Match Squad : 1. Cameron, 6. Jack C, 10. Mitchel (Capt), 4. Oakley, 3. Billy, 2. Sam D, 9. Ajiri, 11. Joe, 7. Sam A, 14. Jack D
Whirlwinds handed a full debut to 2 players Sam D & Jack D. Whirlwinds started the game fairly well pushing forward and putting Harrold under pressure. Harrold were resilient at the back and made some good interceptions. Whirlwinds were a little rusty and not passing the ball as well as usual, so keeping possession of the ball wasn’t at it’s usual standards. Around 10 minutes in to the game a great through ball by Sam A, saw Joe spring the offside trap and race clear one on one with the goalkeeper he struck low and hard only to see the shot rebound off the post. A defensive mistake from a Harrold player under pressure from Ajiri, saw him take the ball and break clear of the back peddling defence to drive in to the box a slot home with a neat side foot finish, to put the Whirlwinds deservedly a goal ahead. Harrold responded well and broke forward on a few occasions but Whirlwinds defence looked strong and resolute. Harrold forced a corner, a great delivery was met with a bullet header that flew past the keeper and in for Harrold to equalise. Then came what can only be described as 10 minutes of defensive calamity, another Harrold corner, this time a poor delivery low to the front post went through two defenders legs past two more and was stabbed home at the back post 1 -2. Next a free kick from 25 yards was smartly saved by Cameron and pushed out to the side of the goal, Whirlwinds defenders stood watching while a Harrold player reacted and slotted home 1-3. Another costly defensive mistake from a misjudged clearance saw Harrold pounce and slot home 1-4. The defensive unit was in tatters, usually solid and reliable they looked nervous and dejected. Fortunately the midfield now started to get hold of the ball and take some pressure off, a ball slotted through saw Sam A, break clear of the defensive line and with the opposition ‘keeper caught in two minds whether to come or stay he coolly slotted home 2-4, and shortly afterwards the half time whistle blew.
HT Whirlwinds 2-4 Harrold
A tough half time team talk focused on correcting the defensive errors and also to get back to what we are good at, keeping the ball and passing through and around teams. The 2nd half saw the Whirlwinds explode out of the box and a great strike by Ajiri pull it back to 3-4. Whirlwinds pressed and pressed with Harrold pinned in their own half, the ball just wouldn’t quite break, but now we were starting to dominate proceedings. A rare Harrold break away saw them force a corner, again not a great delivery in, mistimed clearance which saw a shot from the opposition thud against the bar and the rebound smashed home while the Whirlwinds defenders stood and watched 3-5. Back we bounced back, with a mazy run and superb top corner finish by Sam A. 4- 5. Again we dominated the ball with Billy running the midfield and winning everything and driving us forward. A great run by Ajiri saw him poleaxed by a clumsly challenge on the left hand corner of the box. Sam A. stepped up and curled a shot which the keeper parried in to the air Jack C was on hand to head home as the keeper made a second grab for the ball, the goal was disallowed as the referee felt the keeper had both hands on the ball, difficult to tell, guess only the keeper will know for sure. Whirlwinds continued to dominate and a great pick up by Billy in the centre of the field saw him drive past two stranded defenders and smash a shot which seemed destined to hit the back of the net only for the keeper to pull of a great save, but Sam A. was alive and on hand to tuck home the equaliser 5-5. Whirlwinds pressed and pressured, Harrold started to hit a few long balls which in the most cases we defended well, one long ball saw us give away a foul right hand side of the area 25 yards out, keeper was busy organising his wall as Harrold took advantage of the disorganisation and curled a shot in to the centre of the goal with the home keeper stranded, a harsh lesson that a free kick can be taken any time. Whirlwinds pressed in the final few minutes for an equaliser but to no avail.
Overall – good debuts by Sam D & Jack D, really pleased with the 2nd half performance, some work to do on defensive organisation, but nothing that can’t be fixed in a session or two.
FT Whirlwinds 5 – 6 Harrold & Carlton
Scorers – Ajiri (2), Sam A (3)
MOM – Billy