After two comfortable home wins, Cullompton came up against a very different challenge this week, competing hard to earn a goalless draw against a young Perry Street side.
Both teams looked comfortable on the ball and dangerous going forward, while defensively taking time to adapt to the oppositions very different style of football and formation. It made for an absorbing match with both teams competing hard but fairly throughout.
While Cullompton edged the first twenty minutes, Perry Street were on top before half-time and the stalemate at the break was reflective of the game. While there were few clear chances this was more to do with defenders on both side regularly throwing their bodies at the ball, rather then any lack of ambition.
When Aaron was called on in the Cullompton goal he managed to injure his thumb, making way for Berry’s comeback from his own injury. This freed up Aaron to show off his mathematical skills on the bench. Although I was aware that we didn’t have the most intellectual of teams, I believed that most of the players possessed basic numeracy skills. At least to count up to, say… zero. Unfortunately not. Aaron spent the majority of the game wondering why we were chasing a goal when already 1-0 up, the obvious answer being that we weren’t.
The second half was even tighter with both teams having adapted to the other. Perry Street started the stronger, hitting the bar when the ball looked certain to be dipping in. Yet Cullompton started to force the pace, with a number of late chances which were well saved by the Perry Street keeper.
It was said that Orson Welles often commented that the genius of Shakespeare was in the multitude of personalities that could be interpreted in each character. In those terms this was a very Shakespearean performance, with Cullompton digging in and showing grit to keep the clean sheet, while at other times using the width to play effective football and adapting the defensive shape throughout to force Perry Street to go go more direct. It’s also said that football is a great indicator of the true character of the teams and individuals involved – if that’s the case then only positives can be applied to players on both sides of a fiercely but fairly contested match. There’ll be some tired legs today.
Cullompton move on to two very tough away games before Christmas, and although the wining run came to an end on Saturday the attitude and application were good signs for the challenges ahead.