Yesterday was the proverbial game of two halves. Let's focus on the good, and by good, I actually mean very good. Concord at times during the first half were a delight to watch. When they attacked, they attacked with power and purpose, and make the Hampton defence look clumsy and slow. When I had last seen Hampton defence play at the Aspect Arena they were a solid unbreakable unit. Well yesterday they were the opposite, and all credit for that can go the Dynamic Duo of Temi Babalola and Lamar Reynolds.
Let's be honest, for those of us who were there, the first Concord goal was one of the best you are likely to see. A brilliant ball out wide to Lamar, who drove at the full back at pace, and the whipped in the perfect cross for Temi to expertly guide it home. Seriously it was a superb goal. Later on in the half, Temi returned the favour as he slid the ball to Lamar, who spun and got his shot on target, and Alan Julian will be unhappy that the shot crept in. However a word of praise for Julian in the Hampton goal, apart from that slight error he was outstanding in that first half. He made an amazing double save in the last few minutes of the first half, and you felt if Concord had gone into the break three nil up that would have been game over. If Concord had gone in three nil up, that would have been fully deserved. But, let's get back to Temi and Lamar. Both are playing with huge confidence at the moment, you can tell it in their play. Temi was up against a very experienced centre back in Charlie Wassmer yesterday, and his power and physique caused the Hampton centre back all sorts of problems. However it's just not power with Temi, he has a good touch and his game awareness is getting better each week. You can see a real player developing. As for Lamar the change in him is remarkable, gone is the unsure play, and now he's someone who looks a threat every time he gets the ball. He is gunning for his opposition defender and taking them on, driving into the box, being positive. It's great to watch.
Back to the match. We all knew that Hampton that would come firing out of the traps in the second half. Well they couldn't be any worse. Credit has to be given to Hampton and the way they changed shape. They looked like they had an extra man all half. They played very, very well. Of course they got an early goal to get themselves back into the game, but then that Concord spirit kicked in. Yes, they rode their luck at times, and were indebted to Myles Roberts in goal. Again Myles made some fantastic saves. We've been very lucky with the quality of goalkeepers at the club through my years of watching the team, and Myles is another to add to that list.
It would be unfair on the whole team to single out the three players above, as yesterday was another great team performance. Going forward excellent as mentioned above and keeping out a very good team by defending heroically. The back three are well marshalled by the Captain, and it's encouraging to see Ollie and Jayden with the confidence to bring the ball out of defence. Both full backs/wing backs were solid in defence and also offered a threat going forward. The midfield three ran their socks off covering every inch of the pitch, whilst also showing real quality on the ball to link into the front player's strengths. The subs who came on, knew what they were being thrust into yesterday, and gave everything to ensure with picked up the three points.
I was saying to someone at the game yesterday, just how nice it is to be back in the stadium watching football amongst friends, and it's made even sweeter that the team are performing well, making the experience even more enjoyable. Long may it continue!