An early start in Eaton Bray, after the heavy frosts of the week, it was a much milder morning.
The game got underway and his was the home side who looked a little bit sharper, we know theIR style of football isn’t the prettiest, but they can be effective if they get control of the game. The Whirlwinds were doing o.k, quite neat and tidy with the ball, but they couldn’t really create an opportunity going forward, they were however generally coming off second in the 50/50’s, which is what the oppositions game is built around, win the 50/50’s and lump in to the channels. A throwing from the right hand edge of the box, was flicked on to the six yard box, Whirlwinds had a covering defender, unfortunately he miss kicked his clearance, straight to a home attacker and he smashed it in the net 1-0. It was a disappointing goal to give away, as we knew it would be a tactic, but we just didn’t defend it well enough.
It gave the home side a huge lift, and they were now hungrier and stronger all over the pitch, Whirlwinds retracted in the their shell’s and the inevitable second goal followed, a cross from the left looked easy enough for Nathan to collect, but he seemed to miss judge the flight of the ball and then slipped, the ball was collected beyond the back post and chipped back in for a simple header 2-0. The away side knew they had to respond, fortunately Billy & Brandon stepped up to the plate and started to win things in midfield, as a result for the first time in the game the home side were coming under a bit of pressure. The away side forced their first corner, Sam sent over a curling in-swinging delivery that looped to the back post, under pressure from two attackers a home defender could only divert the ball in to the net 2-1. The goal changed the whole feeling of the game, the home side now looked a little nervy, still they created the next opportunity, again it came from a throwing down the right, flicked on in to the box and finding attacker centre of the goal, from a good position he lashed is shot high and wide. A nice little interchange between Oliver & Jake with the latter feeding Billy, centre of the pitch he drove forward and from 25 yards hit a powerful shot, it took a tiny flick of Sam’s head, bounced just in front of the ‘keepers full length dive, and in to the corner of the net 2-2, Sam kindly gave the goal to Billy as he said it was going in without his touch. From being dead and buried, the away side had found some resilience and clawed their way back in to the game. They then shot themselves in the foot, giving away a needless free kick on the edge of the box. The free kick looped over the top of the wall, dipping towards the centre of the goal, Nathan could only get a hand to the ball and tip in to the goal 3-2. It was the last meaningful action of the half.
Half time team talk was a reminder that we must compete for every loose ball, we knew the oppositions tactic’s were long ball in to the corners, and it was easy to deal with if we won headers, and played with calmness when we had time on the ball.
It was a much more confident start to the second half by the away team, the home side’s intensity level had dropped a little, which gave the Whirlwinds a little more time and space to play, as a result they were now enjoying much more possession, but still struggling to create a clear opportunity. The home side did have a threat on the break and a fine cross from the left was headed wide. It was a warning shot to the away team, who needed to be wary of the counter attack. The home team were fortunate not to concede an equaliser, a replica corner which led to the goal in the first half by Sam, somehow evaded a plethora of boots at the back post.
It was all the away side now, with just ten minutes left, Sam picked the ball up on the left, isolated he turned inside, floated past one attempted tackle and then another, the third was miss timed and took his legs away. A perfectly positioned free kick, just outside the area, 5 yards in. Sam stepped up and curled his free kick straight in to the top right hand corner 3-3. It was a quality strike, and set the game up for a final push for the win from the away side. And so they went looking for it, dominating possession and pressing forward, forcing the home side in to some desperate defending. With just a couple of minutes left, Sam played a ball inside the defender, Ibukun raced on to it, bearing down on the keeper 1v1, he hit his shot straight at him, and the ball bounced clear. Still the away side pressed and forced another corner, this time a shorter corner was flicked on at the near post, it fell to Jake who shifted the ball on this stronger foot, which closed the space and his shot was blocked.
Summary: It was a terrible start to the game, we spoke in the week about imposing our game on the opposition from the start of games, and it was disappointing we didn’t do this. We did change formation and perhaps some of it was settling in to the new shape in the first 20 minutes.We did she great determination and resilience to find our way back in to the game, and in the end were unlucky not to win the game.
M.O.T.M: It was a mixed bag today in terms of performances, Brandon & Billy eventually got to grips with midfield, Thomas when moved in to centre back, helped us keep possession of the ball better. This weeks award goes to Sam, superb quality from set pieces and was the stand out payer on the pitch.
Scorers: O.G, Billy, Sam