Saturday 9th November, Finchampstead Rovers took on Bracknell Athletic Youths and here are the Results
A cold but bright morning greets players and supporters, after a minutes silence in memory of our fallen heroes, Finch win the toss and kick off just after 11am. The stats say this is going to be a challenging match as Bracknell sit a few positions and several goals above the home team. Finch will have to be at their best in front of both goals.
In the first 10 minutes, Finch are in defensive mode as Bracknell have a lot of possession, with a couple of corners well defended by the back four of Lucas S, Sam T, Kamran and Josh. A couple of long-range shots go wide and with one well saved by Oliver. Finch get their first break as Jake and Ajay link up with a through ball to Nathaniel who is brought down just outside the area. The subsequent free-kick glances the top right of the cross bar. We see a slight momentum shift with the free kick, with several great opportunities for Ajay and Nathaniel who go one on one with the keeper but he is on fire and blocks them all spectacularly.
The first half settles into a routine of Bracknell forced to resort to long shots and the Finch defence continue to stand strong with some hard tackles, especially from Sam T who is now limping, but he battles on. The midfield of Leo, Sam F and Jake M provide support where needed and provide further sublime through balls for Nathaniel and now Harrison who’s come on for Ajay But who is this keeper? He seems unbeatable. First half comes to a close and it remains goalless.
Second half kicks off and Finch quickly win a throw in the left hand side of the oppositions half. George expertly throws into the space behind the Bracknell defence forcing a rushed clearance and the first corner of the half for Finch. Ajay delivers the corner right onto the head of Jake M who heads it down to the left hand corner. But the keeper is down quickly to bundle it passed the post for another corner. The second corner, superbly delivered and somehow finds its way to the feet of Harrison who has his shot and rebound blocked by the Bracknell keeper... unbelievable!
Will we ever get past this lad! Yes we will... GOAL!!! What happened? Supporters (including me) had looked away after Nathaniel seemed to mis-kick his first time shot from a pass by Ajay. However, the unbeatable keeper decided to try to kick the clearance and he unfortunately did no connect. The ball squirmed under his foot and ended up in the back of the net. 1-Nil to Finch.
Finch begin to take control and possession as the temperature on the pitch begins to increase. The ref takes a moment to calm both sides down as each side battle to succeed. Great football from both sides. With two very different styles. Finch playing strong defensive and passing game and Bracknell resorting to (or maybe being forced to) play through balls with the occasional speculative long shot. Fifteen minutes in on the second half another passing move from the Finch. Starting from inside our half, Jake M to Sam F to Lucas C to Ajay, through to Nathaniel who is brought down in the area. Penalty! Lucas C steps up and slots it into the bottom left hand corner. 2-Nil.
The game settles back into the pattern of the first half, Finch defence now shored up with Jake M dropping back next to Kamran, as Sam T has had to succumb to his first have knock. Wide playing Midfielders of Leo and George adding to the determined defensive play ensure Bracknell cannot breakthrough. Into the last 10 minutes and you still feel Bracknell could turn this around, but then another fine one two move from Nathaniel to Ajay who hits a speculative low ball across the Bracknell area into the path of James who has a simple, but composed, tap in to make it 3-Nil. Where did he come from? Game over!
The rest of the game saw Finch growing in confidence and controlling the pace of the game. The whistle goes as the rain begins to fall, but that won’t dampen the mood. What a spectacular performance by each and every one of the Finch team. Man of the Match goes to everyone.
Final score 3-0 to the mighty rovers