It was grey start to to the day, with just a little drizzle in the air as the game got underway.
The home side, started with real intensity without the ball, hurrying and pressing their opponents and forcing some loose passes. When they did pick possession up, they were equally as wasteful, and seemed quite happy just to launch high aimless balls in to the oppositions half. Whirlwinds just couldn’t get going, and were struggling to get any rhythm or tempo to their play. The first chance was created down the left, Ajiri wriggled free from the wrestling match the opposition defence, had decided was the best way to stop their opponents, and forced the keeper to make a save down to his right hand post. From the resulting corner, Billy had a header cleared off the line. It was an ugly game to watch, persistent grappling and pushing by the home team, which the Referee decided to ignore and then some over zealous cynical fouling. Ajiri again had another chance to open the scoring, but shot just wide. The next action saw Billy power a shot from twenty yards, with the keeper stranded it thumped off the post. Nathan was called in to action, a long shot range shot straight at him and collected with safe hands. It was a half where the ball spent the majority of the time in the air, with the away side providing the only real threat on goal.
Half time team talk focused on trying get the ball down and play in our style. The first half was dictated by the opposition’s pressing, and then the away side’s inability to keep the ball for any length of time.
The second half started and the same pattern of football followed, the home team happy to launch the ball as high and long as possible and the away team unable to keep the ball on the floor and create openings. It was a dreadful game of football, a full 25 minutes passed without any real goal threat, when it did it was more through a bit luck than quality, a miss hit drilled cross field pass by Billy, found Sam in lots of space edge of the box, his first touch took him towards goal, his right footed shot sailed over the bar, the clearest sight of goal in the whole game, and one you would usually expect him to finish with ease. Like buses another chance soon followed, this time a free kick floated over the top of the defence, Jack M had broken the off side trap, tried to get a flick header over the advancing keeper, he just missed it, but did enough to unsettle the ‘keeper who pawed the ball back in to the path of Oakley, who with the goal at his mercy fired over the bar. The away side were now completely on top, the home side offering no goal threat, it was backs to the wall. Brandon slotted a ball behind the defence, Sam got his body across in front of the defender, who’s only instinct was to wrestle him to the floor, to be fair he had got away with it all game, however this time the Referee after a few moments hesitation, decided to give a foul and award a penalty. Brandon stepped up and calmly slotted it to the ‘keepers right 0-1.
With just a couple of minutes left on the watch, the away side should have just kept possession killed the game and picked up an important 3 points. Instead they went looking for a second, the home team put their lump of a centre back upfront, the tactic was obvious. In control of the ball in the bottom corner the away team had perfect control of the game, however in an effort to try and force a second goal they gave the ball away, the home team countered and with plenty of cover, a tracking Whirlwinds midfielder gave a way a needless foul. It was the perfect set up for the home team to launch a high ball in to the box, and so they did. Nathan came out to try and catch, he was beaten to it by the giant of a defender, who’s flicked looping header towards goal, still a covering defender had an opportunity to clear, but instead of simply heading it over the bar, he tried and overhead kick, missed the ball completely and the ball bounced in 1-1. It kind of summed up the story of an ugly game up.
Summary: It was a frustrating performance, we need to learn to control games by playing in our style. It seems we are too easily dictated by our oppositions style of play. We must believe in ourselves and our own strengths and not try to play the oppositions game. We were missing some players, and lacked some pace upfront today, but other players need to step up and make up for it, sadly today it didn’t happen.
M.O.T.M: It was a day when nobody really shone, and the majority were well below the levels they have set so far this season, Billy had a good first half in particular and was unlucky not to have two goals, so this weeks award goes to him.