Sils 1 - Sutton 1
Max Factor make up saves Sils blushes.
Match Report by Andy Rush
Saturday saw the Mighty IVs take on Sutton Coldfield in one of the final games of the season. Sils started well against with some solid, measured defending and high-pressure attacking play. We passed well and held possession, the simple things (play, not players) all working well. From early on, it felt like 0-0 wouldn’t last long.
After no more than ten minutes, thanks to an accurate sequence of passes and positional play, Steve Aylin found Andy Rush at the top of the Sutton D. A characteristically energetic overlap by Maxim allowed Rushy to flick the ball over the defender’s stick. Max didn’t need a controlling touch to find the backboard. Sils 1, Sutton 0.
Unfortunately, this kind of sequential play did not last long. Whilst Sils pressed high, and often found themselves running at the Sutton defensive line, the goals refused to show themselves. On Sunday, there are two people on the pitch for whom muscular aches would be a real concern: Richard Fell and Mike Bettridge. Such was the frequency of the umpires’ arms being raised into the ‘short corner’ position. The exact number of short corners will, I’m sure become something of a fisherman’s tale but the erstwhile note-taker lost count after we broke a dozen. This would be a tremendous statistic if Sils had been able to convert a single one of them.
Attempt after attempt was foiled by a mixture of strong defending on behalf of the Sutton back line, the acceleration of one of their runners all but ablating the potential for a straight strike. One such routine was well struck out by John Harrison and flicked towards the goal by Rushy only to bounce off the keeper. The Heavens held their breath as the ball fell awkwardly to Keith who, despite usually being a surgeon from the sharp side of the p-spot, was not able to find the net.
Sutton were able to respond by passing well and Sils were kept in the game by some excellent work by the Sils back line and more than one essential saves from Yogi. One of these came from a Sutton short which saw a strike from the top of the D expertly stopped by our man between the sticks.
Sils carried on pressing high, at one point the esteemed Mr. Aylin, playing out of his usual position, found himself in the Sutton D only to be denied by another good save from their keeper.
In the interests of brevity, below, almost verbatim, are the notes from the beginning of the second half:
Rushy – Shot saved.
.Sils Short Corner – No goal
Maxim – Shot saved
Sils Short Corner – No goal
Sils Short Corner – No goal
The final upset came late in the 2nd half from a rare Sutton penalty corner. The injection was good and the shot found Yogi’s pads, only to land at the feet of the Sutton attacker who, with Yogi committed, was able to drive toward the goal and slot home. Sils carried on pushing high, striving for the winning goal that never came. Final score: 1 – 1.
A game from which the Mighty IVs could well come away deflated and disappointed having only managed to scrape a draw from a team many would have seen as an easy 3 points. That said, let’s focus on the positive rather than negative:
- It was another solid showing from the Sils’ back line, all of whom were instrumental in breaking down much of the Sutton attacking threat.
- Another strong showing from the youth contingent (No, Rushy, this no longer applies to you).
- Some strong passing early on.
- Well organised and executed substitutions
And so, onto the next game. The key to which is not letting the result cloud the goal, that elusive P-word only spoken in whispers. The Mighty IVs have the dedication, skill and teamwork to go on and claim the 9 points needed from the final 3 league fixtures. Bring on Old Hales next week. They will, I’m sure, face a reinvigorated Sils, hungry for the strong finish to the season they richly deserve.