Our Reserve side took to the part on what started out as a sunny Saturday with the goal of maintaining their unbeaten start to the season against a Ringwood City SC side that looked to be fielded primarily by their U20 team.
The battle of youth versus experience proved that there is no substitute for lessons learned. While the young boys from Ringwood City played a very good quality of football, they were no match for our domination of possession. With Billy Jones Carter taking over the captains armband at his defensive mid role, we were never short of quality passing and control as we worked out of the back line, and it would not be too long before we found a reward for all our time with the ball.
With just a little over twenty minutes played, Craig Tweedy received a pass in space and drove down the left side towards the Ringwood goal. Their keeper was overeager to try and collect from the surefooted Geordie who calmly slide the ball to his left before slotting his shot into the far corner. The restart would almost prove deadly for the visitors as they lost possession within the first few passes before Jack Buckley was denied by the woodwork. The shot would serve as a warning to the visitors, as CCFC stepped up the pressure.
The young men from Ringwood started to show their age as the game started to descend into cheap fouls, but none translated into whistles from the referee who was more keen to let play go in the first half.
As we approached halftime, another drive towards the opposition's goal resulted in their keeper parrying a shot away, but sailing directly into the path of Kevin Fitzgerald who latched onto it with a one touch volley that rippled the goal netting, in one of the best goals scored so far by CCFC this season. Ringwood were quiet for the remaining minutes in the half as in a repeat from the first goal scored, they once again lost possession from the restart and found themselves having to fight off a corner kick before the referee ended the half.
The sound of halftime whistle had barely left the spectator's ears when we struck again. Nigel Madzi was played in behind the defense by well weighted pass from Fitzgerald. In what looked from the sidelines to be too tight of an angle, Madzi put a laser into the far corner, past a stunned Ringwood keeper making it 3-0. Not satisfied with one, at the fifty-fifth minute Madzi would find himself on the end of a Tom Snaith cross in nearly the same spot in the Ringwood box, but this time finding the top corner instead of the bottom, as Ringwood's traveling supporters began to see how their day would end.
We were nearly caught out on our own restart as Ringwood pushed for a goal to keep them from being completely left off the score sheet. Saves from everyone on the backline and two amazing stops by Harry Emmens kept Ringwood at bay. We were unlucky to give away a free kick just outside the box on our right side a few minutes later. Ringwood sent in what looked like an easily collected ball, but somehow it went through everyone untouched and left Emmens flatfooted as Ringwood put one on the board, by more luck than skill.
Nigel was unwilling to let that stand as he drove into the box once more and put home his third, killing off the swell of momentum from Ringwood City as he celebrated his hat trick. First half goal scoring duo Tweedy and Fitzgerald would both try for a brace within seconds of each other and both send their shots crashing off the top bar, but the ricochets would go down and out off the rounded frame of the goals, much to the dismay of the home fans. Ringwood was able to capitalize on the counter and scored their second of the match. Coach Ross and his side would come away with a 5-2 victory and the unbeaten streak intact.
Our Senior side came into the match one point and one place above Ringwood City with the hopes of putting a larger cushion between our two sides.
The start of the first half proved why Coach Rich has been so adamant about midfield drills and communication. CCFC took to Kevin Bartlett Reserve and the midfielders controlled the game so well that Ringwood City was not able to even see a corner kick until the dying minutes of the half.
Dan Quinn went for the spectacular around the twenty minute mark in an attempt to side-volley a Mike Maddock's cross, but was judged to have been fouled in the air by the Ringwood captain. Unfortunately, he was unable to convert the resulting penalty kick, after Ringwood's goalie guessed the right way and made the diving stop. Unabated, Quinn would latch on to an overhead ball and smash a shot into Ringwood's goalie who made the stop with his face, leaving him on the deck for a few minutes to reconsider his choice of position and if he wanted to stop another shot from our strikers. The first half would run out with us leading all tallies except goals scored.
The second half would lead to a tactical change as we went searching for a goal to get us over the line. Lee Hayward would eventually make way for Jake Buckley who had come off at halftime for the Reserves in preparation for the Seniors match. Buckley would make a speedy run along the far side of the grounds, catching out the Ringwood leftback. The speed of his run into the box left Buckley with no support but the wide spread stance of the opposition keeper added insult to injury as Buckley scored a drive between the goalie's legs. CCFC celebrated a well deserved and well take goal from the substitute.
Having been casual and content to hold up what time they had on the ball, Ringwood became desperate for a goal and began to launch balls out of their back line in the hopes of exploiting our wide players. The marshaling at the centre of our defence was more than up to the task, forcing Ringwood to opt for different tactics. Buckley would have another chance at goal as a chip over the top from captain David Kilcommons found him in space with the goalie closing him down. The lofted shot would go wide and for the first time in the match we saw their goalie actually hustle to get his kick away.
Our defencive hold on the day came undone as their right wing broke away from Adam Kweifo-okai along the touch line and the young left back clattered into the Ringwood player, bringing him down in the box. Rightly so, the call for a penalty was given. Ringwood was able to convert theirs, with Christoph Achsenick having guessed the wrong direction. Adam would make up for his foul by being part of the build up that sprung Dan Quinn out on the left where his shot would find the back of the net, putting us ahead once more at 2-1. Like Buckley before him, Quinn would later find himself in space against the goalie and best him, only to have his shot cleared off the line by the Ringwood captain who refused to be beaten by two goals.
Jason Minglis would be unable to come on to help solidify our stranglehold on the midfield as the Referee had misread his game book and would not allow Minglis to be substituted on, saying his number was already on the field, despite protests from the coaching box. Post match would prove this was wrong and the referee left a bit ashamed of his mistake. CCFC would see out the final minutes in a game against one of our better opponents in the competition, with a win and the singing of the club song to the tune of 2-1.