Squad : Cameron (GK), Jack C, Mitchel (Capt), Oakley, Sam D, Jack D, Billy, Joe, Sam A, Ajiri
A really beautiful morning for football and the pitches at Crawley Road are looking like a great surface to play on. Whirlwinds changed formation to try and add some solidity to a creaking back line. Pre match talk was to try and get the confidence back in the team to play with the style and swagger we ended last season with and carried on through tournaments.
Whirlwinds started the game very brightly looking controlled and disciplined at the back, aggressive in midfield and passing the ball well. Pushing Stony back and for long periods they couldn’t get out of their half, with confidence starting to come through, Whirlwinds started to dominate with several attacks, Billy and Joe both going close to scoring with smart breaks from midfield. Stony caused a couple of problems with a long ball down the centre which we didn’t deal with particularly well but Cameron was smartly off his line to cover. A ball out of defence and worked down the left hand side saw a neat interchange of passing and Ajiri bust through to smash home right footed in to bottom right hand corner 1-0. Whirlwinds then sparked in to a higher gear and totally dominated play, controlling the midfield and breaking forward in to dangerous positions, the opposition ‘ keeper pulling off some smart stops. A long throw from the right was flicked on, Ajiri read the flick on better than the defender, and stole in to power a header home 2-0 and cruising. The remainder of the half saw Whirlwind pressing Stony back and really with better decisions, and better finishing should have been 4 or 5 goals ahead at the interval.
Half time team talk was full of praise for our new found defensive solidity, but to keep it up and try and get a clean sheet in the second half. Also to make more certain with our finishing.
The second half started much the same as the first, Stony occasionally breaking with a defender carrying the ball out and charging up the pitch or a long ball to stretch the defence, which Whirlwinds seemed to be coping comfortably with. Whirlwinds were neat in possession and dangerous on the break, a smart through ball saw Sam A break the back line and offside trap and race clear approaching the keeper he calmly slotted past him, only to see the ball bounce back off the post and in the scramble that followed Stony somehow managed to clear. Ajiri back on full form and looking menacing drove past the defender, his left foot shot hit the keeper and the follow up was again smartly saved. Whirlwinds were flying and another goal would have seen the floodgates open. Having defended calmly the whole game, a moment of madness descended, a free kick taken by the keeper to a defender facing the wrong way, an attempted back pass that fell woefully short, put the ball on a plate for the Stony forward who gleefully accepted the gift and tapped home 2-1. From being completely out of the game Stony’s spirits were lifted and they started to press, thankfully the Whirlwinds defence put the mistake behind them and defended manfully, for 4 or 5 minutes Stony piled forward, Cameron pulled off a great double save to keep the scores level. Whirlwinds finally got control of the centre of the pitch and counter attacked well and created a few half chances, and in the end saw the game out quite comfortably.
FT 2 -1
Scorers : Ajir (2)
MOM – Billy, dominated the centre of the pitch and kept us on the front foot
Summary : Really pleasing to see the defence and keeper, back working well together, apart from the one mistake they looked largely in control. Better finishing, particularly in the first half would have seen a more comfortable scoreline, but we like to make it hard for ourselves !