A Merry Win!
The U13 Mohawks win their last game before Christmas in another 11 goal thriller.
When 11 goals are scored in a football match, it's fairly difficult to remember everything and put it into a Match Report. I'll give it a good go anyway!...
We have been to Egham, we have been to Byfleet, we have been to Teddington twice! After playing nearly half of our "East Berks" fixtures outside of Berkshire, the U13 Mohawks welcomed Westwood Wanderers to the Bulmershe Pavilion.
Early pitch inspections at the Pavilion saw the 10am U14 game on our pitch called off "frozen". Determined to get the game on, we waited as long as possible to make a 100% decision to go ahead and play.
Instantly after making the decision, Matthew M's Dad, Bill, revealed that Matt had left his football boots at school. How could he leave a possession so sacred at school? The search for a pair of size 6 or 7 boots didn't take too long, Paul Ferris, who I must thank for his help with the pitch inspection, nets/corner flags etc. offered his size 7 Adidas Copa Mundials to Matthew. Perhaps slightly too big for him, Matthew M would go on to have a decent game.
Onto the match... Mohawks lined up in their very complicated, slightly crazy, perhaps never seen before by any team 3-3-2-1-1 formation. Notably Owen B would return between the sticks whilst Leo F spearheaded the attack.
Woodley started the game well, and were 1-0 within 5 minutes after Yuvraj G's low driven effort on the edge of the area couldn't be stopped by the Westwood keeper. 1-0.
Westwood responded to going behind well and showed they could get into our half of third of the pitch and put on some pressure. Their passing was of a higher quality to ourselves and they worked their way back into the game with not just 1 goal but 2. Making the most of 2 very good chances they had created. 1-2.
After a bright first 5 minutes Mohawks looked very lethargic. The biggest strength to our mad set-up should be that we outnumber our opposition in the central areas, and whilst ball possession was equal Westwood were far more efficient in their use of it.
Despite our question marks, we did work some chances. Jamie M hit the bar and Dan R had a couple of chances: 1. A fantastic effort across goal with his left foot which was just as brilliantly cleared off the line by the opposing defender. 2. A good chance that he slipped wide of the post.
At a time where it looked as if we needed to make some changes at half-time, Jamie M worked some magic to assist Dan R for an equaliser. If I'm honest I had my head looking at paper for a "Plan B" when Jamie M made his a assist. Richard said the assist was fantastic and I recall Sam H saying "That was all you Jamie M". So great work Jamie! Not forgetting a well composed finish from Dan, who was deserving of a goal up to this point. 2-2.
After getting back into the game, Westwood went ahead just before half time to really kick Woodley in the teeth. We let our guard off straight away to let them create a chance and Owen B will know he could have kept it out - but when you go 199 games without making a mistake in goal, nobody will blame you.. and nobody did. 2-3.
We changed to a 4-2-3-1 at half time, and this would go on to assist us better in the second half but it was less than 10% of the reason. It took a while to get some enthusiasm going at half time, and being positive & believing we could win is well over 50% of the reason we would go onto win this game.
The second half started and we looked like we had more energy in us straight away. Unfortunately we'd concede very early on. Westwood played a dangerous cross in that was very awkward to deal with, caused a bit of confusion and led to what was virtually an unmissable chance. 2-4.
A bit of frustration hit the air between a few of our lads here and for me this was the biggest moment of the game. Two weeks ago, we let this anger get the better of us but this week we put in our football. We started to dominate the ball, and work opportunities. Dan R was called offside every 2 minutes for 10 minutes straight... A quote from their linesman on Dan "He's doing everything right in his movement, he's just been unlucky".
Pressure told when Nazir A finished Dan R's pass right into the corner of the net. Mohawks had belief truly ignited here and you could see the game was turning. 3-4.
Time after time we'd play balls in behind the Westwood defence and time after time we'd either create something... or be offside. Jamie M was hurting Westwood right at the heart of their defence. He got in behind them and the keeper brought him down for a penalty. Jamie M picked himself up, placed the ball on the spot, kicked it just wide of the goal, jogged back into position, won the ball from the goal kick, beat the Westwood defence again and this time he beat the keeper. A couple of minutes of mental strength mixed with genuine quality on the ball from Jamie M. 4-4.
With the help of Dan R, Jamie M would make it 5-4 to Woodley in similar fashion. The game turned on it's head.
Dan R got in behind the opposing defence again, delayed his run, then timed his pass for the on-rushing Joe A to finish clinically into the left corner of the net. His first goal of the season and that's what hard work gets you. The first of many Joe A!! 6-4.
Completely against the run of play... Westwood would make it 6-5.... Wow.
Slowly we get more defensive and bit more concerned. A slight panic perhaps? After a few minutes Owen B asks the ref "how long left?", the ref replies "30 seconds". I've never seen our team panic so much for 30 seconds. We know how to make it interesting.
Overall it was great for the boys to get a win right before Christmas, they definitely deserve it! It wasn't a perfect performance, but we got to show off some of our qualities as a team second half.
Man of the Match (2): Jamie M & Dan R - If you don't know why, read up... I've typed their names enough. Quality performances from both!
Thank you very much to Harry M for running the line & also to Bill/Sam who ran it last week.
We finished the Sep-Dec league in 9th position out of 12.
Winning 25% of our matches (cup & league).
Scoring 24 goals with 10 different scorers.
Joe A, Owen B, Yuvraj G, Harry A, Leo F, Dan R & Nazir A have played every single game (12)
Matthew M, Joe A & Dan R have had medals for performances at training. I can announce Leo F wins the next medal for recent shooting practices (collect in Jan).
Nazir A was the top scorer Sep-Dec (7 goals in 12 games)
*I make Dan R the player with the most assists (5 in 12 games)*
*Stat may be inaccurate*
We'll be making some targets for the team and all the individuals for Jan-May. My biggest hope for the East Berks division adjustments is that we have a kinder away fixture list!!
I hope everyone has a great Christmas and Happy New Year!!!