A grey early start, with some light drizzle in the air, today saw the Whirlwinds host Shefford Saints Reds, a division higher, so we expected a sterner test than we have had of late.
The game kicked off and opening exchanges were pretty even, the home side with the majority of early forays in to the opposition half, however they weren’t getting all their own way with Shefford looking to get on the front foot and attack whenever the opportunity arose. Midfield was very competitive and Shefford had two dangerous wide players, who were probably enjoying a little too much space. The home side however were looking the more dangerous, and around 10 minutes in the deadlock was broken, an early release ball by Jake saw Ajiri sprint clear of the defence and slot home with his trade mark finish, low angled across the goalkeeper and in to the bottom corner 1-0. Shefford responded well and forced a couple of dangerous corners which weren’t dealt with particularly well by the home defence. Not used to being under consistent pressure the home side were a little unstable in defence and some panicky clearances were not capalatised on very well by the away side. Gradually the home side, got back to controlling the game and enjoyed a 10 minute spell of attacking dominance Jack M sending a looping header just over the bar, and towards the end of the half a volley just wide, Ajiri clean through with just the keeper to beat shot wide, and Sam saw a curling shot come back off the bar.
Half time team talked focused on two elements, finishing which has been a thorn in our side this season, and we must be calmer in our defensive clearances, far too often they were rushed and then invited secondary pressure.
The second half kicked off and immediately the home side were on the front foot, Ajiri menacing down the left and Jake lively on the right were causing all sorts of problems for the visitors defence, the keeper pulled off two super saves to keep the score to just one, he could nothing about what was about to come, a great combination between Jake and Oliver saw the latter tee up Billy on the edge of the box, his first time strike went like a thunderbolt in to the roof of the net 2-0. The goal seemed to break the resilience of the away side, the game got a little tetchy with Billy on the end of one particular scathing challenge long after the ball had gone. The home side were well on top, a third goal was coming and so it did with Ajiri finishing off a good phase of play, clipping in past the stranded keeper, 3-0. The home side were now well on top, and could have and possibly should have doubled their lead in the last 1o minutes, with host of good chances not finished off.
Scorers : Ajiri (2), Billy
Summary : Overall a very assured and controlled display, some defensive frailties were put to bed in the second half where we were in total control. Again our finishing wasn’t where it should be and this is one area where we can make a significant improvement. In the end the away side were flattered by thy score line.
M.O.T.M : Some very good individual displays today. Special mention to Jake & Oliver who particularly in the second half caused lots of problems, Billy once again dominated the midfield and scored a peach of a goal. But today’s award goes to Ajiri, who scored two goals, but his wing play was terrific, unfortunately we didn’t apply the finishing touch to his superb crosses, this shouldn’t detract from the excellent work he did.