9th April 2006
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Stumble On The Winning Formula
There is an old Native American phrase: Beware the Wounded Bear.
Advice that Rides Dynamoes should have heeded in Sunday's fixture against
the Manics. For the boys in blue were wounded far greater than ever before
in Manic history. Sidelined were South African duo Jason Graaff and Brent
Marais, last years Player of the Year Simon Blay, midfield legend Aaron
Goddard, left-back Ryan Warman and new Swiss signing Marcel Hollenstein.
Amongst the walking wounded were Gareth Jones and Mark Robertson, who
played despite injuries. But the wounds on this grizzly Manic bear were
not only physical. After last weeks cruel trapping by Wokingham United,
the Manics carried mental scars they were determined to put right.
With manager Nikos Patsalides, Simon Graves and James Kirwan-Williams
in the starting XI, the Manics fielded three players who had only played
3 whole games between them all season. In fact it was Patsalides first
start for the Manics in 4 years. So he, like most of his teammates, must
have been pleased to see the game was being played on one of the smallest
pitches in the Premier League, Rides Community Centre.
The Manics, adopting an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation, began brightly, matching
the conditions overhead. Glenn Evans was particularly influential in the
middle of the park as he continually broke up the neat passing game that
Rides tried to implement. And it was Evans that had the games first real
chance, but his weak effort was lapped up by the grateful keeper after
he was cleverly put through by Gary Sarney. Angry at this miss, Glenn
Evans didn't have to wait long before he got to make amends. The
ball sprang out to him at the corner of the box and he fired an accruate
right foot strike into the bottom corner to put the Manics 1-0 up. And
it was a lead the boys richly deserved.
The game turned slightly after Evans, constantly in the thick of the action,
rolled his ankle after an innocuous challenge with Rides' number 3. He
could continue no more, leaving the Manics down to 10 men for the remainder
of the half - 30 minutes. The extra player began to influence possession
as Rides held onto the ball for large periods at a time. However, they
failed to carve out any clear chances - evidence of the quality defending
by the Manics. The nearest Rides came was a thunderous effort against
the bar. Although, the home side did have a better chance to level matters
just before the break after Baker made a rare error and let in Rides no
14, who somehow sliced his effort high and wide of James Robinson's left
hand post. Relief at half time that the Manics had weathered the storm,
and could now call upon the unpunctual Barry O'Connell to make up the
And Barry O'Connell made an almost immediate
impact. This reporter, me Simon Oakbutter, missed the goal as he was emptying
his bladder, but by all accounts it was a sweet strike 10 minutes after
the break that put the Manics 2 up. Rides continued to enjoy the lion's
share of possession, but looked very iffy at the back, making the counter
attack a useful weapon for the Manics. And it was a swift counter that
made the lead 3-0. Gareth Jones, who adapted
his game according to injury superbly, lobbed the keeper with deadly accruacy
from 25 yards. Gleeful faces were everywhere.
However, as the Manics midfield tired - they had worked tirelessly throughout
- Rides began to exert a little more pressure on the outstanding defensive
trio of Gates, Baker and Kirwan-Williams. With about 12 minutes remaining
an offside looking forward steered the ball past Robinson to reduce the
arrears. As there was no linesman, the Manics had to guard against attackers
creeping behind them. Lessons were not learned as Rides repeated their
previous move just 2 minutes later. Manics faced a nervy ending as they
clung onto their hard-earned lead. But hold on they did, as the potent
claws of the hard-working wounded Manic bear held on for a welcome and
hard-fought 3 points. With the Easter break ahead, and time for players
to return from injury, the Manics can look forward to ending the season
on a high.
Scorers: Gl. Evans (1) Jones
(1) O'Connell (1).
Assists: Jones (1) Sarney (1) Robertson (1).
The Manics Man
of the Match went to James Robinson and the Referee's player of the match
went to Mark Gates.
to the fans who came to watch.
Utd 2 Bracknell Manics 3
for Bracknell Manics FC