After the debacle last week, it was good to get 16 fit (mostly) alert (partially) and enthusiastic (certainly) bodies on to the field with a decent amount of time before kick-off.
The weather appeared to be kind, with a decent cumulonimbus and stratocumulus cover, but on the occasions when those dissipated, it was hotter than Kate Bosworth in ‘Blue Crush’.
The game started off at a lively pace, with Red Rock making most of the early running and the Hotspurs forced on to a back foot that just about held firm. Crosses were flying into the box though with alarming regularity, and the statisticians on duty had to create an extra column just for the corners Red Rock racked up in the first half alone.
Somewhat against the run of play then, Hotspurs took the lead – Henry somehow finding space in the opposing penalty area and firing in with the conviction of a kitten standing on a pedestrian crossing in Beijing.
A tactical reshuffle was made at the break to give the back line a little more manpower – despite the fact that Red Rock failed to register in the first half – and for the first 15 minutes of the second period, Hotspurs played their best football of the match – creating several opportunities….and wasting them all.
We’ve talked so much about taking chances when they are presented – what was it that Wayne Gretzky said; “you’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”? OK, he was Canadian, and his boots had blades on the bottom and he also had a big stick, but the point is there. Hotspurs seemed to want to score the perfect goal, and if that makes us a bit like Arsenal right now, then that’s probably not a good thing.
Any road up, it could have cost us dearly, as the Hotspurs’ back line was breached on a rare occasion, and Red Rock equalised – a messy goal.
All credit though to the Hotspurs who took it on the chin, rode with the punch, took a standing count, and simply got on with the game. Reward was a short time in coming with an excellent counter attack leading to Ben (an inspired substitution) sweeping in at the far post, and was followed by Esad springing the offside trap, and slotting home at the 14th attempt.
There was enough time, and maybe even enough chances for Red Rock to get back on terms – they managed to take the corner count into the thousands, it seemed – and yet the Hotspurs held firm for a win based marginally more on grit and determination than stylish football.
Thanks to Red Rock for an excellent game played in the very best spirit – not a nasty tackle in sight, and I believe the only yellow card of the game was for a handball.
Hotspurs Man of the Watch goes to Jo-el who was an absolute rock at the back, calling the line superbly, and making more last ditch tackles than should be related in this report if the readers are to believe that this was a well-deserved 3 points.
Honourable mentions too to Berry (igneous), Jamie (tireless…until he simply ran out of gas) Marko (metamorphic) Richard (Duracell) and Jaaaa-son (stoic…through the pain).
Red Rock MOTM: Chris Zubah - Ploughed a lone furrow up front for much of the time, but was an absolute Dennis (menace).