7s vs Old Salesians 3s – 28.10.17
Old Sales 3s v Merton 7s
Always a bit nervous having a week off, you seem to lose a bit of momentum and it’s like starting all over again. Last season, the 7s never fared well after breaks, and always needed a game or two to get back into the swing of things
Today the 7s go back to the ground where they got thumped 7-1 in the cup to the Old Sales 3s, which on that day, Old Sale’s Reserves did not have a game and bolstered their 3s with half the squad! So, looking at the fixtures and seeing that, once again the reserves had no game and their 1st team was also playing at home, you can understand the feeling of ‘Déjà vu’.
Pitch side and waiting for a current game to end, we decide to have a warm up away from the pitch to get our game on. Discussion about the last game are at the forefront and it’s agreed a 4-5-1 is to be used.
Kieran this week steps up to the 5s and we have a great replacement in Lee Lenjhan between the sticks, once again, there’s a few later arrivals, so the squad is selected from those who turned up on time!! Josh again starting a RB, with Dan & Martin centre, steve on the left, the 5 across the middle starts with Ryan out wide, Jacob tucked in with David Centre and Andrew on the right, Luke Pellett back from his ankle injury far left, this leaves Billy up front, marauding around at will
As predicted, the OS’3 are a mixture of squads and start the better of the 2 teams, however, the new formation of 5 in the middle cuts out a lot of the play and for the first 10 minutes, the 7s do well to contain the OS’3.
Vocally, the 7s are improving and with ‘Lenners’ in goal, a further voice from ha back can be heard shouting commands. Although a few attacks result in shots from 20 yards or so, this does not faze the keeper and he confidently mops up these attacks from distances.
Still, it takes a full 20 minutes or so before the 7s get there first attack on the way, a good play worked down the flank is met by Billy and turned around for a corner, now in the OS’3 half, the game is being taken to them. Playing slightly higher up the pitch but still weary of the pace there possess, Dan and Martin are doing a fine job of containing the OS’3 striker. Closing down is quick and once again the 7s press and Billy is again terrorising the defence with Ryan and Luke now supporting
With the game swinging in the 7s direction, a good couple of chances go begging, one being a crazy first time volley from over 35 yards by the captain, who sees the fierce shot just sail over the cross bar.
Even when the OS’3 do break through, Lenners is there to calm things down and more often than not, launch balls over the top for Billy and Ryan to run on to, a weapon that we haven’t had before
Finally the pressure pays off, OS’3 trying to clear their lines sees David storm forward from the halfway line between 2 OS’3 players and first time volley a through ball to Billy to set him on his way for a 1v1, which is calmly rolled into the far corner. 0-1.
This seemed to have caused unrest in the OS’s squad, as now openly arguing and throwing in rash tackles, Billy is brought down around 20 yards out. Billy, picking himself up off the floor sets the ball and dispatches a delightful curling ball far right of the keeper for 0-2
Being on top, half time comes and the squad are buoyant, one change is made in Martin coming off for Tom in an attempt to contain the ariel threat, the game is under way
From kickoff, OS’3 are rallying around, they team talk must have spurred them on as the 7s are pinned back in their own half, now playing with 2 wide men, OS’3 are dictating play. This pulls back Luke P and Ryan in a more defensive roll leaving Billy to forage on scraps, which he does so well being unlucky with 2 attempts from range, lobbing the keeper on both occasions, one hitting the cross bar. However the pressure pays off for OS’3 and sees them pull a goal back from a neat passage of play, 1-2.
Now it’s the 7s turn to rally around, not wanting to relinquish the goal lead, the tracking and man marking is back as the first half. Getting a grip of the game, the 7s push back OS’3 and start to gain territory, 2 quick corners come to nothing but keeping the pressure on sees Luke P curl a great ball in which finds Ryan with a huge amount of goal to aim at but manages to volley high, what a let off
Not to long after, Billy is once again off on his heels and bearing down on goal, keeping pace Ryan sets off on the opposite wing as back up, Billy now in the area curls a shot towards the far corner which the keeper palms away, but only in the path of Ryan who this time makes no mistake under pressure from the OS’3 left back, powers his shot into an empty net
OS’3 come straight back, flooding the 7s half with players in an attempt to get a quick goal back. A change is now made, bringing on Daban for Andrew, who once again has done himself justice in the centre of the park and Luke M for Jacob who is now carrying a knock from the first half
Late in the game and now tiring, Tom goes off after getting a knock in the gut and Martin is back at left back. The youthful OS’3 continue to probe around and are soon rewarded with another well take goal. 2-3
Less than 10 minutes to go, the winds been knocked out the sails of the 7s, the attacks are relentless and OS’3 sense that not only is the draw on, but a victory if they keep slugging away. A strange decision to give OS’3 a free kick when they player ran across David and trip over his own feet, none the less, the protest are waved away and the from 20 yards, a ball is flighted into the far post which sees 3 OS’3 players attack the ball and force it over the line 3-3… !
With the game now coming to a close, both teams are giving it there all, Ref announces there’s 3 minutes of injury/overtime to play, OS’3 have the 7s on the rack with corners and throw ins in the 7s last third. Still undeterred, the 7s aren’t given up without a fight… once again Lenners pulls off a last ditch save and release the ball, this get worked to Luke P, who has 2 players keeping him company but still manages to release Ryan who has the legs to out sprint both the centre backs… keeper advances out just as Ryan approaches the 18 yard area, Billy keeping pace gives the keeper a decision to make, stand his ground or try and cut out the pass.. No need as Ryan makes the decision for him by ‘calm as you like’ slots the ball pass for 3-4 and the last kick of the game… Wow, what a contrast from the first game… and what a finish by Ryan to secure all 3 points for the 7s
After this epic encounter, we find ourselves at home next week against a Civil Service side, which you don’t quite know what you’re going to get. They have a mix of results so far. So, the only thing the 7s can do is go about their game like they did today, fully committed and not worrying what turns up… we shall see.
MOTM: Usual suspects getting nominated, but mentions have to go to the old boys, Martin and Steve, who are playing against strikers half their age and still keeping in touch. Josh & Billy once again head the votes but showing the composure to nick it at the end, it has to go to Ryan
DOTD: Turning up 45 minutes late and then arguing with Steve that his ‘done his warm up cycling here’… well done Tom J for making this easy!
Team: Lee, Josh, Dan, Martin, Steve, Ryan, Jacob, David, Andrew, Luke, Billy
Tom, Dadan, Luke M.