1. Cameron (GK), 2. Sam.D. 3. Billy, 4. Oakley, 5. Jack D, 6. Jack C, 7. Sam.A., 8. Jack M, 9. Ajiri (Capt 1st half) , 10. Mitchel – (Capt 2nd half), 11. Joe , 12. Oliver, 14. Jake
Full squad to choose from today. Being a friendly match it presented a great opportunity to give our newer squad members lots of pitch time. Also to give some players different experience, in unaccustomed positions.
A huge amount of rain in the last 24 hours left a very heavy pitch. The game started with MK Wanderers on top, Whirlwinds not really settling particularly well and the makeshift defence, playing a little high and getting caught with pace on the counter. One break saw MK Wanderers get beyond the defence on the right and a cross came in, the ball flew across the box and was hacked clear, however the referee spotted an infringement and blew for a penalty (still not sure why and forgot to ask him at the end !). The penalty was powerfully struck and Cameron got a hand to it, but couldn’t stop it going over the line, still a valiant effort, 0-1. Whirlwinds looked a little shell shocked, and had a few minutes of giving the ball away too easily, MK Wanderers again looked dangerous on the counter, still the defence played too high leaving too much space behind them, the opposition were very unlucky when they burst through and a delightful lob bounced back off the post. Whirlwinds didn’t take heed of this warning and a virtual replay a couple of minutes later, was this time calmly finished 0 – 2. Whirlwinds were now finally getting hold of the ball and moving it better, several half chances were created, but failure to get shots off early enough saw them quickly snuffed out. Finally great work between Oliver & Ajiri, released Sam A, who hit a great strike which flew past the keeper, 1-2. The opposition now looked a little fragile and started to show their frustration with some ‘robust’ challenges, Sam A and Ajiri in particular were targeted, the latter having to be withdrawn after one such challenge. Whirlwinds were on top but couldn’t press home the advantage, however Wanderers kept the defence on their toes with dangerous counter attacks.
Half time team talk concentrated on defending deeper, and not allowing the space in behind, but also to make sure in around the opposition penalty area, we got our shots off early, as we seemed to be trying walk the ball in. The newer players all kept their place in the team, with a little shuffle around to accommodate the four subs. Whirlwinds looked more resilient with two regular defenders restored to the back line, and a bit of protection in midfield in front of them. A few minutes in, Wanderers restored their two goal advantage after Whirlwinds failed to clear a corner, and the ball was stabbed home, disappointing as in the last few games we seemed to have cut this type of error out, 1-3. Whirlwinds were certainly now more in control of the game, but failed really to put as much pressure on the opponents that their control should have given them. The midfield and forward line were very disjointed, players drifting out of position, which meant we couldn’t put more than a couple of passes together. The second half just seem to drift to an end, with neither team looking like threatening the opposition goal to any real extent.
Summary: Today the result wasn’t important, the most important thing was to get some real pitch time to the 4 newer squad members, as the experience for them going forward, will help them immensely. We spoke at the end about not only physical tiredness, but mental tiredness, as in the second half in particular, we never give ourselves an opportunity to get back in to the game, as we lost our team shape.
M.O.M : Cameron – Unlucky with the penalty, couldn’t have done anything about the other 2 goals. Handling was faultless, distribution was superb, brave coming off the line, and made one world class reaction save, from a miscued defensive clearance, to keep us in the game in the 1st half.
Goal – Sam A.