Sodbury struggle to score in the gloom

December 19 2017

Chipping Sodbury 0 - 0 Longwell Green

 Chipping Sodbury 0 - 0 Longwell Green

Back to back home fixtures for Chipping Sodbury Town in the first week of December yielded just one point as they prepared for a busy Christmas programme. Having faired poorly against league leaders Street the previous week the home side hoped to banish their winter blues when they faced the bottom placed club at the Ridings. 

Longwell Green had registered just one draw in their opening 19 games and shipped 54 goals, so on paper the home side looked the favourites, but Sodbury have found it difficult to recreate their early season form. The autumn pitches allowed them to play through the thirds and build with smooth passing and pacey attacking play,  However the winter weather has affected this with a pitch that is deteriorating week on week. 

Longwell Green were the first to settle and they caught the home side napping when after two minutes winger Liam Oswin broke into the Sodbury box only to have his ankle tapped before he could get his shot away. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a spot kick. Sam Burgess had saved two of the previous penalty kicks he faced and he did not disappoint to make it a hat trick of fine saves going down to his right to palm the ball away from danger. 

The visitors continued to target their wingmen and Sodbury found it difficult to cope with their quick and accurate passing through midfield. The Sods slowly grew into the game and on 15 minutes were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area following a push. The resultant shot cannoned of the wall for a corner. Three minutes later Jake Thomas shot just wide from another free kick in a similar position.

Neither goalkeeper was troubled from free play but it was Sodbury who created the better chances in a poor first half. They should have taken the lead on the half hour when Liam Pullen found himself on the goal side of the Longwell defender but didn’t manage to get his shot away and the defender cleared. On the stroke of half time Pullen once again found himself with a clear sight on goal but his shot was just off target and the visitors survived.

Both sides struggled to take a foothold in the opening 20 minutes of the second half with the long ball taking precedence. The floodlights were turned on early to counter the gathering gloom, however neither side could find any sort of passing rhythm. Substitutions after the first quarter of an hour had more of an impact for the visitors and they slowly took control.

Theo Coombs wearing the number four shirt for Sodbury was in his usual obstinate mood and controlled the back line but for 10 minutes it looked more likely that Longwell would record their first win of the season.

The unflappable Coombs was a little unfortunate to be booked on 70 minutes when a miss timed challenge led to a free kick on the edge of the box but the visitors wasted the opportunity. 

It was only after 82 minutes that Sodbury managed to record their first shot on target. The save by Forster produced a corner from which the home side mounted their first period of sustained pressure. The corner nearly broke the deadlock with the goal bound shot cleared off the line following a scramble in the box.  

Four corners in quick succession led to several goal-mouth melees with all ten outfield players behind the ball for Longwell Green. Some fine work in midfield by Sodbury’s Sam Jenkins saw him beat no fewer than four defenders before he released the ball to winger Jake Thomas who struck a fine shot that Forster saved.