Welcome back to the blog all. It’s publishing has been rather sporadic and inconsistent of late, so, apologies. This week’s blog has been delayed due to my brother being home from Germany. He has been playing some German EDM music which has supposedly been blaring out in the SV Deutz 05 changing rooms pre-match. How am I supposed to concentrate with this playing in the background: Helikopter 117.
However, today I had the pleasure of getting over to Bulpit Lane once again. After missing two games (and two wins!), it was a joy to be back amongst the action.
The Crusaders hosted Gloucester City who finished mid-table last season. Upon my arriving at the ground, I was struck by both sets of teams performing their shooting drills in temporary goals set up on the touchlines. After a couple of comments from opposition fans (many rather harsh) in recent weeks, this is a rather smart move in order to preserve our goal mouths as we enter the winter months. However, I thought the pitch condition in general was very good today. Still somewhat dry after the dry summer, but playing true and looking very green.
Gloucester played in their red and black away kit and attacked down the hill in the first half. Neither team started well or seriously threatened the goal in open play in the opening 45. Gloucester had a couple of pop-shots which troubled loanee goalkeeper Liam Driscoll, but apart from those, created next to nothing. The goal came from a simple corner which was rather cheaply given away. Some poor marking in the box left a free header to the oncoming Gloucester left-back Noah Smerdon who converted simply. To refer to my tweet at the time: the goal came out of nothing.
Half time came and left me thinking how scrappy the game had been. Some bizarre comments towards Ian Herring from the referee the highlight. Standing at roughly 5″2 foot tall, I feel he had rather a lot to say. Hungerford perhaps felt hard done by to be behind, despite not creating much. Harvey Bradbury’s missed header early on being the only clear cut chance I can think of. Ian Herring felt passionately that on 30 minutes Conor Lynch was brought down in the box, although, from my view, it appeared just outside; the referee thought so too.
I made my way to the bar for a quick can of Coke and a Mars Bar (£1.70 fyi) at half time. It was brilliant to see on the big screen that Hearts were 4-1 up and Swindon were losing. The second half resumed shortly after.
On 53 minutes, another instance of poor marking from the Hungerford defence allowed Gloucester a second goal from a corner. The goal came at a bad time as it seemed the Crusaders were building a bit of pressure. However, 5 minutes later Hungerford pulled one back through Conor Lynch. The ball pinged about in a scrap in the box following a corner, and Lynch found himself in the right place in the right time to prod the ball home.
However, for the remainder of the half, I was underwhelmed with Hungerford moving forward. There were a couple of chances and good saves from the Gloucester keeper (my man of the match), but Hungerford’s sustained posession led to very little. Passes travelled sideways and balls into the channel rarely found attacking runs. Perhaps I ought to give credit to the well organised Gloucester defence who have only conceded 1 goal in their last 3 games.
All in all, I think Gloucester deserved the win. As my dad said: it was a performance José Mourinho would have been proud of. Stood behind the Gloucester dugout, I was impressed with some of the things their manager had to say. Definitely knew what he was talking about. Although, I was not impressed with their choice of kit supplier: XBlades. Very village. Hungerford definitely won the fashion show today.
The Crusaders are away to Bath next week, who have had a steady start to the season. It could be a tough game, especially if they fail to create sufficient chances like they did today. Something is just lacking in midfield at the moment. I do however, feel optimistic about the current back 4. Captain James Rusby is on great form and is building a solid partnership with Marvel Ekpiteta. Marcus J-S and Matt Jones looking more and more assured at full back.
To wrap things up: Yeovil winners at Grimsby and up to 5th in League 2 (COYG) and my Scottish team Hearts remain atop the SPL. Hoping for a Rangers win tomorrow in the Old Firm. England looking favourites in the cricket at the Rose Bowl whilst Theresa May not looking a favourite for Strictly Come Dancing 2019.