least a point against a physical Mousehold team. Reece Harrison returned to the number 1 spot, as manager Phil Perriton went with a solid back four of Kirk Lanckmans, Ian Probert, Kieron Orford and Ellis Watts, and a 5 midfield consisting of captain Mark Cook, Aaron Hooper and Matthew Nobbs, with pacey wingers Liam Smith and Craig Kiddell providing the service for lone striker Jack Hurrell.
Anglian got off to a good start, taking the lead after 10 minutes of neat passes and plenty of possession. The ball was worked down the right wing, and a low cross into the 6 yard box was met by the head of Hurrell giving the Knights the lead.
They should have doubled their lead minutes later when the Mousehold keeper dithered on the ball giving Craig Kiddell a chance to tackle him, which he did so well. He then lobbed the keeper from the left hand side and just as the crowd were about to celebrate, Mousehold’s left back dived to nod the ball into the crossbar and out of danger.
Mousehold fought back against the Knights playing a long ball game and with their brute, physical presence, they pressured the defence. It wasn’t long before they were back on level terms. Aaron Hooper turned back to the keeper just inside his own half, but the pass back to the keeper lacked power, putting a Mousehold striker clear through on goal. He made no mistake in slotting it into the bottom corner. 1-1
Mousehold then took the lead and in immense heat Anglian became frustrated, giving the ball away too often. Another long ball up the field from Mousehold saw the left winger get to the by-line. His cross was fired in front of the goal picking out a Mousehold player at the back post for an easy tap-in. 2-1
Things went from bad to worse for Anglian minutes before half-time as the offside trap, that the whites had played well for the majority of the half, was broken by the striker. However, his shot was poor, but in a cruel twist of fate the ball hit a bobble bouncing it over the diving keeper and trickling into the goal. 3-1
Half-time came and so did a few substitutions to freshen the team up, who were flagging in the heat. Matt Jillings, Louie Watts and new striker Matthew Rush all came on giving the Knights fresh legs to run the second half.
The Anglian Home Improvements sponsored team came out all guns blazing and desperate to start playing their football again and get back on level-terms. As Anglian were pushing up field, they were vulnerable on the counter attack and their deficit was increased after 55 minutes when Mousehold were given too much time in the penalty area, the player turned shooting through the defenders legs and into the bottom corner. 4-1
The Knights were losing, but by no means had they given up, again piling the pressure onto the Mousehold goal. New signing Matthew Rush was proving to be a handful for the defence and Matt Jillings was providing dangerous balls in from the right. A goal finally came for the Knights when Matthew Rush was put in on goal smashing the ball into the top right corner of the net, and in spite of some offside shouts the referee overruled the linesman to count the goal.
The next chance of the game fell to Louie Watts, as Jack Hurrell got on the end of a great through ball. His cross was back heeled out of the 6 yard box to Watts who sent the ball crashing into the crossbar and the danger was cleared. It became frustrating for the team as they continued to create chances, but failed to take them.
With 10 minutes remaining though, Anglian got a lifeline as Matthew Rush wriggled his way around defenders in the penalty area. He was chopped down, giving the referee no choice but to point to the penalty spot. Louie Watts stepped up to take the penalty (despite missing the crucial penalty in the cup last season) and hit the ball low and hard into the bottom left corner of the net. 4-3
Anglian continued to push for the equaliser, but they just couldn’t get the final ball right, leaving the final score at 4-3. One major cause of concern for the team is the loss of Liam Smith for the foreseeable future as he was forced off through injury during the game. The x-ray has shown cartilage and bone has fractured from his knee, so from everyone on the team we wish him a speedy recovery.
This Saturday, the mighty Knights will take on One Love United away at Hellesdon High School, 2pm kick off. Feel free to come along and show your support to the Knights.