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23rd March 2019

Good conditions greeted the teams for
the first encounter between these teams this season. The Rovers team had
been depleted by illness and injury, no substitutes available to the
coaches so tactics and digging deep were going to be vital.

The Ascot team were an unknown quantity
but there was an air of optimism among the supporters even though they’d
been dealt the blow of lack of comestibles.  Yes, you’ve guessed it,
two of the casualties were George and his faithful friend Gemma’s
sausage rolls. There had been rumours circulating, that was why numbers
were low, that they’d heard early that the SR’s wouldn’t be making an
appearance. Hog wash of course!

Pre-match warm up completed on the
battering ram swing in the park, had certainly lifted the boy’s mood.
Apparently, this is the same warm up used by the Liverpool team. Simon
and Lee then giving them all their instructions and I must say the boys
did appear to be listening but the proof of the pudding is in the
eating. Oh, I did miss those sausage rolls.

The teams are ready and off they go, a good brisk start.

It appears from the early play that it
could be like previous games with the Rovers playing football while the
opposition seem to be using the long ball more.

Great play from Finch, quick passing
one, two, three, four passes take them smoothly up the pitch. Away
Nathaniel goes, using his strength and pace to ease past the defender
but the ball just gets away from him. Ascot come back taking the ball
wide and playing along ball down the wing but Lucas S is too good for
the winger and disposes him to start another Rovers attack though Jake M
into Sam F. The passing is really paying off.

Time and again Finch create nice
football with Lucas C switching the ball wide to either Jake Mc or Leo,
quick dinks through to Nathaniel, who’s got the pace and desire to beat
the Ascot defence time after time. They’re just not getting the shots on
goal yet.

Even though Ascot are pressing on the
counter, they’re stopped every time by the now very strong defence of
James, Sam T, Oliver and Lucas S. Luke in goal has got to keep his wits
about him though in case there is a break through.

The formation with Jake M in behind Sam F
and Lucas C is working a treat. Every time the Rovers defence wins the
ball, it’s played out to Jake M who spins or steps round the opposition
player and sets another Finch attack on its way.

Good play on the right for Finch and the
balls into the box, Jake M’s there and the ball skips up and over, in
rushes Jake Mc and it’s in, goal. Real desire there from the forwards
creates the chance and Jake Mc puts Rovers in the lead.

More passing from Finch is just too good
for Ascot and again the ball is through the Nathaniel who skips to his
right and finishes with real class. Two nil to Finch.

Ascot press towards half time but the
work rate of the whole Rovers team is excellent and the referee blows
for half time. A well-deserved lead.

The second half begins better for Ascot,
they’ve obviously been rejuvenated by their coach and Finch can’t seem
to get their passes strung together yet. Away comes the Ascot forward
and unleashes a powerful shot towards Luke’s far post. A full stretch
save down to his right see’s the ball just tipped wide, super goal

The Rovers are starting to gather
themselves better now with instructions from Simon and Lee to keep their
formation squeezing the Ascot attacks. Again, though Luke is called
into action and he doesn’t disappoint with another vital save.

Frustration is starting to show in the
Ascot play and it’s not long before things snap and after a tackle from
Jake M, the Ascot midfielder decides express his dislike of the
challenge in Semaphore. Unfortunately, on the letter C one of his arms
passes rather too close to Jake M’s face and the referee deems this to
be far too flamboyant for a football match and sends him off. Amazingly
the player continues his signalling as he wanders off. What a kerfuffle!

Fuss over, the match continues and as
usual the team with ten men seem to be given a new lease of life and
Finch are pressed more and more. Does this cause Rovers to abandon their
total football style? No, in fact they really turn it on, with a
scooped chip from Lucas C to Jake M, then James has the audacity when
under pressure on the right to back heal the ball into Sam T. they just
keep going and again James takes the ball down the right wing, skipping
past three players and playing the ball into the box. Leo wide on the
left is chasing and hounding the Ascot defence and on numerous occasions
keeps the Finch attacks alive. 

Ascot manage to win the ball in midfield
and ping a good pass out to the right, Rovers can’t deal with the
pressure and the ball eventually finds its way into the penalty area and
the attacker finds the back of the net. Two-one Rovers. 

Rovers restart and immediately
Nathaniel’s away, streaking away from the Ascot defence, this could be
three but the shot is hit wide. 

More end to end play but Rovers keep
things tight and really work for each other. Instructions between the
players can be clearly heard and this just goes to show how the team is
improving game on game.

The whistle goes, full time. Superb game, it had it all.

This was by far the best performance of
the season. Each player deserves the man of the match award. That’s the
true definition of team, all working with and working for each other.

As Rocky Balboa once said “Every
champion was once a contender who failed to give up” and that’s what
this Finch team is starting to believe. Never, ever give up.


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