WESTWOOD WANDERERS V FINCHAMPSTEAD ROVERS
Once again Saturday morning had arrived and what better way to start the weekend than an early kick off on the outskirts of Reading. Leaden skies blanketed the scene as the crowd made their way to pitch side and the first chilled wind of winter nipped annoyingly.
The forecasted sun may have still been lounging in bed but the boys looked keen, smiling and joking as they warmed up, Simon and Lee issuing instructions amongst the light-hearted banter. The outlook was improving, this was a chance for the Rovers to put in a good performance against the divisions bottom side and start their rise up the ladder. There was one thing missing though and this was having a devastating impact on the Rovers supporters……..no sausage rolls! George was here and so were the half time oranges but where was Gemma? No, this can’t be. How on earth are we going to cope. The sausage rolls are like an extra player, they the create energy to drive the supporters, like the coal in the great steam engines of old. You could hear a collective grumble, it wasn’t the Rovers clan complaining, oh no, it was their stomachs!
Still the match must go on.
The pitch is small but with what appears to be huge penalty areas, this could squeeze the game, make it scrappy, an interesting prospect.
Off we go, Rovers attacking, quick passing immediately creating space for Luke to play Ajay in but he’s just offside. Another spell of good play and Sam F sets Bunny off, but again, offside.
What’s this, there’s a commotion amongst the Rovers supporters, surely not crowd trouble at an U14’s match! No….Gemma’s parents have arrived and brought boxes of the warm sausage rolls! Oh yes, we’re saved, Halleluiah, “ it’s a long way to Tipperary, it’s a long way back home, it’s a long…..“ Sorry back to the match.
Pressure from the Rovers is building. It’s definitely cramped in the middle of the park but the passing game is paying off. Again and again Rovers get the ball through only to be caught by the offside trap. Now again though they get through and the either the keeper saves or the shots are just off target.
Another attack, James and Ajay combine well on the right the ball is switched to the left, the ball breaks inside to Jake M and BOOM! It’s in. A superb shot from distance. First goal, 19 minutes in. Come on Rovers.
Again, Rovers press and nifty wing play by Kam creates a chance for Nathaniel, close but not in. Rovers win a free kick at the back and Sam T floats in beauty but the Wanderers defence get it away. Keep going boys, the opposition are really under it now. James wins the ball at the back and plays a perfectly measured pass for Jake M to run onto, he’s going to shoot, could be his second of the game. No, unselfishly he cons the Wanderers defence by squaring the ball to Nathaniel who finishes confidently. Two nil, 32 minutes. It’s on.
Half time and the Rovers supporters are basking in the sunshine, content that the team are 2-0 up, sausage rolls have been despatched and there’s another half to look forward to.
The second half is under way and its really good play from the Rovers. The defence of James, Sam T, Oliver and Lucas S are mopping up everything that the Wanderers send their way. Poor Luke in goal was having a very quiet day but kept his concentration when needed his distribution was spot on.
The midfield of Jake Mac, Jake M, Sam F, Luke and George are passing with accuracy. Up front Leo, Ajay and Nathaniel are constantly pushing and pressing the oppositions defence but……offside, offside, offside, offside, offside, offside, offside, offside……suddenly there’s a scream of pain from the linesman “Please boys, try and stay on side, my arms hurting from raising the flag so often!” The plea is ignored and the Rovers keep attacking. Yes, there are more off sides, but they are getting through, creating chance after chance. Jake Mac drives forward and forces the ball across the box, Nathaniel shoots and the ball spins out to George on the right, a super ball back across and Lucas S sneaks in behind the defence to finish with precision at the back post. Three nil.
Rovers can get more goals if they keep up the momentum and they do. Good aggressive play by Jake Mac and he lays the ball back to Lucas S, he passes into the box but the Wanderers defence clear up field. Sam T collects the ball in his own half and plays wide right to James who spins and again passes out wide to Ajay. With a deft flick of his left foot he’s round the defender, one, two, three strides and BANG! TOP BINS! Wonderful, wonderful goal. Four nil.
More attacks follow but Rovers just can’t get the elusive fifth goal. Full time.
A great result for the Rovers and one that’s been coming for a while now. Well done boys and congratulations to Simon and Lee. All the training is really starting to show through and a big thanks goes out to Steve for his help on the Monday nights. There’s a really good setup within the Rovers, and this season could be about to take off.