Old Wilsons 8s v Merton 7s
“Footballs a funny old game”… and today personifies it on so many levels. Freezing cold day, ice in the shade, groundsman turns up late leaving all the teams outside for half hour waiting to get in. on an ironic level, we get to share our changing room with Civ 8s, which the 7s wasted no time digging out there manager for his video match report from a few weeks back!!
Out on the pitch, OW8s can be seen drafting players from the higher teams, making sure that between there 7s and 8s, there well balanced and ready to give the oppositions a good game. So facing up to very much different team than the last outing, it was a call for calm amongst the 7s
Starting with the elusive Kieran in goal, who was frogged marched to the ground by the old stalwart Martin, who in turn takes up the centre of defence with Tom, flanked by Josh & Steve to make up the back 4, across the middle is last week’s hero, Andrew on the right, Luke and David in the middle and Ryan on the left, with Niall and Billy coming back up top to complete the 4 4 2 formation that did so well last week (be it in the second half only!), and we also welcome back Noor, as the twelfth man
From the start, OWs had the intent to press and move the ball around quick, the players drafted in from the higher team’s stand out like a saw thumb, passing and moving at pace, it wasn’t long before Kieran was in action.
Once the 7s settled, David and Luke began to impose themselves on the game, getting tight to the opposite numbers and making sure that they got the tackles in early. The back 4 now seem more composed and pick up the forwards moves quite easily, this snuffing out any threats. Now having some joy, Both Niall and Billy work themselves into good shooting positions only to see them off target
However, unfortunate as it seems, it would be the good closing down that would backfire on the 7s, seeing a shoot from the edge of the box come through a melee of players, Andrew sticking a boot out to guide the ball past Kieran from close range to give the OWs the lead. 1-0 after no more than 15 minutes gone
Straight from kick off, the 7s compose themselves and pass the ball around fluently, working it down the right flank, great play from Niall and Billy to the ball round to Ryan who slots in at the far post to bring the scores level. 1-1
Although out paced, the marshalling of the back four and defence mid 2 of David & Luke contain the attacking threat and are well on top. Now resorting to a counter attack game, it’s becoming frequent that both the forwards are getting the best share of the spoils, only not to make good on the chances for the 7s to take the lead. In all of the hustle, Andrew has taken a knock to the knee and is having trouble, so Noor makes his long awaited re-debut for the 7s on the right wing
Late in the half and still on top, a free kick is award to the OWs for a heavy challenge. The ball floated in to the far post sees Steve back pedal and beat the striker to the ball, only for Kieran to be advancing with a fist to punch the ball away. The ball now loops over Kieran and into the net for 2-1.
Again, from kick off, its one way traffic, 5 or 6 clear cut chances go begging and it seems a good team talk at half time is called for to regain that composure
Second half starts with a flurry of shots, the old saying “if it was a boxing match, the ref would have stopped it” springs to mind, it’s all one way traffic. Niall heads the list for ‘misses’ of the day, these are just the ones off target. Billy also seems to have lost his shooting boots with just as many chances going astray. Even David can’t seem to find the target with 3 clear headers from corners not even being on target, which is not like him. The 7s even had 3 chances cleared off the line, onto the post and by the backside of a defender… Ryan joins in on the act with only missing 3 guilt edge chances.
Even with all the play, there was still time for some real ‘carry on defending’ moments, notably a game of head tennis between Martin, David and Steve which included the cross bar in a half arsed attempt to clear a tame shot under sheer panic
Still pressing, gaps are begging to open up and tired legs are setting in, the 7s are running themselves into the ground, its only with some last ditch challenges (some a bit late!) that the score stays at 2-1, but with a clash of players after another ‘late’ish tackle’ it’s a full on 11v11 standoff, the ref does well not to book anyone but demands that everyone leaves there handbags on the side line. With only minutes to play and silly little niggling tackles creeping in, the ref blows up to stop any further ‘toys out of the pram moments’ and its handshakes all round
Now, not taking anything away from OWs, they picked a loaded team to contain the 7s with 3 very quick players in and around the middle to keep the ball moving, but on any other day, the score line would have been in the double figures. It was more of the 7s not taking ANY of their 30+ chances that lost the game as opposed to the opposition winning it through better football… It’s not often the oppo don’t score, you score 3 and lose 2-1… that’s because “Footballs a funny old game”
MOTM: Tom, played well at the back in a 4 that really didn’t put a foot wrong in open play
DOTD: Niall. Out of the 103 chances he had, the chest & volley from 8 yards over the club house won the day, as it took the keeper ages to retrieve the ball!!
Team: Kieran, Josh, Tom, Martin, Steve, Andrew, David, Luke, Ryan, Billy Niall