Berkswell win Battle of the 10s
By Stephen Tabb
Competitive match won by the visitors
Old Silhillians 5th XI 1 (0) - (2) 5 Berkswell 4th XI
Goalscorer: James Harris
Player of the Match: Sam Johnstone
In a week when there was almost 30 players unavailable, it was pleasing to be able to still field a side against Berkswell in this Fathoms league fixture. We were only able to get 10 players out, but since the opposition also only had 10, a very competitive, but friendly match was played before the heavens opened.
Berkswell have recently lost a number of players to injury and transfers, and hence their 4th team was not so much their lowest side, and more a combination of three or four players who are probably genuine 4th teamers, and then the rest of the side was made up of 2nd and 3rd teamers, and it turned out, one of their best 1st teamers who has recently transferred into Olton's 1st Team squad. However, Berkswell have always been a very sociable club, and they ensured that the majority of their play was targeted towards their young forward and one or two of their other weaker players. This meant that the game was not as one-sided as perhaps the result suggests and John Harrison and Sam Johnstone both went close in the first half. At the other end, Theo Olifent in goal was beaten by a first goal that he had no chance with, and a second which followed him making a great save only for the visitor's left wing to collect the ball on the volley and then fire home - a great piece of skill (/luck?) to grace the game.
2-0 down at half-time, and the aim for the second half was to simply spend some more time allowing players to learn each other's games a little more to help support the development of our sides over the remainder of the season. Sadly, the stand out player on the Berkswell side was still running the show, and was able to set up or score a further 3 goals before Mike Bettridge sadly picked up an injury, but this did allow for the Chairman to hand the whistle over to Berkswell to umpire the remainder of the game, so he could take Mike's place, and with somewhat of a reshuffle, the Sils were able to put some more pressure on the visitor's defence, and with James Harris and Brandon Munemo still full of running, Sam Johnstone was able to cause problems with his close skills. With 5 minutes to go, the Sils get their just rewards, James Harris firing home a reverse-stick shot to provide a consolation to the team.
Not the result the side would have hoped for, but a good run around for the Sils against a number of players on the opposition who usually play a much higher standard. Hopefully with availability improving over the next few weeks, roll on the next 5th team match.