With Bow Brickhill just about playable, a rainy start left the pitch very heavy in places.
Whirlwinds got the game underway and quickly showed that they were in the mood today, moving the ball around through midfield, with Ajiri and Oliver able runners down both flanks. Ajiri should have opened the scoring early on but his effort just flashed millimeters past the post. Oliver whipped in a great cross, for it just to escape the reaches of both the onrushing Ibu & Ajiri, the latter again missing a good chance a few minutes later. Whirlwinds could easily have been 3 or 4 up when the deadlock was finally broken, Ibu the provider with a lovely turn and through ball for Airi to spring the offside trap and slide past the advancing ‘keeper 1-0.
Shefford just weren’t in the game, their front players well marshalled by the home defence, with Thomas looking back to his imperious best, when they managed to get in behind the home defence, they were way too eager and always a good five yards offside. Whirlwinds were spraying the ball around superbly, with in particular Jake & Ajiri causing havoc down the left. Oliver proving just as much a threat down the right, rounded his full back and put a pacy cross in for Ibu to connect with his knee, it went straight at the ‘keeper and was saved, although he didn’t appear to know much about it. Ajiri then flashed another drive across the goal well assisted by Jake. Shefford finally sprang the clear of the home defence, bearing in on goal to the right, Sam once again deputising in goal, saved well with his legs, the rebound came out to the edge of the box, still with two defenders covering there shouldn’t have been a direct threat to goal, but both were too easily undone and the ball was chipped in the empty net 1-1. It should have been a consolation goal even at that stage, the home team had been so dominant in the first half.
Very positive half time team talk, we needed to sharpen up our finishing, keep passing the ball and play with the same intensity when not in possession.
The second half started in the same vain as the first, the home side in complete ascendancy, but attacking the more difficult end in terms of the pitch, the goalmouth very heavy and getting heavier as the game progressed making attacking that end much more difficult. Ajiri once again cut in from the left and flashed a cross through the six yard box that really invited someone to put it in the back of the net. A corner was cleared out to Jake who fired his shot back in from twenty yards, which produced a flying save from the Shefford ‘keeper, he then produced a point blank save from Ibu after a scramble in the box, the home team could well have been in double figures by this stage such was there dominance.
Whether a bit of frustration set in, or legs were just getting tired, but Whirlwinds went in to a spell where they stopped playing with the calmness and precision they had displayed so far, and started to to force passes that weren’t really on, as a result the ball started to given to the opposition far too cheaply, and they were punished for it, the ball given away way easily in the centre of the pitch, Shefford counter attacked and the home defence failed to track the outside run, a clever through ball, and they were in on goal and produced a good finish that left Sam with no chance 1-2. Incensed by the injustice the home team poured forward, Oliver broke clear and one on one with the ‘keeper his shot was well saved, the rebound dropped invitingly for Ibu, but with the goal gaping he could only direct his effort in to the side netting. The game drew to a close with the Whirlwinds forcing corner after corner, but Shefford somehow managed to hold on and progress to the next round. It was a daylight robbery that the legendary ‘Dick Turpin’ would have been proud of. Good luck to Shefford in the next round, but I think they perhaps may have used up a large slice of it up today.
M.O.T.M: Jake, he produced his best performance for a couple of season’s, and long may it continue.