A trip to Ampthill, for the final league game of 2016.
After a run of pretty average displays the Whirlwinds started the game looking to be positive, a change in formation seemed to give them some confidence. Ampthill struggling to cope with quick movement of the ball and pace upfront, Ibu testing the twice in quick session. Ajiri broke through after being fed by Jack M and was upended in the box, the Referee pointing immediately to the spot, the penalty despatched with aplomb by Brandon 0-1.
A second soon followed, Ajiri was fouled just outside the box on the left, Sam curled in the free kick, Oliver leapt the highest, but just couldn’t, get a touch, the ball bounced in the six yard box and nestled in the corner of the net 0-2. The away side were well on top and good value for their lead. Ampthill not in the game in the opening 20 minutes pulled one back, no pressure on the ball invited the shot and it found the back of the net 1-2. It prompted a good reaction from the Whirlwinds and didn’t seem to knock them of their stride, Ajiri having a shot well saved by the ‘keeper, Ibu forcing mistakes chasing balls over the top and generally giving the defenders a hard time. However it was Ampthill who scored next, again plenty of bodies around the ball, but no pressure allowing the Ampthill striker to turn and curl a shot in to the corner of the net 2-2.
It was a hammer blow for the away side who from being in complete control, somehow found themselves pegged back. The injustice of it appeared to give them a second wind, Ajiri wriggling his way down the left was halted by a trip, the free kick a yard from the byline, was curled in by Sam, Oliver made a diagonal run and bundled the ball over the line 2-3. Approaching half, Ibu showed a great touch and provided a through ball for Ajiri to race clear of the defence and shoot past the keeper 2-4.
A positive half time team talk, we had got back to what we do best, moving the ball quickly, getting the ball wide early and using our pace upfront.
Ampthill came out fired up, and dominated the early part of the half, the Whirlwinds lost their rhythm and stopped moving the ball quickly, too many players taking too many touches in midfield and loosing the ball. Although completely top, the home side were struggling to create a clear opportunity, a corner from the left was swung in, Nathan could just palm it back in the centre of the goal, it was the gift the home side had been waiting for and it was gleefully accepted 3-4.
It should have woken the Whirlwinds up, but they just kept doing the opposite of what had brought them success in the first half. Ampthill were totally on top, Nathan pulling off a couple of saves from long range shots. With time running out it looked like the away side may just hang on, but again they shot themselves in the foot, getting caught on the ball in midfield, they gave away needless possession when in control of the ball, Ampthill charged forward the first shot was blocked, but the ball broke to an Ampthill midfielder who smacked it in the net 4-4. Just a couple of minutes remained, too late for either team to create another opportunity to win the game.
Scorers: Brandon (P), Sam, Oliver, Ajiri
Summary: It was a good positive first half display, we got back to what we are good at, we moved the ball quickly and with purpose. The second half, we just went back in to bad habits which have plagued us in recent below par performances. It was a game of two halves and two extreme performances from us.
M.O.T.M. We can only really look at the first half, as the whole team struggled in the second, Ajiri looked to have regained some form, Sam was creative, Oliver a threat out wide, however the stand out player was Ibu, who worked really hard and was a constant threat on the break.