M4 win 5-1 against M5
The first ever league fixture between two Sils teams.
The Mighty 4s started strongly and pressed forward full of purpose, moving the ball around quickly and accurately. In the opening minutes a hard pass across the D was neatly pushed into the left-hand corner of the net by James Gregory who celebrated with glee. This was followed by a flurry of near misses with Willetts going close on two occasions and Rushy being denied by the goal keeper.
The high 5s soon rallied and began defending well. The game evened out until mid-way through the half when the 4s began to overrun the opposition, creating chance after chance. Eventually the goals came. With just ten minutes remaining the 4s scored three goals in three minutes. The first came when Tom Smith stretched to reach a cross on the far post and tap it home. This was followed by a powerful drag-flick from Rushy straight into the net and then a lovely measured pass from him to set up Willetts with an easy flick into goal.
The reason that 5s had suddenly started to struggle became obvious at the half-time break. Having started with only ten men they had lost two players through injury mid-way through the first half and were at one point down to just eight players. Fortunately, injured Craig was able to return to the fray after having his left eye patched up by nurse Pat. He had, rather unwisely, decided to take a closer look at the end of Keith’s stick - ouch!
There was some discussion between the two captains at half-time about how unbalanced the sides had become and what should be done about it. In a fixture against another club this wouldn’t be a problem but in this situation it was awkward. Both captains select some players from the same squad so they work closely together. We all appreciate the great deal of time and effort they put in, especially knowing that it can be a real challenge to get twenty-two players to fill the two lower sides. In this instance, the selection problem appeared to be solved by the recruitment of five new players from Aston University but the injuries were, of course, unexpected.
The obvious solution would have been to move one player from the 4s to the 5s but this is strictly against the league rules. In the event, two players were pulled from the 4s and the game continued with nine-a-side.
This left us with the bizarre scenario of both teams playing with nine men while two players sat out on the bench. It was with dismay that Dave, who had played so well in the first half, ended up sitting out the second altogether.
The second half was much more even with some spells of really good hockey from both sides. There were many good tackles, lots of high energy and lots of quick accurate passing, good to see. The 4s had the best of the chances with Rushy scoring with another trade mark drag-flick. The goalkeeper got a leg to it but the power was enough to carry the ball through.
Despite letting in five goals the M5 ‘keeper played really well, stopping several attempts on goal and making a number of very strong clearances. Of the goals scored against him there was nothing he could have done to prevent four of them. In the closing minutes the 5s forwards broke free on the counter and scored a well-deserved goal.
The match ended with a 5-1 victory for the Mighty 4s.
For the 5s the new goalkeeper played really well. Apparently he has only just started playing in goal but you would never have guessed it. Craig Ffitch and Tony Dwyer stuck to their task really well and put in some very solid defence work. Ian Wilson was the standout player for the 5s with a really good performance in central defence. The new recruits from Aston University (sorry I don’t know your names) will be a great asset to the club. The two least experienced showed real potential while the other two played skilfully while under considerable pressure. Whiskers Huckin used his pace and energy too great effect. He is fast, more of a greyhound than a whippet.
For the 4s the defence proved to be very solid. Yogi was great in goal as usual and Mick Lane, Mike Bettridge and Andy Jackman combined well to form a very effective defence. Most opposition forwards soon suss out that Mick isn’t the most agile athlete in the world. So instead of putting in the effort to go wide around him they invariably think they can stay close and slide past him. Mistake. Mick likes to keep things simple and he is the master of not moving. Attacking forwards suddenly run into a brick outhouse that that takes the ball off them. They keep doing it!
After a year’s absence it was a good to see Antipodean Andy back in a Sils shirt. He really stood out at the back and he was quick to push forward and support the attack at every opportunity. Dave was really on form in the centre and his distribution was excellent. James Gregory played with high energy on the flank and Murray Creed judged his tackles to perfection with some exquisite touches followed by intelligent passing. Andy Rush was as slippery as ever, like a gazelle on ice slaloming through the opposition, great to watch. Tom Smith and Will Maidment were terrific. Both quick, skilful and very effective when pushing forward from mid-field. Tom was man of the match last week, this week it’s Will.
The first team provided us with two very competent umpires. They were calm, composed, effective and good humoured. Many thanks and much appreciated.
MoM. Will Maidment.