Drew 1 – 1
A vert late start at Old Willi’s (not till 5pm did the game get going!) saw a well earned draw against a much younger and well drilled developmental side.
A well matched contest saw the first 20 minutes with each side sizing up each other with good contests all over the pitch. The defence of Nick, David, James and James stood strong against all the young guns the opposition could muster. As has been a developing theme the solid nature of the defence reflected in the strong mid-field battles with John, Riley and Robin competing well and often turning over the ball. The up front trio of Oli, Finn and Lenn challenged well but just couldn’t fine the space and luck to turn mid-field dominance into meaningful attack.
With a string of short corners awarded against us (for reasons still not clear!!) it wasn’t long before the oppo’s routine worked and after the ball clattered off the bar it was swatted back handed in to the net giving Jude no chance. Not deterred the occasional break away allowed the front runners to earn a short corner and with a very precise routine Robin was left with the task of slapping the ball diagonally across the goal and into the backboard.
With half time approaching the worrying sight of Jimmy in agony on the 22 led to a swap round of positions and Jimmy trying to stretch out a ‘bum injury’! After a little bit of stretching and jogging on the side line it became clear the 11 on the pitch would have to see the game out.
The half time team talk confirmed the absence of Jimmy and the remaining 11 players were the only players left; no hint of simply defending out the half but without the speed and skill of Jimmy our attacking edge was lost. Lenn, Oli and Finn ran hard and put the defenders under pressure and ensured they had no easy ball out and as such managed to ensure the attacking potential of the younger side did not develop into more goals. Jude continued to control his D well and made one or two excellent stops with the defence continuing to work incredibly hard.
The injured skipper and Jimmy kept a close eye on the clock but never did the 11 on the pitch look to simply ‘park the bus’; indeed one or two opportunities on another day would have been converted and a victory deserving of the very late finish. Perhaps we should have been calmer after James had managed to deflect a short corner flick over the bar suggesting a draw was on the cards.
A win for the Squires with any of our break away’s in the final 10 minutes would have been very palatable but perhaps on reflection a trifle unlucky for Old Willi’s; but the hard work and mature hockey thinking of all on the pitch ensured at least a point despite several meaningful and determined attacks by Old Willi’s.