Game 15: Colden Common 1.2 Bush Hill (Hampshire Premier) 24.02.18
On a very cold and sunny afternoon I drove over to Colden Common Park to see second bottom Colden Common take on leaders Bush Hill. The ground was at the end of a long single track lane with plenty of parking at the end. The match was played on a roped off pitch on the left of the park. Before kick off I purchased an excellent programme for £1 which had plenty of details on both clubs and the league.
There was a cold wind blowing down the slightly sloped pitch and Bush Hill played into the wind and up the slope in the first half. They had an unusual way of lining up when they won a goal kick which started in the second minute and was repeated through the game. Two players stood on each side of the box, one level with the 6 yard box and one at the edge of the 18 yard box. The keeper then played a ball to one of those players instead of sending it long. This gave more space in the midfield as Colden Common chose to push players forward to try and intercept the ball in a good position.
Bush Hill took the lead after four minutes with a shot from outside the 18 yard box. They didn’t build on the lead as they overplayed or misplaced passes in the final third. Colden Common came back into the game, almost intercepting a back pass and hitting a shot across the area that both keeper and defender left and it only just went wide. The referee booked a Bush Hill player early in the half and their manager had good reason to be upset when similar Colden Common tackles went unpunished. Bush Hill’s goal kicks added more pressure as slow passes gave Colden Common time to press forward and challenge for the ball. On one occasion the ball didn’t leave the area before a Bush Hill player was forced to play the ball but the referee was too far away to spot the infringement. When Bush Hill did find a player running into space just before half time he was called back for an offside flag.
The second half kicked off after a short break for team talks held on the pitch. It didn’t take long for another strong tackle to take out a Bush Hill attacker. This time the referee booked the Colden Common player and we waited a while for the Bush Hill player to recover. Bush Hill added a second goal after 57 minutes when a powerful cross shot evaded the keeper and bounced off the post and in. Three minutes later and we came close to a third, a great shot from the left of the six yard box flew past the keeper but bounced off the inside of the post and out. Bush Hill made the most of the wind and one of their players ran undetected towards a long clearance that was allowed to bounce. The Colden Common defence couldn’t get back to stop him heading the ball towards goal but luckily for them it went wide.They had another lucky escape in the 72nd minute when a Bush Hill cross was headed powerfully against the crossbar by a defender.
Colden Common were working hard to keep in the game and managed to get on the scoresheet in the final ten minutes of the game. Bush Hill lost the ball in midfield and a pacy Colden Common player took the ball into the area where he was brought down. The referee pointed to the spot and when the kick was taken the goal keeper dived to his right as the ball went to his left. Colden Common pressed for an equaliser, forcing Bush Hill to take the ball into the corners and waste time wherever possible to hang on for the win.