Old Sils M4 take on very local rivals Old Sils M5!
By Keith Willetts
An eagerly awaited fixture with both sides keen to impress.
This long-awaited fixture almost didn’t take place. Both teams were depleted through injuries and unavailability to the extent that the 4s were only able to muster nine and the 5s managed just one more with ten. M4s Captain Dave had to watch from the side nursing a leg injury and goalie Yogi was laid low at home with back trouble. There was a welcome return for part time comic James Glee Club Gregory and a warm welcome for a fresh-faced Canadian guy called Guy! He looked older than me!
Both sides started with a high tempo and eager determination. In the early exchanges the hard work put in from John Harrison and John Scott looked to give the M4s a slight edge. Tom Whitfield made several penetrating runs from the halfway line into the opposition D and he looked to have the beating of their defence. Very effective individual performances at the back from Mike, Mick and Callum in goal seemed to have everything under control. With James as energetic as ever and new boy Guy finding good positions the omens looked good. However, with so many changes to the line-up and one man less than the opposition the 4s found it difficult to gel as a team. Passes were going astray and we seemed to be working much harder to retain possession than the 5s. It was a relief when the first gaol came from a well worked short corner. During two earlier shorts it was noticed that the 5s were leaving their near post unguarded. With this in mind Tom injected swiftly, John H collected and slipped the ball neatly to the left for Willetts to guide the ball into the gap between the post and goalkeeper.
Ominously though, the 5s still seemed the more composed of the two teams. They began making better use of their possession than the 4s, kept their shape well and started to pass the ball around with pace and accuracy. Making good use of their extra man they were able to stretch our defence and attack with increasing pressure. The extra man also came in useful when closing down our attacking players which they did very quickly. Josh played really well in goal for the 5s and was helped by sweeper Ross Anderson who stuck to his job well. He made many crucial tackles and then played the ball out quickly and accurately. Craig put in a very effective and solid performance throughout the game and I have never seen Tony make so many tackles followed by good passes in thirty years!
5s Captain Ian Wilson was very commanding in midfield and he kept feeding the ball out to Kheya who was proving to be quite a handful. Aaron, Matthew and Ollie also stuck to the game plan. Couple this with the searing pace of Jonny Dougal and an equaliser looked to be more than a distinct possibility.
Despite a constructive half time team talk the 4s continued to make hard work of it. Nevertheless, we were unlucky not to take the lead when John Harrison fired one short corner just wide and had another disallowed when his first blistering shot was deemed too high. This was a contentious decision given that Tony Dwyer shouted, “That nearly took my head off”, thus confirming that it couldn’t have been that high! Actually, both teams appreciated the umpiring from Jono and Jim Goldstraw, consistent, good natured, faultless and much appreciated given the relentless rain and poor lighting.
Inevitably the 5s equalised with a well worked goal. In the fading light and deepening gloom and with just minutes remaining the 5s attacked into the left corner of the D drawing our defenders and goalie over to that side. A perfect pass back to their player on the penalty spot left him with an open goal. Bizarrely he passed it back to the edge of the D and the chance was squandered. A lucky let off for the 4s.
With honours even, everyone navigated back to the brightly lit clubhouse to lift the mood with a light ale.
MOM Callum John