Scorers: Annand, Roberts, Taggart
MoM: Hamish Roberts
DoD: Matt Burton-Bowen
A dark drizzly Saturday evening in Oxford was quickly brightened by Matt B-B being asked by the Oxford manager; ‘Hi, are you Gary!?’ – entertaining for everyone around and a timely welcome back to the most ‘senior’ play in the squad!
As the game got going, Canterbury straight away took a stronghold in the game, asserting themselves on the contest with plenty of possession with little to show for it in terms of outcomes or shots on goal.
Oxford chances were few and far between however it took just one penalty corner for them to steal a lead in the game just before first-quarter time. In the break, David was quick to reassure the team that the way they were playing was enough to win the game, so long as they could just discover a bit more quality in the final third of the field.
The game continued in the same vein in the next quarter, only for another mad few minutes, bringing an untimely reminder of the Reading game, less than a week previously. Two quick-fire goals from Oxford saw their lead stretch out to 3-0 in what felt like a sucker-punch to the team in white.
With plenty of time on the clock and a strong sense that the game is still there for the taking, Craig and Toby continued to feed the midfield to move the ball wide to attack around the Oxford press. Hamish Roberts – putting in a MOM performance – was a constant threat, setting up attack after attack on the right with Tom Richford as per the game-plan.
But just as all best laid plans go, Canterbury managed to drag themselves back into the game in quite the opposite way. A big aerial from youngster, Ben Young from left-back to the right of the circle for Conor Annand to take down and bury in the net in a fashion most (all) did not anticipate – a definite contender for goal of the season and one which gave CHC some confidence going into half-time.
In the second-half, the game felt like it was whoever scored the next goal would take that momentum to go on and win the game, and as it went, Canterbury were the next to add to their tally. Hamish Roberts scoring his first for the season with a nicely worked goal, this time indeed coming from a mazy attack down the right flank.
At 3-2 and in the ascendancy, it felt as if the final 20 minutes were going to be packed with drama – however the sting was somewhat taken out of it with a series of Oxford penalty corners that were kept at bay by Nathan and the defensive unit. However they were able to convert from open play on the break to make the score 4-2 and put some breathing space between the teams.
Ronan was able to score his third of the season, however it was too little too late and Oxford’s clinical finishing and their 5 penalty corners to Canterbury’s one proved the difference in a game that on a whole, the first team will be disappointed to not take something from!
Craig and David will take plenty of positives from the performance to build on this week at training before they come back to the Polo Farm on Sunday, hoping for a big win again Brighton, pushed on by the unwavering support of those at the club!