It was a hard fought day for the Reserve side as we hosted Brandon Park FC. With goals from Gary Batt and a header from Lee Hayward before the first fifteen minutes, it looked to be a steady day for the Citizens as the unbeaten streak of the Reserve team looked to remain in place. But as halftime loomed, we found ourselves down 3-2 from a backline that seemed shakier in the lead than chasing it. Tom Snaith levelled the scores at 3-3 in the 40th minute, but in his excitement would concede a free kick and have a yellow card bestowed upon him minutes later. Thankfully we walked into the change rooms at the half on level terms.
The second half started with a substitution at the back to try and steady the nerves and Gared Matheson dictating terms in the midfield with a coolness far beyond his age and L plates. Lee Hayward displayed his ability to score at will, collecting his second on the day in the 54th as we took the lead back. It would be short lived as Brandon Park snatched back a goal three minutes later on a swift counter attack. Josh Frewen would also see a yellow card shortly thereafter as the game would grind into a midfield battle. The Citizens were unlucky to see a goal disallowed as Lee Hayward went searching for his hat trick, but was judged to have received the ball in an offsides position. Andreas Karlson and Mike O’Brien were put into midfield roles to try and spark the attack. With the game clock winding down, Brandon Park once again took the lead in the 85th, and it seemed that our unbeaten streak was at an end. Not willing to suffer a defeat at home, Lee Hayward found his hat trick just before stoppage time, having scored a header, left footed and right footed goals. The Reserves saw out the last minutes of the game with the score standing at 5-5 and our unbeaten streak intact for another week!
Tied for points at the top of the table, the Senior side was looking to break out and make a case for promotion early. Shots and chances came fast in the opening half as the Citizens held Brandon Park in their own half. Jake Buckley made short work of exploiting their left side of defence, making runs into the box and putting crosses in. Craig Tweedy was unlucky not to open up the scoring after receiving a Dan Quinn cut back, only to find his shot blocked by our own Mike Maddocks. Buckley would find the back of the net before too long with an outside the boot drill into the back of the netting, having flicked the ball over the defender, leaving him looking the wrong way.
Tweedy would get his goal towards the end of the first half as a Dan Kilcommons thrown in was flicked on Dan Quinn. Brandon Park were unable to clear and despite the ball moving away from the goal, Tweedy executed a falling bicycle kick that no one saw coming, including their goalie. Having seen how it was done, moments before the half time whistle, Tomasz Krzywda would also attempt it, but with a lesser success rate. We would walk into the rooms at halftime with a score of 2-0.
The second half saw immediate changes from Brandon Park as they brought on two changes. The weather would play havoc with us as clearances off the wet ball did not have the same power as they had in the first half. Brandon Park had several chances with CCFC limited to corner kicks. In the 81st, the Citizens gave away a free kick on the edge of our area, and despite the outstretched glove of keeper Christoph Achsenick, the clean sheet was over with a 2-1 scoreline. The kick was amazingly taken, the fact that Achsenick was able to get close to it is a testament to him, having injured his leg earlier in the week. In an instance that should be reviewed, Craig Tweedy found himself on the end of a headbutt and a fist, and despite the linesman seeing it, the Brandon Park instigator would only see a yellow card. Sadly that would be forgotten quickly as a minute later we were caught out on a counter attack with a deflected ball forcing Achsenick to switch directions quickly. From our angle it looked like a good save, but the referee judged the ball to have crossed the line and for that the score was levelled at 2-2. Shortly after the final whistle a Brandon Park spectator would make his way on to the pitch and smash a ball into Jason Minglis, kicking off a bench clearing instance that will no doubt be looked into by the FFV.
Despite what happened, that point earned puts the seniors on top of the table. The reserves sit in the third spot, while our 3rds side had a Bye this week and are jumbled up due to additions to the division after the season had kicked off.