After the close but ultimately disappointing defeat away at Dereham, IES 4th XI hosted the 100% win rate UEA students at the Ipswich School Sports Centre. Simpson dropped out of the squad and Page came back in. Black was promoted so O’Brien was back in goal. Gallagher joined in too for his first game of the season. Gray arrived to coach the side and learn a few tips to transfer to the first eleven. As normal Elsom started on the bench – as did Vince.
IES started very positively and had the better of the early exchanges. Ramsey and Gallager led the line and both Meades and Scarff had their best quarters of the season – with Meades very nearly getting on the end of a Williams crash ball. But then with their first chance UEA scored with a brilliant finish from the top of the D. Heads could have dropped in the IES team but they didn’t. As it wasn’t raining this week Elsom brought himself on early and following a Williams (jnr) dribble down the left, a quick Gallagher pass saw the Maestro unleashed with one to beat. He quickly pushed it by the young student and if he’d have eyes in the back of his head, he’d have been dismayed to see his team turn away in despair thinking there was no way he’d get the ball first. Elsom used all his guile and won the race and then smashed in an equalizer from a stupidly narrow angle and IES were back in it.
Sadly, as the first half wore on the students youth and 16 man squad started to gain them the upper hand – especially when the Williams (snr) and Whiting central midfield double act started to tire. A naff second goal was conceded just before the interval as IES failed to clear their own D. O’Brien also made a stunning save after a defensive error. At half time, the Capitan was rather positive and thought it was IESs best half yet and with the potential to use wisdom over energy a point or three was still possible. It was also inspiring to have Gray’s tactical input and Elsom’s impassioned diatribe.
What of the second half. Well substitutions continued with clockwork regularity, although why Gray elected to leave Capitan Williams struggling in midfield for the whole game is beyond both your match reporter and most of the rest of the planet. The students were maybe lucky to be ahead at half time but they did rather dominate the 2nd half. The defence competed manfully, O’Brien made quite a few decent saves and IES kept up hopes of an equalizer. But it wasn’t to be and IES didn’t really create much in the 2nd half – the only real output and hope seemed to be the potential of Ramsey to run down the right. UEA scored a scrappy third as Williams (snr) was turned and the ball squirmed into the net.
3-1 it ended and IES will drop down the league a bit from 7th with a trip to Norwich Exiles ahead next week.
Man of the match – well it was probably the best a few of the team have played this season – Gallagher obviously, but also Scarff, Thornton and Meades and possibly even Williams (snr) (although his standard in previous weeks had been poor). Others played well in patches as well and it was the best team performance so far this season. The man of the match though goes to Meades who excelled in the first quarter and stuck to his tasks at right midfield valiantly throughout the match. Exactly what Gray learnt to take to the first XI is anyone’s guess …