Buoyant Blues battle back against the Navy
After a shocking opening few minutes, the Blues fought back against the Navy to keep themselves afloat with a 3-3 Draw
FOOTBALL: Blues 3 – Royal Navy 3
The Blues overcame a three-goal deficit to salvage a draw against a robust Royal Navy U23s outfit. The side took their time to settle following the long trip down to Portsmouth and a series of errors left them stranded at 3-0 down six minutes in to the game.
For 30 minutes the Navy continued to dominate proceedings. Their speedy strike-force caused numerous problems for the back four and they dictated play through their midfield anchor. Things turned from bad to worse when James May was forced to limp off with a recurrence of a hamstring injury. It would be an understatement to say that things could only have improved at this point.
As the first half came to an end things got better, the Blues began to keep the ball on the deck with more authority and started to create a few openings. However, they headed for the changing room 3-0 and knowing that their first half showing was well below par.
With the inspirational words of coach Che Wilson still ringing in their ears, the Blues finally moved up the gears at the start of the second half. Ant Childs produced a cannon of an effort, sending the ball flying narrowly past the post and this set the tone for the rest of the half. American debutant Blevins then produced a surging run that culminated in a deep cross, Forde shooting just wide.
The Blues continued to dominate proceedings and with 20 minutes to go they finally got the break through they deserved. Ben Tsuda cut in from the right wing and unleashed a curling left footed effort that sailed into the far corner. The Blues now sensed blood. Substitute Elliot seized on a loose ball near the halfway line and drove towards goal. Committing the final man, he coolly slid the ball inside to Sherif who calmly slotted the ball home.
The Navy were struggling to stay afloat and the wind was firmly in the Blues’ sails, with six minutes to go the Blues drew level. Forde crossed from the right and Tsuda pounced upon the subsequent weak clearance. He beat his man and drilled home to the delight of the travelling fans. A controversial offside decision then robbed the Blues of one final chance to sink the Navy.
With the first BUCS fixture next week, the Blues will be hoping to produce a more complete performance, but they will be heartened with the character shown in rescuing a draw.
Team (4-5-1): Alex Coburn; Rodrick Blevins, Jamie Rutt, Harry Dempsey, Michael Smith; Richard Totten, James May, Ross Broadway, Anthony Childs, Dan Forde; Haitham Sherif.
Substitutes: Sol Elliot, Ben Tsuda