After drawing a trench in the sand! On the week before, this was a fresh start for the Whirlwinds, we all knew what we needed to do to put things back on track. A visit from Barton Rovers, the perfect opportunity to show our newly found steel and determination.
It was Barton who started the game in the ascendancy, full of confidence after a last minute win the week before, and several new players added to their squad. A big side who play to their aerial strengths, it was a perfect test for the home team. In general they stood up fairly well, to the early bombardment. Barton’s real threat came from set pieces, their new striker twice sending headers just over the bar. Whirlwinds were playing on the counter attack, which suits them, with the pace they possess upfront, Billy was thundering in to challenges in midfield, Oliver an outlet down the right, clearly had the pace to cause panick in the home defence. The opening goal came from a counter attack, Archie now starting to dominate at the back won a header, Ajiri picked up the second ball and sent Oliver away down the right, he left his full back for dead, race towards the right hand side of the box and calmly squared for the oncoming Sam to side foot home 1-0.
It was slightly against the run of play, but wasn’t really a surprise, as the home team seemed to have the better attacking threat when they broke quickly. Barton responded by trying to catch Nathan out by pumping long chipped shots at him, he punched one from under the cross bar, watched three or four sail well over, and then another bounce back off the bar, although if on target he would have had it covered. Barton finally found a way through, Archie sliced a clearance, Nathan could only palm it into the path of a grateful Barton attacker to tuck in the net, on the balance of play deserved, 1-1. Now would be a test of the home sides mettle, and they responded well, Oliver again proving a threat down the right, Sam shooting just wide. The home side finished the half the stronger.
A positive half time team talk, the effort level and commitment to the team spirit was back to where it should be, we just needed to move the ball quicker through midfield, to exploit the space in the wide areas.
Out both teams went for the second half, it was the home team who were now edging the possession, and as a result asking more questions of the Barton defence. Sam and Ajiri, played a quick combination down the left, which sent Ajiri in to the box, facing the ‘Keeper and covering defender, he feinted to go on his favoured left, which allowed enough room in the corner to slot in with his right foot 2-1. Barton responded with a great run down the right, the attacker drove in to the box, and shot past Nathan, Archie covering the near post, slid in and cleared off the line. From the resulting corner, the same attacker powered a header passed Nathan, this time to be frustrated by Jack C’s chest, another goal line clearance. Two pieces of fine defending, that kept the home side in front. At the other end Sam full of trickery was upended, centre of the pitch just outside the box. Billy stepped up a his powerful free-kick took a slight deflection off the end of the wall, with the ‘keeper flying to his left to get hand to it, and push wide. It wasn’t long before the home side added to the scoreline, Jake threading a ball through for Oliver to race clear of the defence and finish 3-1. The home side were now well in control, Barton’s response was to put their giant defender upfront and hit him early with long high balls, a tactic which has caught the home side out in previous games. However the home side stood firm, the highlight was Jack M half the size of the towering defender, out muscling him to win a header. The home side just about managed to keep them at arms length and see the game out.
Scorers: Sam, Ajiri, Oliver
Summary: What a difference a week makes! Delighted with our effort and commitment and a real team spirit that came flooding back, in the words of our Captain “That was just like, how we used to play”. We need to keep that desire going forward and polish our football a little.
M.O.T.M: There were some super performances today, the whole of the defence worked incredibly hard, nice to see our front three all scoring, Jake gave tiring midfielders legs a real boost with his energy when coming off the subs bench in the second half. Billy was a machine in the centre of midfield, however we had a colossus at the back today in the form of Archie, he gets this weeks award.