Saturday 6th April Finchampstead Rovers took on Ascot United Aces
“Relax” and “Trust”. Two words which have been commonly used by Finch’s coaches both in training and during matches in what has become a highly entertaining season.
On this penultimate match the philosophy of the coaching squad was ultimately realised in the most composed and controlled performance to date.
Following a hard fought 2-1 victory over Ascot a fortnight previously, hopes were high among the supporters that the team could once again prevail in what was expected to be somewhat of a battle.
In front of not only Simon and Lee but also Derren and Steve (who have provided a lot of additional coaching support across the season) our boys delivered a performance of control, skill, entertainment, panache and ultimately teamwork to a man.
The game started in an almost identical manner to the previous week with Rovers controlling possession for the first 45 seconds and attacking down the right. Surely the Barcelona-esque goal of last week could not be bettered? No – great defending and a corner to Finch.
The play continued with Finch dominating the ball and with fantastic decision making from the likes of Jake Mac, the two Lucas’s, Kam, Leo and Nathaniel to name just a few!
Everyone was on top of the game and it was not long before yet another well worked move found the ball at Lucas C feet outside of the box. He unleashed a thunderbolt which the keeper could only parry into his own net. 1-0 to Finch! Ascot finally found a way into the match and following a well worked corner finally tested Luke in goal but the shot was fairly weak allowing a grateful Luke to collect in his midrift.
There then followed a further 10 minutes of controlled and composed football with Jake M and Lucas C combining well in central Midfield and with Bunny now joining the party from the bench with his magnificent touch and flick through passes. Nathaniel (giving a typically bustling and pacy performance) was through on goal.
Great strike and a magnificent save from their keeper, tipping the ball round the post. Ascot though were clearly dangerous on the break but every time the ball was in the air Sam T won every aerial battle. The back 4 of Sam T, Oliver, James and Lucas S were having their own game of the season, dealing with everything Ascot had to offer.
Luke must surely have been thinking “can I face a shot please?”. ”Never!” was their emphatic response.
Following another three or four attempts narrowly off target, Lucas S decided he would get in on the action. A couple of neat passes found Lucas moving infield from his left back position, Ascot allowing him space. Driving forward and twenty yards out – “have a shot – why not?”. Boom! A superb shot to the bottom left corner with the keeper having no chance. 2-0 to Finch 10 minutes before half-time!
Further opportunities presented themselves with Ajay coming on and putting in a real shift. Hassling the Ascot center backs would lead to mistakes and further chances would present themselves. A well worked corner would offer Jake M an opportunity to head us into a 3-0 lead. Great save but the keeper and parried to Bunny although he could only loop the ball over the bar! Half time 2-0 and time for a well deserved break! I made that at least 10 chances to Finch and 1 half-chance to Ascot. Unbelievable stuff against a team who had only lost 4 times all season.
The Ascot team came out for the second half all guns blazing. Their attempted balls over the top had not worked against a resolute defence. However, an exquisite through ball found their center forward through against Luke and a fabulous strike across goal found the back of the net. 2-1 Finch.
Now boys we have a game on our hands? Would the team panic or would they show the control and skill that they had delivered in the first half? A couple of nervous parents looked on although in the boys minds the result was never, ever in doubt.
For the remaining 30 minutes the boys treated us to everything! Aerial battles? Won. 5 pass moves. Delivered. On multiple occasions. A rabona? Delivered by Jake M with a beautiful through ball for a dangerous right wing cross into the box. Dribbling past 5 players and drawing a magnificent save from Ascot’s keeper? Step forward Kam F. Limiting opposition shots. Only one further chance for Ascot. Link up play between full backs and wingers? Check. Further shots on goal? Lets have another 10.
As the final whistle blew their were 15 contenders for the man of the match award. The entire Finch squad and Ascot’s magnificent number 4 center back and their inspired keeper.
Simon and Lee were almost speechless at the composure and teamwork shown by all the players today and the boys should be immensely proud of their best 70 minutes of the season.
Final score 2-1