Since the turn of the year it has been a tough journey to spring. Games against the top 4 in the league resulted in 0-6 to Shipston, 0-8 (away) and 0-6 (home) to Stratford Town Colts Blues, 2-6 (home) to Crowle and 2-5 (home) to Welford. Interspersed with a few friendlies - 2-5 (away) to Tewkesbury Town Colts and 1-6 (home) to Eckington Eagles. The boys have retained their humour, have continued to work on the basics, and have had the added incentive of 4 new joiners in the last month, swelling the numbers to 18 in the squad. This injection of competition and freshening up the training sessions, now back at the'Nest' resulted in a richly deserved, hard fought win away to Kempsey Colts this weekend (11th April 2015). Before focussing on that, it is worth reflecting on the passage of time that was bleak midwinter. The results could be misinterpreted as complete white washes....interestingly, several of those games could have gone either way, and we have had learnings from those which will see sharp focus at important moments of the game in future years. With more confidence up front we could have bagged 3+ goals at Shipston. At home to Crowle, 2-0 at half time, we were over confident, this being a derby match and with bragging rights at stake at school (Pinvin). 5 minutes into the second half and heads had dropped as Crowle with ruthless efficiency had taken the lead 3-2 and went on to record a 6-2 win by the end. In the friendly at Tewkesbury, it was end to end stuff, we had a debut goal for Charlie, Tom made a nuisance of himself in the box for a well taken deflected goal and several near misses were the difference between a draw/win and defeat....and then there was Kempsey Colts. Missing 5 regulars, and fielding 3 of the new joiners, this was very much an experimentary squad compared to much of the season....played in the right spirit - Kempsey coach John Murray must take full credit for ensuring the atmosphere was there for the boys to enjoy the game. And both teams did. Inkberrow roared into a 3-0 lead, only for them to be pegged back by half time to 4-3...still a narrow lead, but squeaky bum time! The second half followed a similar patter. 4-3, 4-4, 5-4, 6-4, 6-5, 6-6, 7-6, 7-7, 8-7! The last two goals, one an equaliser for Kempsey and then the winner for Inkberrow both came in injury time....how close! Two hattricks for Inkberrow players Harry N and Harry S with James and Hadley supplying the other two goals. Hadley caught fire in this game, tormenting Kempsey's defence...Callum demonstrated his speed in defence and pushing forward....Brendan and Bailey's positional play was excellent, with Ed and James deputising in goal, as poor old Alex got lost and could not find the venue. Some moments to reflect on - Max's incisive 40 yard pass turning defence to attack, Olly's crunching challenge which left both he and the opposition player nursing ice packs just before half time. But for me, Hadley....jinking, teasing, passing and then finishing an audacious run close to the goal line between goalkeeper and post with precision and confidence - real class. It was almost as all of the previous games where the boys felt one piece of luck, or one small moment in the game had been decisive, had all been redeemed in their favour in one game. Fantastically well done, and a pleasure to watch players and parents alike, on both teams, at the end delighting in having seen and played in a 15 goal thriller, where neither team would give up....I have a small inkling that if it had been up to the boys, they would still be playing now. So, with one last league game to play (home) against Badsey Rangers on 25th April, the boys head into this with confidence and knowledge that their hard work is starting to pay dividend. Well done!