Write-up By Ross
We join the Elite for their 3rd Round match-up against the Wainuiomata Undertakers on a sunny, but yet again windy afternoon. Coming off the back of 2 close fought encounters resulting in a draw and a loss we were looking for that first elusive victory of the season. With a few changes to the starting line-up and seeing that we were playing a bunch of retirees rather than the eager bunch doing a full on warm-up optimism as high.
In the early stages of the game we had the best part of possession, no troubles at the back and a few chances going astray. A few breakaways from myself resulted in some questionable finishing, one out for a throw in, another with the defence pretty much laying down on the ground, things weren’t going too well, but luckily for the Elite that would soon change.
A long throw-in to the box from Greg put pressure onto their defence, after a little bit of pinball it fell to Decs who tapped it through to myself to poke home from 6 yards out, 1-0 to the Elite. Soon after some good running down the left flank from Pat put the pressure onto their defence again to concede a corner. Crespo stepped up to take the corner and drilled one into the front post, the main man was there again (Me!!) to flick a header across goal into the top right hand corner to make it 2-0 to the Elite, looking comfortable at this stage.
The rest of the first-half went by with not much else to report for either team other than a great save from Dave, a corner was whipped in and due to the blustery conditions was going straight into the top corner, Dave got up well though to tip it over. Adam also had a shot, maybe? It went so high into the air it came down with snow on it and their keeper managed to parry it away before picking up the rebound.
Half-time came shortly after with the score at 2-0, good half from all the lads controlling the game well.
The second-half started just like the first with the Elite controlling much of the play and not having any troubles at the back with the defence looking solid. Looking to capitalise on this a through ball down the right hand side was picked up by myself, looking up I could see some great runs being made into the box. The attempted cross didn’t go to plan, however this was to the benefit of myself as it flew into the top corner over the keeper, wrapping up my hat-trick and ensuring I would be taking the match ball home (devastated to find out this would not be the case).
As the Undertakers restarted the game they decided that they didn’t actually want to keep the ball and kicked it straight at me, with my lightning pace, outstanding ball control and precise finishing I slotted it home for my fourth of the game, a mere 10 seconds after the 3rd went in. 4-0 to the Elite, absolutely cruising. At this stage Adam decided that I was being a greedy b@*tard and took me off, how dare he?!
Unfortunately for the Elite the Undertakers decided to mix up their tactics and opt for the long-ball option, the majority of these being aimed towards their right hand side. The left-back on the day facing these long balls was Mr Greg Priscott, who was inexplicably out the night before having Jaegerbombs at 4am before this big game. He did well first-half but in the second somebody should have given him a map so he could find the ball!!
After being put under more pressure we conceded a corner, they played it quickly and whipped it in to the far post for a man to nod home, Undertakers taking away the chance for the first clean sheet of the season. 4-1 now.
However the Elite responded well and forced a corner of their own, played into the danger zone right on the penalty spot it rebounded off Greg and fell nicely to Tim who thrashed a left foot volley into the roof of the net, restoring the Elite’s 4 goal cushion, 5-1 up. At this stage it all went a little bit pear-shaped for the Elite, an unfortunate penalty was given away
by CJ, long ball over the top, flicked on by their attacker onto the arm of CJ, penalty to the Undertakers. Their man stepped up and sent Dave the wrong way to slot the ball into the right hand corner of the goal, 5-2 now.
With the Undertakers still putting the pressure on they thought they had pulled another one back only for Dave to pull off a magnificent save from a header to keep the score at 5-2. Not long after this though it was another long ball over the top which caused some problems, a mix-up between Dave and Greg allowed their striker to put the ball into an empty net, 5-3 and twitchy bum time for the Elite.
Luckily their wasn’t much time left and although we struggled to keep hold of the ball at times and didn’t take advantage of some of our own chances we saw the game out and got a much deserved victory. Overall we played well and thoroughly deserved the 3 points to hopefully kick start our campaign.
MVP points are as follows :
3 – Adam : This was a close call as I though both Adam and Decs controlled the midfield very well but Adam gets the top points for great energy and endeavour up and down the pitch.
2 – Decs : As I said above, both centre midfielders played a great game. Decs with his on the ball presence and of course communication, although most of the time inaudible, helped us in the latter stages of the game.
1 – Dave. Pulled off a couple of brilliant saves at key times to help us to a deserved victory.
Great effort all round though lads!!