It was a wet and grey start to 2016/17 season, with drizzle in the air and heavy skies.
A slow start from the home side, unusually sloppy with the ball, misplaced passes were the early theme of the game. Shefford were the opposite, nice and neat and tidy in possession and moving the ball around with some fluency.
However it was the away side, having to play largely on the counter, due their own inadequacies, who looked the most threatening in the last third of the pitch. An early corner, was nodded back in to the danger area at the back post, for Oliver to apply a looping overhead kick for the first goal 1-0. A second soon followed again on the counter, a threaded through ball for Sam to calmly finish 2-0.
Somehow despite a poor showing in terms of fluency with the ball, the home side found themselves two goals to the good. Shefford pushed forward and forced a goal, some good play down the right was matched with some equally bad defending which was appropriately punished 2-1. Next followed the most bizarre goal we will I think, see all season, a powerful goal kick from the Shefford ‘keeper, was headed back a full 40 yards out by Jack M, it sailed over the keepers head, bounced, and despite a desperate attempt from a covering defender bounced in the net 3-1. A fourth, and second from Jack M soon followed, who slotted home after some neat play between Ajiri and Sam 4-1. It was a reward from some good attacking play, however Shefford still were looking the better side in midfield, the home side were unable to string passes together, and were pushed in to playing on the counter. Shefford got some reward for their neat midfield play, again good play down the right forced a defensive mistake, the ball was delivered across the goal and tapped in from close range 4-2.
Despite being in control of the game in terms of the score, the home side were never in control of the game in the first period. Team talk revolved around the need to maintain possession much better in the second half.
Shefford started the second half of the game stronger, buoyed by there late second half goal, a couple of early corners were dealt with comfortably by the home side. As the half went on, gradually the home team started to match the away side. A long goal kick from Nathan, was allowed to bounce by a defender, Ajiri in full flight raced past the last defender collected the ball and slotted past the stranded goalkeeper who was caught in no man’s land, 5-2. The home side were improving in terms of ball retention, but were no where near their fluent best. Brandon moved up to the No.10 was busy and snapping in tackles applying pressure, the away side were struggling to keep the home side at bay, Ajiri added a sixth with a low shot to the bottom corner 6-2. Shefford’s resistance was broken and the last third of the game was almost entirely played in their half, Jack M completed his hat-trick with a cool strike, 7-2 and Oliver continued his fine early season goal scoring form adding his second, stretching to get a toe to divert a shot from Jack M in to the net 8-2.
Scorers: Jack M (3), Ajiri (2), Oliver (2), Sam
Summary: A slightly disappointing performance in terms of our fluency with the ball. However we looked very good going forward on the counter attack, and this is where we were dominant in terms of the winning the game, Shefford just couldn’t deal with our pace and quality upfront. Defensively we were reasonably tight, but did make a couple of mistakes which were punished in the first half, however our inefficiencies in terms of keeping possession did put our defenders under unnecessary pressure. A good win with reward for some excellent attacking play, but we must improve with the ball, for sterner tests to come.
M.O.M: Ajiri – two goals and two assists, his attacking play was excellent, and worked hard when out of possession.