1. Cameron, 2. Sam.D., 3. Billy, 4. Oakley, 5. Jack D, 6. Jack C, 7. Sam.A., 8. Jack M, 10. Mitchel – Capt , 12. Oliver , 14. Jake
Today marked our first appearance in the top division of the league.
Pre-match talk was about players raising their levels, we knew it would be a tough test, having faced Oakley just a few months prior and losing just, by the only goal of the game. We knew they were very good at moving the ball around and we wanted to press high, in combinations of 2 and 3, to try and break up their play.
The game started and Oakley pressed from the off, after just a minute or so a poor goal kick and defensive cover was punished and we found ourselves an early goal down. Oakley never let up and carried on attacking just a few minutes later some weak defending combined with some tricky wing play allowed a cross from the right to be smartly finished. Whirlwinds were in tatters, unable to get to grips with a marauding Oakley who weren’t going to let up. Several more warning shots were fired, which Cameron dealt with well, alas a darting forward was upended on the edge of the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot, thankfully the penalty wasn’t the best and Cameron gathered comfortably. This finally seemed to spark Whirlwinds in to life and they started to compete and even create a couple of scoring opportunities, alas they couldn’t take them, Oakley still looked dangerous but were largely restricted to long range shots which Cameron dealt with fairly comfortably.
Half time and a chance to re-group, it could have been a lot worse, the first 15 minutes were as poor as we had played for many a year, and failure to capatilise on chances created, did nothing to lift the mood. Team talk was about our failure to keep the ball when we had possession at the back, either giving directly away from goal kicks, mostly caused by the strange shape we seemed to be adopting (confused I think by having to take kicks from the edge of the penalty area) and then when we did gain possession just giving it straight back to the opposition. The next goal was really important, and for 10 minutes in the second half we seem to match the opposition and make a game of it, sadly Oakley scored really good third goal, almost immediately after, a silly rash challenge ended the game as a contest, the ref at the time we thought, fortunately deemed to be on the line (it was inside the box and a penalty) the free kick was then dispatched with great aplomb. Heads went down, desperation set in, and error after error after error was gleefully accepted and punished by a blood thirsty opposition. It was a massacre, 9-0 it finished and in 5 years, absolutely the worst performance from a Whirlwinds team.
Summary : A day to be forgotten or remembered ? For me it should be remembered, a harsh lesson that we need to learn from, it won’t get any easier in this division, and if we don’t learn from this then we will suffer further and further in the coming weeks and months. Fortunately the boys seemed to take it well, there were jokes and smiles at the end and I think they knew they had let themselves down, we will work on the basic errors in training this week and hopefully, give us a better platform going forward.
M.O.M : It was a difficult day, special mention to Cameron who under constant pressure did pull off a string of fine saves, we spoke about raising levels and all players apart from one, were way below their usual level, the one who did raise his level is Sam D, well done Sam and something to build on.