A new season is upon us and a sunny day with a fresh looking side saw Brooklands hoping to get off to a flyer down at Georges Road. The Scene was set for the new look Brooklands team to come away on the first day of the season with a Green dot next to their name and 3 points in the bag. This weeks opponents would be Holcombe who are a notorious bogey side for Brooklands as they are one of the only teams we have never beaten both home and away.
A number of debutantes where present with Irishman, Craig Getty and South African International, Keenan Horne pulling on the shirt for the first time. Alongside them, the returning Scottish international, Russell Anderson was back for another stint in the premier league.
The game started with the Georges road side supplying a lot of attacking prowess and putting the defensive unit under a lot of pressure. Slick passing from Mike Shaw saw the ball fired into Sam Perrin who calmly found the foot of the Holcombe defenders foot. Great signs from the Manchester side but the 3 consecutive corners couldn't be converted.
After the initial barrage of Brooklands attacks, it was Holcombes turn to apply the pressure winning a barrage of corners for themselves. Robbie Turner the Brooklands number 1 and notably Tom Lush on the left post keeping the dangerous Holcombe attack at bay with excellent saves.
Brooklands did have a few chances to get themselves on the score sheet, a miscued back hand shot from Stefan Ray-Hills went wide and an air shot from David Flanagan saw glorious opportunities squandered. Those chances should have had Brooklands comfortably in the lead.
The first half was very much a 'first game of the season' affair with plenty of mistakes and plenty of open play. Holcombe had numerous attacks but fortunately one man who wasn't in the mood to make mistakes was Goal Keeper Turner, our last line line of defence. Countless times coming to Brooklands rescue. However, the pressure soon told and Holcombe broke the deadlock with what can only be described as a soft, preventable goal. The score line now 0-1 in Holcombes favour.
Half time came and Coach Bateman called for calm with a big emphasis around tempo and certainty with the ball. To many opportunities had gone to waste and it would be a massive part of our game if we where going to get anything from this fixture.
The second half started sprightly once again with Brooklands apply lots of pressure to the Holcombe defence. The Holcombe defence stood strong with Brooklands becoming increasingly frustrated. This constant barrage of attacks was taking its toll on the legs and with the game becoming stretched, chinks in the armour began to appear. With plenty of last ditch defending, it was only a matter of time before another goal went in. In fact another 2 goals where shipped down to some good counter play from Holcombe and some lacklustre defending from Brooklands. 0-3 Holcombe.
At this stage of the game it seemed something had changed in the mind set of the Brooklands attack. Shorter passes and more compact play allowed a lot more to be created. It was Alex Humphreys from midfield who was starting to make inroads down the centre of the pitch and causing some problems. Drawing defenders close, he managed to win a free hit which created some space down the left hand side, with a smart pass down the line to find David Flanagan. Some neat play down the base line and a 1-2 pass with Richard Slater saw Flanagan put the ball across the face of goal for Sam Perrin to score one of the easiest goals of his playing career. Probably the best goal of the game however too little too late.
Our man of the match was Robbie Turner with countless saves allowing for a more respectable score line.
This game highlights how hard points are to come by in this league and a big wake-up call. A lesson for all involved and not the start Brooklands wanted. Our next game is away at Reading and a place which has been kind to us previously so a big push to get points on the board.