The first league game of the new season, Whirlwinds going in to a new league having not played any of the teams before, there was a little nervousness in the camp in the lead up to the game.
Whirlwinds quickly put their fears to one side and pressed on from the start, Barton spending most of the opening exchanges, camped in their own half trying to repel attack after attack, Whirlwinds were dominating play, but were a little off linking attacks and too often the final ball was delayed or overplayed. A half cleared cross broke to Billy on the edge of the box, his venomous strike look destined for the bottom corner, but an outstretched boot just flicked it over the bar. The resulting corner was only half cleared and fell kindly for Ajiri on the edge of the box to curl his shot in to the top corner 1-0. A deserved lead, but Whirlwinds were still not clicking going forward. They pushed for a second but too often a miss timed last past, drifted through to opposition ‘keeper. Barton offered little attacking threat and any rare forays were easily cleaned up. As always a kick in the teeth awaits, and so it came, Barton broke forward in numbers, the attack seemed to have broken down but a lobbed pass and strange bounce found an unmarked attacker at the far post, who fired home from a tight angle 1-1. Whirlwinds looked around at each other, knowing they should be a couple of goals to the good. They responded well and got back in control quickly, left side of midfield was now starting to link together better, a quick exchange of passes, saw a slide rule pass in to Jack M, who held off a defender to shot low across the ‘keeper and in, 2-1. Ajiri had a great opportunity to increase the lead but one on one with goalkeeper he shot wide, holding is head in is hands he knew he should have done better. Shortly afterwards, Whirlwinds got a fortunate escape when Barton broke free down the right, a powerful low shot evaded Nathan’s despairing dive to rebound off the inside of the post and across the goal line where it was cleared to safety. Ajiri showed great work rate and tenacity closing down a defender, robbing him of the ball on the touch line and powering towards goal to calmly slot past the stranded keeper 3-1. Whirlwinds were now going for the kill and the opposition keeper made two or three fine saves, half time came with the home team looking in control.
Message at half time was to try and use the ball better, play in to the wide areas where there was space and to press the opposition defenders more.
Barton came out looking determined, for the opening ten minutes of the half they pressed, harried and were generally on top, Whirlwinds were disjointed, too often giving possession away, and making hurried defensive clearances, inviting more pressure. However they did hold firm defensively, despite some last ditch blocks and interceptions, for all their hard work, Barton never really looked like scoring. A midfield reshuffle and added pace upfront, brought a little more composure to the home side, Barton were still enjoying much more possession than they did in the first half, but Whirlwinds were now gaining control of the ball in good areas to break on the counter, a couple lightning counter attacks, one producing a superb save from the Barton ‘Keeper, were a warning for what was about to come, a long ball was pounced on by Jack M, who threaded a ball for 3 on running attackers, Sam was first to it and applied a sublime lobbed finish over the advancing goalkeeper 4-1. Minutes later Ajiri broke away down the left and whipped in a great cross for the on rushing Jake, to in his own words ‘Sweaty’ it home at the far post, counter attacking play at it’s very best 5-1. This was now a test for the tiring Barton, but they stood up bravely, Whirlwinds could have and should have, added to their tally in the final stages of the game, but couldn’t quite find the route to goal.
Scorers – Ajiri (2), Jack M, Sam, Jake
Summary : A good first test, Barton caused plenty of problems, but in the main we were in control and probably had another gear if needed. A sloppy start to the 2nd half was again a problem, we must try and rectify this quickly as we can. Overall a good team display, I don’t think we were anywhere near our best but did enough to comfortably win the game.
M.O.T.M – Special mention to TJ who again looked calm and assured at the back, and to Jake & Jack D who both I felt had their best games in WWFC shirt, but M.O.T.M, goes to Olly, who worked tirelessly and must have covered every blade of grass on the pitch, some great passing in the first half and in the second when switched out wide, offered a dangerous counter attacking threat.