5 scored by the 4s for the 3rd consecutive home league game, two one (ok, win) against Worcester
"Stats amazing!" The unbeaten run continues (LATE EDITION FEATURING STATS AT THE END OF THE REPORT)
Played out in conditions that were wetter than an otter's pocket, the Mighty Fours called half-time on their 2016/17 league campaign with a hard-fought but well-deserved victory against a well-composed Worcester outfit.
Despite the need to shuffle the squad yet again (with Simon playing 3s and Frank at the panto, but Tony returning and Steve back at the back) it was no surprise perhaps that the Mighty Fours didn't play their cards right consistently in the first 35. That said, as in previous matches, Sils struck first and early, with a well-taken goal by Andy Rush in the ninth minute, following excellent build-up work from John Harrison and Keith Willetts. Unlike the Spice Girls though, "one became two" five minutes later when our resident master blaster, Andy Rush, slotted home with a delightful looping shot over the keeper, after some great work from Alex Willetts.
It seemed though that the possibility of extending the unbeaten run weighed heavy on the Fours minds, as confidence and certainty started to fade in the pouring rain. A series of unenforced errors - risky, misjudged and rushed passing - regularly gave the ball to Worcester, and with it opportunities for the away side to get back into the game. And they did just that, halving the deficit midway through the first half, from a short corner that squeezed past the unsighted Yogi (my bad).
The game yo-yo'd for the remainder of the half, with Keith Willetts restoring a two-goal advantage in the twenty fourth minute before Worcester scored the fifth goal of the game from a penalty flick after a short corner was stopped on the line illegally, but bravely, by Craig, shortly before the end of the first period.
HT 3-2 : all to play for, all three results were still possible whilst Noah was busy in the corner building an ark.
The second half saw a much more disciplined and organised performance from the Mighty Fours. The patchy shape, purpose and discipline of the first half was replaced by a more coherent team set-up. Work-rates were higher and the shape of the team improved thanks to the central midfield pivot operating effectively. Sils looked threatening when they attacked, with able support and thoughtful passing from James, Murray, Alex, John and Andy Jackman, composed in defence when the pacy and skilful Worcester front men tested the back five. Four minutes into the second half, Sils scored a vital fourth when Alex Willetts slotted home from close range. As the rain intensified, so did the Sils pressure and after fifty minutes Andy Rush completed his hat-trick with a smartly-taken strike from the second phase of a short corner.
The Sils goal count was restricted thanks to some great goalkeeping from the opposition, which saw a dozen long corners conceded to the Sils in the second 35. Mick Lane was exceptionally unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with a great effort that was disallowed. At the other end, he, Steve, Dave, Sam and Craig had to be sharp to keep the Worcester wingers and centre-forwards at bay, and when the defensive line was pierced, Yogi pulled off some exceptional saves, and defied all odds to win a "4 on 1" raid, turning what should have been a certain goal for Worcester into a 16 for the home side. A fantastic piece of keeping !
In what were truly atrocious conditions, our thanks to Tom and Mike for umpiring and to John Lyons, Shaun, Richard, Pat, Lisa and Dom for their support pitch-side.
And so, we head into the Christmas break with much to be proud of, but very mindful of the fact that the job is but half-done. Commitment, goals, communication, endeavour, more goals, teamwork, flexibility, even more goals and some Grade A banter, have made this campaign truly enjoyable to date. The quality of our play, the strength of the performances, and the unbeaten start to the league season, are thanks only to the commitment of every player, whether they have been ever-present, or only able to play one game.
PS (poetic licence invoked) an entertaining and extended post-match warm-down was had by all, firstly with Dom hosting a round of Secret Santa at the Sils, then down at The Forest for some festive cheer, before KW departed for supper at home as others headed to the Saleem. "What are you having for tea then Keith?" was the shout as he left the pub. "Eggs" he replied, climbing into a taxi. "Poached of course".
0 - the amount of room we have for complacency if we are to "kick on" after Christmas
1 - the number of cards received since the fine system was introduced (Alex)
2 - our position in the League
3 - the number of ever-present players this season (Dave, Mick and Keith)
4 - cards this season (3 green and 1 yellow)
5 - goals bagged by Keith in the rout against Olton
6 - new players for the Mighty 4s this season (Theo, Frank, James, Happy, Max and Tom)
7 - the number of times we have scored 4 or more goals this season
8 - different goalscorers this season, including Max on debut
9 - Rushy's hattrick of hat tricks
10 - Olton
16 - goals scored by Keith In 2016
30 - our goal difference in the league
38 - goals scored by Rushy in 2016