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Pre-season Friendly for Finchampstead Rovers



Pre-season Friendly

07th September 2020

It’s been a long wait for the season to restart, after it was prematurely ended by the Coronavirus outbreak, but finally the Rovers are back in business. A previous friendly a week ago, saw the Rovers despatch a Bracknell team with style.

This game would be an interesting test for the Rovers, as Eversley had been promoted at the end of last season. A bit of a shame really, as this is the local derby, so a one-off contest would be the only option for the eager supporters. Over the years, this has always been a keenly fought, physical battle.

On the subject of the supporters, it was an excellent turn out for a pre-season friendly on a Monday evening. All of them were well socially distanced, very sensible. The main issue for the Rovers supporters this season though is, what distance will they have to be from Gemma’s globally famous sausage rolls? I can reveal, that there was a rumour from a leaked government paper, outlining the fact that Gemma’s sausage rolls would have to conform to the correct protocol on social distancing. This means they will each HAVE to be a minimum of 2 meters long! Dream on you greedy lot, I think it’s about time we supply our own snacks and give Gemma and her deputy Pam, a rest this season.

Any way back to the match.

A very football like, grey sky and a cool breeze greeted the teams, some things don’t change.

Apart from the recovering Jake Mac, a full complement of players was available to Simon and Steve. With the departure of Sam F, this had released funds to bring in big money signing, Tom L. With his strength and banter, he’s sure to be an asset.

The referee starts the game and immediately Kam, at right back, displays some leg knotting skills and plays the ball past to opposition players, to set Nathaniel off on one of his trademark high speed runs. This is quickly cut out by the Eversley defence though. Rovers win a throw and George launches a huge throw towards the box but again Eversley hold strong.

Early signs are that this is going to be a very even contest. It’s a shame the Rovers form couldn’t have been more consistent last season, as they would’ve surely been pushing for promotion alongside Eversley.

The Rovers midfield are really getting stuck in, great tackling form George, Adam, Lucas C and Tom. Eventually Eversley break through on the right, the winger cuts inside and is in on Luke but he’s stands strong and blocks the shot. Next it’s Bunny’s turn to turn on the style. Great hassling of the defender and he’s away with the ball. A classy flick with the outside of his foot, puts Nathaniel through but his powerful shot sails wide. Lovely move.

Next, it’s Nathaniel’s turn to become supplier, great control of a bobbling ball gives him the chance to whip a cross in from the right but it’s just behind Bunny’s run into the box.

The Rovers are definitely edging this game now, the defence of Kam, Jake M, Ollie and Lucas S are holding strong even though some of the Eversley play is getting more and more physical.

An Eversley pass manages to get their striker in but he blazes the shot high and wide. The Rovers passing is a little wayward at times but now and again there are glimpses of their previous master classes.

The first quarter is almost over, when Nathaniel is set on his way by a good link up between Adam and Lucas C. He’s travelling at full speed, when the Eversley defender comes hurtling across and obviously forgets he’s on a football pitch and running away from a hungry herd of ex-Olympic sprinter zombies. Crash, down they go, no contact with the ball at all. Oh, no card. Well I guess it is a friendly after all. Thankfully both players are fine and the herd of zombies disappear over the horizon. The resulting free is taken by Adam and is just wide of the far-left hand post.

End of the quarter and it’s 0-0.

Start of the second quarter follows the first, with end to end play. Sam T collects the ball mid-way in the Rovers half and chips the ball up for Lucas C who then guides it through to Bunny. Away, he jinks left and right round two defenders but again the big centre back clears up. Ayjay is on now and he’s really turning on the style, trying to out spin his wing man Kam. I can see the pair of them ripping up the dance floor in years to come. Watch out ladies!

Good defensive play from Leo sets up an attack but again the Eversley defence is too strong. The quarter is very competitive again and even with Alfie and Leo beavering away in midfield there’s no clear chances for either team and it ends 0-0.

The second half starts at a quick pace and Ayjay displays a combination unbelievably audacious flicks and drag backs. He ends with flicked pass through to Nathaniel but the ball bobbles up and he concedes a free kick for hand ball. That would’ve been special.

Jake M has moved into his customary midfield roll now and is driving forward time and time again, allowing the front men to push on and create closer chances. It’s not long before Jake M is flattened by his opposing number and wins a free kick. He places the ball but leaves it for Sam T to step up. It’s a long way out, maybe 25 yards, but he does have a history of smashing these. He takes three steps back and pings the ball goalward. It’s looking good but the keeper just gets his finger tips to it and saves. Still no goals and the third quarter ends.

Last quarter and it’s still even. The game runs from one end to the other with both teams showing the early season tiredness. A good break from Adam and a blistering shot is collected by the keeper. James has linked up really well with Ayjay on the left and they’ve created numerous great passing combinations but to no avail. Ayjay really does have the bit between his teeth and after more skills, smashes a powerful shot just past the left hand post. Really close. Next it’s Nathaniel’s turn to break into the box and he’s clattered by the defender but stays on his feet. There was a good chance if he’d gone down, the ref may have given a penalty, NOT.

Eventually the time runs out and the ref blows for the end of the game. 0-0 was probably a fair result and the Rovers would definitely be the happier of the two teams. I’m sure this early season performance bodes very well for the Rovers. They certainly showed plenty of competitive bite and their fitness stood up well.

Role on next week for the first official fixture of the 2020/21 season, who knows how long it’ll last!


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