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Saturday 5th January saw Finchampstead Rovers take on Bracknell Colts 

First game of 2019 and by gum it were chilly, though fortunately the frost had stayed away. The low temperature hadn’t kept people away and it was heaving out on the top Finch pitch with still a hint of Christmas cheer bubbling through the veins of the expectant parents to keep them warm. Oh, not forgetting the “you know what’s” (I’m not going to mention them by name!) Crispy on outside, soft on the inside – no, not Armadillo’s!

Even though this was an unexpected game, it was an ideal start to the New Year being against Bracknell Colts who were level on points with the Rovers. Only goal difference keeping Rovers higher in the division. The previous match between the teams had resulted in a 4-2 win for the Rovers and that was with the Rovers being 4-0 up at half time. Would history repeat itself?

The whistle blows and they’re off.

A good brisk start from both teams, end to end, but Rovers are edging the early play. George is pushing on the right wing and creates a number of chances for Nathaniel but their keeper is looking good. Another break sees Nathaniel shoot and the ball rebounds to George but another save.

The Colts are attacking almost as frequently as the Rovers but the defence of James, Sam T, Oliver and Lucas S just play it calm and reset the play for another structured Rovers attack. Now and again the Colts do break through but every time Luke is there to assuredly save. 

It’s a tight first half but the Rovers are steadily taking control. The midfield of Jake and Jake, Sam F and Alfie are knitting the passes together and releasing the forward line time and time again. The Rovers must score soon, as there’s still a threat from the Colts on the break. The Colts win a number of free kicks outside the box and certainly have the fire power to punish the Rovers but none are on target.

Finch break and Bunny breaks free on the right, square ball across to Jake M in the middle but no, just not enough power in the shot to beat the keeper.

The Colts break and the ball looks like it’s going to get through but Sam T nips in and lays the ball out to James on the right. A measured pass releases Bunny down the right touch line, he presses on and then squares to Lucas C who’s storming into the box. This is where everything appears to switch to slow motion, he draws back, fires, connects, the ball rises, rises again, still rises. The keeper leaps, it’s over the top, no, it’s dropping. Back to normal speed – into the goal 1-0. Great finish.

Bracknell Colts kick off and are straight back down in the Rovers half. The whistle blows and it’s half time. Few! A nervy first half but excellent passing and tough defending have given Rovers the edge.

Second half starts and if the Rovers can get an early goal then they should be able to take total control of the game. The Colts are obviously looking to give the Rovers an advantage, they’ve started the second half with only 10 men. The referee points this out and we’re off again. Rovers are looking confident now, the passing game is stretching the Colts team and it’s not long before the balls through to Nathaniel, he shoots and the keeper parries but in zips Bunny to put it away. 2-0.

More and more Rovers have the ball. Leo is getting space down the right and is releasing Bunny time and time again. Bunnies crosses are cutting the Colt’s defence in half. Lucas C receives the ball on the edge of the area and unleashes a powerful shot only to see nearly disappear down a defender’s throat. Brave defending.

Jake Mc breaks on the left, goes to cross but drags the ball back onto his right foot and shoots near post but the keeper saves again. The pressures really building now.

Another Rovers break and James sends Bunny away and he beats the defender in a flash. He looks up, takes aim and plays a pin point cross to George who from eight yards out finishes in style. 3-0.

Come on Rovers, go again, they do, straight from the kick off. The Colts lose the ball and Alfie collects it just inside the Colts half. A touch inside the Sam F and a perfectly weighted first time pass releases Bunny and he’s away. Bang – back of the net, oh he does make it look simple. 4-0.

That’s it, game over.

A fantastic team performance. To a man, they worked and passed and fought. Well done boys. If they can perform like that every week, the rise up the division is going to accelerate.


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