WWFC Hurricanes 1 – 3 Bletchley Jrs Vipers
H/T Score: 1 – 3
Team: Francis, Luke; Charles, Freddie, Orlando, Rocco (c), Ryan; Asante, Harry, Joe; Tao
VENOMOUS VIPERS STING HURRICANES
Fresh from recent successes and second in the league with a game in hand, the Lions faced Bletchley Vipers in their next match of the season. The unbeaten Vipers had only played twice so far, but looked much bigger than the Hurricanes. Which would win out – speed and agility, or size and strength?
Opening the game for the Lions were:
Charles Rocco Ryan
Asante Tao Harry
The Lions kicked off and Ryan’s trademark big left foot placed the ball up front for Tao, but not in time to beat the Vipers’ keeper to the ball. Soon after quick interplay between Tao, Harry and Asante saw a shot deflected behind for a Lions corner. Joe floated the ball in against the wind, Harry volleyed it into the back of the net! 1-0 with 5 minutes gone and the Lions had started brightly.
Soon after, a huge goal kick from Francis put the ball three quarters of the way up the pitch only for it to come back into the Lions’ box quickly – it seemed the big Vipers also had speed in their arsenal and a determination to be the first to the ball.
A feint and a sudden change of pace saw Asante escape from 3 Vipers, staggering but with the ball. Regaining his footing he tried to play in Tao, but the Vipers’ keeper just beat him to the ball.
A short time after, Charles and Asante executed a lovely series of moves which turned defence into attack. A quick and long throw from Charles caught the Vipers unprepared. Asante ran onto the ball, drove forward and Charles, following up, received Asante’s backpass and looped it up and over for Asante to run onto once he had passed the cornering defenders. Although the ball ran out of play it was a good example of communication and teamwork.
Bletchley’s physical presence was causing the Lions some problems, and when Asante and the Vipers’ no. 6 met, only one of them went down. However, Asante was quickly up and play resumed after a handshake. The size difference was noticeable all over the pitch but as ever Rocco was not intimidated and minutes later prevented a goal through sheer persistence, giving Francis the time to collect the ball from the onrushing Vipers no. 10.
The Lions responded, and Tao’s cross just evaded Joe’s reach. Next it was Bletchley’s turn, and two corners in quick succession were cleared by Asante. He then got sent down the line by Luke’s throw and his teasing cross was first fumbled but then recovered at the second attempt by the grateful Vipers keeper.
More robust play from the away team saw Luke winded from a kick to the chest and he had to come off (although fortunately he was able to come back on soon after), replaced by Freddie. Whilst the Lions were reorganising Bletchley won a corner, and Francis had to be a full stretch to deny the Vipers an equaliser. However, from the next set-piece the no. 10 found the net to level the scores. 1-1, and Size had equalised against Speed.
Woburn had to reshuffle again, with Luke returning to the pitch this time in goal. Charles linked well with Joe for several counter attacks but before long the Bletchley pressure told and they took the lead from a super free kick around the Lions’ wall. 1-2 to the Vipers. Barely had the Lions regrouped before another long ball to the no. 9 on the right wing saw him head it forwards and run onto it in a particularly skilful move catching the Lions defence off guard. An angled shot into bottom left corner extended the lead. 1-3 and big Bletchley were bouncing.
Vipers then had a free kick which went wide of the goal and Charles was off, replaced by Orlando.
Following an offside, Asante made a good interception, ran into the right corner and put a cross into the visitors’ box. The keeper didn’t take the ball cleanly and attempted to recover it as Tao rushed in putting it just wide of the goal. The half-time whistle blew and it was 1-3 to the Vipers.
Leon and Andy had to lift the Lions following that 10 minute Bletchley burst, and the second half kicked off. Straight away the Vipers steamrollered their way into the Lions’ box without a challenge except for the inevitable from Rocco. The resulting corner was scooped up by Luke, out to Francis who launched it into the Vipers’ box just too far ahead of Tao. Orlando then pressured the big no. 6 and deflected his shot wide of the Lions’ goal. Tao checked the resulting corner with his head only to have it returned, but Rocco’s back line sprung their offside trap to neutralise the threat.
Bletchley were on top, but Woburn were repelling their advances. Freddie made some great checks against the no. 15 and won a free kick, but it was intercepted and no.11 broke down the wing. Freddie chased, Rocco covered and No. 11’s shot was forced into the side netting.
A Tao tackle won the ball up front only for him to be poleaxed by two of the big back line, however no foul and luckily no injury. Some fancy ball control from Charles (back on for Freddie) wrong footed the no. 9 and a quality ball wide left opened up a chance for Asante. Charles then checked no. 11’s next attack only to have to do it again 30 seconds later. This time a free kick was given against Bletchley for no. 11’s chopping hacks at the lost ball from behind. Three hard shots saved by Luke later, and it was Francis’ turn to be fouled and a free kick given against Bletchley. There followed another decidedly defensive phase of the match for the Lions, peppered with strong saves by Luke, two more free kicks against Bletchley for overly robust play and a glorious Jackie Chan-style aerial interception by Francis.
At the final whistle, the score remained 1-3 to the Vipers. This was a tough match against a team with size, skill and strength. Honourable mentions to two Lions – Rocco and Tao fought harder than ever against possibly the biggest and most robust opponents of the season.
After the Easter break, Woburn welcome Moretonville Juniors Tornadoes. The newly formed Moretonville Juniors Hurricanes played with great heart last week so our warriors will have to work hard against the Tornadoes.