The team is called 'Associated Squirrels,' and is mainly made up of co-workers, with a little help from a few friends and members of the Sunday League team I'm in (Sporting Bearwood). Generally we play every Tuesday; as such we have a game tonight, and there will be no possibility of any meaningful updates. So in place of a proper update I give you a match report from our second game (the game before tonight game). Enjoy!
Associated Squirrels Vs Bartley Boys 8:20pm Kick Off.
This was to be the second outing for the Squirrels. Although they had been defeated by Inter Me Lambretta B the previous week, the team were feeling positive. However, a few last minute drop outs as well as some of the team being absent, left the team severely under strength. The captain however was determined to play this game. Subsequently a few players were drafted in to make up for the absentees (My Thanks to Ant and Sanjay for filling in), in addition Edward Ross joined the team for the night (After having already played a game that very night). With the gaps filled the game was on. They were to play Bartley Boys; a team yet to play a competitive match in the League.
The first half began. Unfortunately, the squirrels were slow off the mark. The almost completely different set up from last week took its toll on their organisation and movement, and it came as no surprise when the Bartley boys went one, and then two up. The squirrels had little to no opportunities, while the Bartley boys had ripped apart the Squirrels defence, but they had been wasteful in front of goal; shooting high, wide and not very handsome on numerous occasions and for all their creative play the Bartley boys couldn't increase their lead, as the Squirrels started to gel and settle into the game with some good defensive play from Ant and Harry in defence.
At halftime the team got together and went over the flaws in their play, and how best to exploit the opposition. It would seem that this period of reflection galvanised the team, as in the second half they were a different team. As the half kicked off the Squirrels immediately took the initiative with some good passing and movement. Jamal was replaced by Edward to add some creativity in midfield. The fresh legs seemed to be the straw that broke the Camel's back; a cheeky lofted ball from Ed to Luke put the forward through as he smashed it into the top corner. The next Squirrels goal was the result of some quality build up play; Sanjay, Harry and Edward passing it from side to side, before playing Luke through. who calmly slotted it home.
The momentum seemed to be with the Squirrels, but they were not the only ones hungry for the win. The Bartley boys pushed forward at every opportunity and asking questions of the Squirrels defence. Eventually a powerful shot from distance curled in the air leaving the keeper stranded putting the Bartley Boys in the lead once again.
The squirrels answered in kind. Edward dropped into defence with Ste, while Harry pushed forward to add to the attacking power. Ed gave way for Jamal, while Sanjay dropped to defence. It was this growing attacking intent that pinned the Bartley Boys back in their half. It was in this period of domination that Luke got his, and the squirrels, third goal. A lovely rolled ball out from the Keeper found Luke's feet, despite the battling defender at his back. A deft turn left the challenger on the floor and Luke through on goal. The Bartley Boys hesitated claiming Luke had hauled their man to the floor; Luke however did no such thing and smashed the ball home to level the score. The Bartley boys rued not playing to the whistle as the Squirrels celebrated.
The were to be more twists and turns however. A poor Clarence from Harry out of the squirrels defence gave the opposition the opportunity to shoot, netting the Bartley boys fourth. It was a soft goal to give away. The same was true for the next Bartley Boys goal. A lofted ball played from the back to the forward could have been dealt with better, but at this point Ed was on his last legs and the pace of the ball beat him, the resultant shot was a powerful one at the near post, which found its way into the back of the net, when the keeper should have had it covered.
The Squirrels will feel disappointed by the loss. The two mistakes at the end would seem to have cost them the game; however, a team always makes mistakes. In reality the two goals conceded at the beginning, while the squirrels were still getting into their stride, were the far more telling. If these goal could have been avoided it would have been a comfortable win for the Squirrels. Alas, with the team roster fluctuating greatly the Squirrels are struggling to gel.
However, the next outing against Pascendale on the 30th should see an almost full team roster, and therefore will be a fairer test of the team. Pascendale are top of the league however, and it could be a very challenging fixture.
Team Sheet + M.V.P.
Luke (MVP - 3 goals),
Edward (Drafted in),
Sanjay (Drafted in),
Ant (Drafted in).