Friendly: Milton Keynes 9 – 7 Reading 2′s
The deciding game in our three-game mini series against Reading 2’s from the division above, East Division 2.
Reading won the first game back in the autumn 8-4. MK won game two early in January. Both those games were played at Reading’s home ground so it was good to host them at Stantonbury this time around.
MK were missing four key players but otherwise were pretty much at full strength. Missing were defender Aaron Day (on holiday), midfield maestro Carl-Peter Lain (injured), top scorer from our last game, Richard Euerby (away) and LSM Danny Adams (injured, but at the game managing the MK bench). Joining us for this game was Tom Hatton, ex-Northampton Town and now playing with Purley – who’s game was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch.
The Reading 2’s team had three players from their 1st team, so both squads looked fairly even in terms of both numbers and strength. This was going to be a good game and a great test of how far MK have come so far this season.
And the answer is… a fair way. For large chunks of the game, MK had the slight upper hand. The defence was solid, especially Nathan in goal who made some great stops today, but also the long poles who hassled and cleared the ball well. Reading won the face-off battle but rarely turned them into fast breaks as the MK midfield got into defensive shape and slowed everything down. In the attacking half MK did throw some loose passes now and again or missed the odd catch under pressure but generally we moved the ball as well as we ever have this season. It was Reading who made more basic errors, including an open goal for Brett to throw the ball into from near the halfway line.
We wobbled a little at the start of the fourth quarter. Reading scored three quick goals to cut the lead to one goal. The MK play had got a little rushed. There were signs of getting tired, which leads to mistakes, which leads to leaking goals. A time-out to chat about retaining composure and control worked wonders as we worked an opening for Sam to score our 9th goal and ice the game.
Quarter Scores: 2-2 / 5-4 / 8-4 / 9-7
Tom Hatton 3
Chris Webborn 2
Sam Thornton 2
Jack Gambrill 1
Brett Satchell 1