Elite 7 - 1 Stop Out
Just 3 days after our season opening game we are at it again. This time the weather couldn't be better, no rain, light breeze, sun shining and a pretty decent pitch. Once again we were a little short on numbers with VAG, AMOD and NAD (names changed to protect the innocent) joining us. We did have a couple of regular season debutants though. They were wanting to make an impression, and impress they did. Along with our regulars we have Greg directing things from the side on his final farewell game.
Our opponents were short on players, in fact so short we had no ref. Vag gallantly stepped up to take the whistle to get us underway. Stop out started quite well, controlling the ball and flow of the game. Certainly felt like it might be an arm wrestle. A couple of incisive runs down both sides came to nothing for them. Now was our turn to show some skill and team work. A nice movement down the left wing and we found ourselves making some nice runs behind their defence. No reward yet but it felt promising.
For each attack Stop out attempted we had an answer. Tim was shutting their pacy winger while Rori was showing ever potential suitor the side line. Though it was Angus in the middle that commanding things. Bossing their strikers around and not giving an inch. Nothing was getting through and I think AMOD may have fallen asleep in goal.
The true puppet masters of the game were our midfielders, Isaac, Decs and Stu. They controlled the pace and movement of the game. For a while I thought they started just toying with the Stop out players, offering them hope and shattering their dreams. They feed a stream of potential attacks, bypassing the Stop Out defence as if they were not there. You could feel the pressure was building and something was coming. Sure enough our first goal came off the head of one of the debutants, Travis. Sending the keeper the wrong way and making the net bulge. We were off the mark.
A few more back and forth attempts from each team and the next serious opportunity comes from Turk who slides a through ball for Shane to latch onto and efficiently deposit into the back of the net. Elite up 2 nil. We just continue to move from strength to strength. Tightening our grip on the game. Stop Out heads drop and they begin to make silly mistakes. Their fill in keep makes one too many and Turk pounces on a poor throw out with a clinical finish. 3 zip it is.
The Stop Out players are getting frustrated and when a promising attack gets shut down somewhat illegally, they blow up. The fouled player mouths off to the new ref Rori. Not having a bar of it, Rori goes off at the player demanding him to 'come here' in his best teacher voice. Sheepishly the guy obeys. A stern lecture and drop ball latter we know who's in charge and his name isn't Charles.
We finish the half with a final well placed pass to Turk who finds himself one on one with keeper and unlike games past, finished it. We walked off the field 4-0 up and the game well under our control. But you can never tell what can changes will happen at half time.
Stop out came back much more aggressive, making a few incisive runs in the first minutes. Winning a corner early on, they whipped it in and standing on the post I could see we had it well and truely covered. A sea of Orange covered the 6 yard box and a confident shout from NAD, we knew it was safe. But it was a horrid clearance header that deflected the wrong way and the ball landed into our own goal. Not the start to the half we wanted. Now Stop Out had a spring in their step and a confidence that a come back was due.
It wasn't long before our wave of attacks on their goal commenced. We started finding holes in their defence down both sides, though it wasn't till Shano beat the offside trap did we find our best opportunity. As Stop out raised their arms and shouted for intervention, Shane powered through and with the composure of seasoned striker finished their come back hopes. Elite 5-1.
In quick succession we were able to put the game to bed, first with a nice cut back from a Vag run down the right side with Turk completing his hat trick. Then shortly later Travis completing his debutant brace from the left wing, professionally slotting the ball home. Elite 7-1.
The game still had 20 minutes to go, and at this pace we could hit double figures. But with Vag blazing shots over the bar and yours truely nailing his own players in the back in offside positions, another goal seemed to slip through our fingers.
Angus blew the final whistle and we had registered our first win of the season, and in quite emphatic style. With a full squad we could be looking at good season.
A hard one given everyone put in a solid performance.
3 Angus: He did not give an inch and commanded the defence into one solid brick wall.
2 Travis: Some great work down the left side, showing skill and pace as well as grabbing 2 goals in his first match
1 Turk: A well deserved hat-trick and you kept your composure to finish nearly all your opportunities.