In the absence of the great man Dave Wilson, I thought I better pen a few words about our game from last week. I did a Dave & had a pre-game look at our opponents. Only a couple of familiar faces from last year, with a lot of tall young lads lining up. Could be a tougher game than the one at the end of last season (which we won 6-1).
The Whites this week took on the previously unbeaten Immanuel, who’ve been averaging 7 goals a game up to this point. Matt & Kirsten had an almost impossible to believe 24 players available to choose from this week – and that’s not even including a bunch of guys who are training but not yet registered. Rob, Andre, Mark and Martins returned to the line-up this week, as did C grade regulars Michael Petrilli and Sam Burt meaning we had an extremely strong squad to face our top of the table opponents.
Pre-game Matt talked about 2 touch football & playing the way we’re facing. He also mentioned to run hard as we have a big bench to choose from.
Early on we made a number of good breaks on the wings, with Sam & Ishmael getting a couple of good balls in, but we weren’t able to score. Immanuel’s game was mainly about pumping the ball long to the tall, quick young lads up the front, but our back 4 were doing a good job of nullifying the attacks.
Andre & George were working hard in the midfield, but for much of the half Immanuel seemed to have an extra man in space & were often happy to skip the midfield all-together. Late on Kirsten was forced to make a diving tackle to save what looked like a certain goal & the ½ time score of 0-0 was probably a fair indication of the game.
At the break we talked about bringing the defence up quicker, making sure of our better passing game and also hitting the opponents harder on 2nd tackles. The boys clearly lifted in the 2nd half and with Sangers & Abdul playing closer to John up front, we started to take control & created (and spurned) a number of excellent chances.
It came completely against the play for Immanuel to score however, when their goalie boomed a long kick in & the ball bounced well past the ½ way line, allowing their winger to pounce on the loose ball and score.
What was most impressive though from the boys is how we lifted. We shifted gears & were pressing up the field – Immanuel spent much of the last 20 camped in their own half, with Ishmael, Michael, Sangers and Abdul completely in control.
Late on, we finally got our reward, as Abdul went on a mazy run & scored from a tight angle. We continued to press for the final minutes and Immanuel were spent. Unfortunately though we couldn’t find the winner.
A point against the top team is a solid result, but the play in the 2nd half tells me there’s a lot more to come from this squad. Tough cup game next week v Rostrevor B. I know all the boys will be pumped for another big performance.