Boy did we miss Alex Willetts !
Ever-improving Sils push Worcester all the way
Only now do I discover that we missed a match preview and report because Alex was down to do the honours but injury meant he was unavailable. So herewith a hastily manufactured reflection on our clash with the choppers of Worcester.
Yes we lost 2-1 but we continue to improve in confidence and this is seen in the quality of our play.
Shape - Purpose - Discipline. I didn’t need to remind the team of these three core commandments before or during our battle against third-placed Worcester. It was clear that this is becoming engrained in the squad psyche, as we moved the ball around with confidence, speed and intent throughout the match.
Many of the stats were in our opponent’s favour - possession, short and long corner count, shots on goal - but this belies the closeness of the game, and how near we came to leaving Nunnery Wood with a point. Since changing to 4-4-2 three weeks ago we look and play like a completely different side to that which began the season. The combination of a well-organised and flexible back four,a versatile and industrious front six, and an athletic gymnastic shotstopper, is helping the metamorphosis and belief of the Mighty Fours as we compete at a higher level.
That we fell behind to two “opportunist” goals in the first half did not phase us. We regrouped, refocused and absorbed pressure with intense effort from all, turning defence into attack and frustrating the home team. Midway through the second half we deservedly halved the deficit from the only short corner that we won, a stylish finish from Rushy after a slick injection from Jack Morris. The tension in the home camp was noticeable and audible, as Steve Aylin and David Higgins mopped up the attacks through the middle, with Charlie Russell and Mick Lane doing similar down the flanks. Charlie was a rock (literally) in defence, felling (legitimately) 2 x 14 stone adults who tried to bulldoze their way past him. The language of our opponents became more agricultural as the game went on, a reflection of their growing frustration at our organisation and resilience. As the clock ticked on, our composure grew and theirs fragmented. Why? Well in addition to what you’ve already read, here’s some other reasons.
Daniel Bridges put in a shift and a half, stepping in at less than three hours notice to turn out for us, before playing much of the game at left half (thanks) where he put his reverse-strike Samurai stickwork to great effect in feeding Keith & Rushy.
James, Ian and Jack were instrumental in midfield, as was Rushy when called upon, building attacks down the flanks with purpose and flair, and covering back when there was need.
Keith was unlucky not to finish off a flowing move with an equaliser following sharp hockey from Jack, James and Jacob.
And so to Jacob, who was MoM, closely followed by the ever-impressive Yogi. Everyone agreed that Jacob had a cracker of a game, building triangles (Dairylea by chance? Ed) with Mick and Keith at will, and was a strong creative force at right half, filling in for JH successfully. Even Steve Aylin was impressed - I don’t think “Esau” a better candidate for MoM.