Dramatic and satisfying derby win for the Sils
M2s complete the double over Bloss
Sils took on their local rivals Solihull Blossomfield in a crucial relegation survival match looking to end a run of 8 games without a win. Despite some encouraging recent performances, the results on the pitch have not been looking as good for the M2s. Sils found themselves in the bottom half of the table just 3 points above the relegation zone. Bloss on the other hand were deep in trouble just 3 places from the bottom and were out in an effort to save their season looking to make their home advantage count.
Brindley Jones was back in goal, after a heavy night out, barely sober, and with so many people putting their faith in the M2s keeper by selecting him in their fantasy league teams, he was just about ready for action. Stats do interestingly show that when he has been over legal limit, he tends to play better and make more saves. Millan Chauhan was back in defence after the club's midweek announcement that he will be sold to Leicester in the summer, where he will be on work placement next year. The fee remains undisclosed but rumours estimate this to be in the region of an agreed 100 Facebook 'likes' on his next status. His partner and M2s solid man in defence Sam Howe however has signed a new deal with the club after being doomed to a placement in Opticians in Sparkbook. Player Captain Manager Team Doctor Team Taxi & Top Scorer Mo Hadian was a busy man in the transfer window as he also announced the new signing of another Aston Uni boy Cam Cooper who will be with the team from next season. This week's defensive line up also included James Ball at left back (skiving some children's birthday party to play) and Gary Perkins at right back (becoming the 7th player to brilliantly fulfill the vacant role - and probably get snatched up by the M1s at this rate). Jake Johnstone continued to earn his place in he squad and rotate into defence where he has been gaining some valuable experience.
In the recent weeks M2s had been rebuilding up their squad with the young talent coming through but they were boosted by the return of Mark Dovey in central midfield after missing the last 2 games. Luke Kent has been finding his form again at left midfield and youngsters Sam Johnstones and Liam Duffy rotated into the midfield slots. In attack Tom Merriman was back after about 7 weeks off skiing to partner Mo Hadian and Ben Harmer who has been the pace and danger in the attack since joining Sils 3 weeks ago and providing them with that attacking sharpness that was left void by the M1s taking the likes of Danny Nicoll and George Bayliss.
Sils were on the attack from the very beginning and put the pressure on the home team. They failed to capitialise on an early short corner, missing their usual injector Nick Oppenheimer (who was on the sideline in a cheerleading role). James Ball was supplying some dangerous cross into the D from the left flank adding yet another attacking dimention to the M2s. Unfortunately the forwards were not quite able to make the right connection or post themselves in the right spots for the final touch. Sils however did take the lead deservedly after a passage of play down the right hand side. Some great work by Gary Perkins and Mark Dovey allowed a good exchange between Mo Hadian and Ben Harmer, who was calm in front of the goal to slot the ball into the back of the net (board) for his 2nd goal for the club in 3 weeks.
Bloss may have looked like an ageing team but they were full of experience as they resorted to hitting the long ball which picked out their forward who quickly reacted with a reverse stick shot to put it past Brindley Jones, who was still searching for his lost wallet from the night before and was not switched on. Bloss's first attack of the game and back to 1-1 against the flow. Sils kept their cool and continued their patient build up play with good passing flow and attacks on both wings. Luke Kent and Tom Merriman were penetrating from the left and constantly putting Bloss under pressure. From the right, Ben Harmer looked dangerous every time and all their hard work was paid off with 3 more short corners, but the home side's keeper kept Bloss in the game with his saves. Mo Hadian came close to scoring when he turned on the left from an acute angle to drill a high shot at goal but the combination of the keeper and bar kept the scores 1-1 at half time.
Sils were clearly on top and knew they had to be patient to get the needed goals. Bloss started better in the second half but once the solid defence of the Sils neutralised their threat with good man marking, Sils started to turn the screw with waves of attack after attack from their 2 danger wingmen Tom Merriman and Ben Harmer, now switched sides. Tom Merriman's man of the match performance on the wing came as a result of unselfishly creating several chances to cut back some dangerous balls from the backline. Sils finishing however was not as clinical as it needed to be with chances going agonisingly wide too often. Luke Kent was on form as some fine dribbling got him into the D from the right with the final shot rattling the bar at high pace. It was beginning to feel like one of those days were luck was with Bloss but with 10 minutes to go Sils got the breakthrough they were waiting for patiently. The move that started all the way in defence and more short quick passing through the center man Mark Dovey allowed Luke Kent to find a delicate pass to Mo Hadian who after feinting to shoot was able to take the ball past the last defender for a one on one against the keeper. This time it was the Sils captain who came out on top pushing the ball past the keeper and running off to celebrate with ecstatic team mates in a big sigh of relief to have broken the deadlock and get so close to those vital 3 points.
With Sils failing to take advantage of 2 more chances to close the game off, there was one more turning point. Drama at the very end when Bloss won themselves a penalty flick with seconds remaining on the clock. Sam Howe who may have been fouled in the build up play was judged to stop the ball on the line with his hand, after Brindley Jones had made an initial one on one stop but attacker had lifted the ball over him on the rebound. It just looked like one of those afternoons were luck wasn't going to be with the Sils as the game they completely dominated seemed to slip away in possibly the only attack Bloss had in the second half. As the players held their breath and prayed to the skies, Brindley Jones did enough to put off the penalty taker and the ball went wide off the pitch. Huge shout of celebrations from the Sils huddle as they held on for that much needed win and 3 points.
A brilliant all round performance and hockey by the lads and hopefully momentum to take into the next game against the league's bottom side, Wolverhampton.