The Mighty Shane Show Resolve to Win Under Pressure
Following two consecutive league defeats, the Mighty Shane returned to winning ways with a much needed 2-0 victory against On Tap Badgers.
The game started at a frantic pace as the Badgers poured men forward and almost went ahead in the opening couple of minutes through a free kick that goalkeeper Toby Shaw tipped onto the post. It was the first in a string of fine saves from the Shane stopper. The lads looked nervous early on and struggled to get their passing game going, with the tag of being favorites heading into the game perhaps weighing heavily.
An early goal was need to settle the nerves, and that came in the 10th minute with a savvy move down the left side. ‘Dapper’ Dan Wilkinson showed great intelligence as his quickly taken throw in found winger Felipe Vásquez in acres of space to charge into the box. A deceptive shot to the near post from a tight angle caught the Badgers goalkeeper off guard to give the Colombian his first goal of the season. Shane grew in confidence and soon had the chance to double their lead from the penalty spot after Jayke Langley, who had a great afternoon on the right, was fouled inside the area. However, Zach Paruch’s resulting spot kick was saved.
The American playmaker soon made amends however, as Shane took the lead from his corner in the 20th minute. Zach’s well taken set piece, not for the only time in the game, caused the Badgers defence all sorts of problems and left the goalkeeper in no man’s land for the aforementioned Jayke to tap in from close range. It was a great moment for the Geordie winger as it marked his first ever Shane goal. Despite the 2-0 lead, the rest of the half was not to be an easy one as the Badgers rallied and put the Shane goal under increasing pressure, but with their attacks breaking down and the Shane defense dealing well with what was thrown at them, the lead was preserved into the break.
There was to be no let up in the second half however, as the Badgers came out even stronger. A string of excellent saves in the first 20 minutes after the restart from man of the match Toby kept Shane’s clean sheet intact. He saved from direct free kicks, one-on-ones and commanded his box brilliantly from set pieces as he punched crosses away.
Shane did find their rhythm and composure again, however, as they started to stretch the opposition with increasingly fluid movement and quick breaks up the pitch. Diego Ballesteros, playing just his second league game, was excellent as his calmness on the ball and intelligent play helped Shane regain control of the match.
In creating so many chances towards the end, Shane could and should have added to the scoreline. Positives will be taken though in recording our first clean sheet of the season, which is a great confidence boost for the whole team. After a difficult couple of games, it also puts us back on course for a good first half of the season, having taken 8 points from the first 6 games and, up until now, registering a positive goal difference.