After another unwanted winter break since our away victory to league leaders Sutton in January, we went into the derby game well placed in the league, and looking to preserve our unbeaten record.
Our opponents are no strangers, and we knew exactly what to expect from a team who also had their unbeaten record on the line. If the previous draw against the teams at the start of the season was anything to go by, we were in for another tough game. With a big crowd on the sidelines anticipating a passionate derby match, they weren’t to be disappointed.
The opening five minutes are normally our Achilles heel, but today the boys knew how big the occasion was, and flew out of the blocks with Charlie smashing home the opening goal and then seconds later he finished with composure slotting past the home keeper, when put through one on one by Oliver. Charlie could have netted a 5 minute hat trick a couple of minutes later but blasted his shot wide with only the keeper to beat.
The Blues are a good side, and it was only a matter of time before they got back into the game, from a good delivered corner Fin could only get his finger tips to the ball, which ended up with Will heading the ball unavoidably into the roof of the net at the back post, to bring the Blues back into it at 2-1. Credit to the Blues they piled on the pressure during the mid point of the first half and a long range shot that flashed past Fin’s post and some fine reaction saves kept the Blues at bay. The game was very end to end, with both teams carving out chances and I think it’s fair to say some pretty fierce challenges going in at the same time. With a few minutes to go until half time, Charlie got his hat trick with a scrambled finish, and it was four just on half time when Charlie again got away from the home defence, only to brought down by a brutal challenge on the edge of the area. Captain Oliver stepped up and smashed the free kick into the roof of the net leaving the keeper with no chance.
The second half the boys really showed how far they had come, not just as individuals, but as a team, as other than a couple of fine saves by Josh and a notable goal line clearance by James, the boys dominated possession and moved up the gears. Taylor got our fifth with a close range finish at the back post, Charlie got his fourth of the game and 30th of the season, finishing high into the roof of net, and our seventh, and undoubtedly the goal of the game, came from Oliver whose long range screamer flew into the top corner. We could well have added to the scoreline further if not for the woodwork or had our passing and finishing been a little more accurate.
I think it’s fair to say that the boys had a point to prove today. They showed just what they are capable of as a group of players, and to brush aside a team as good as the Blues, in the manner they did today, was very impressive.
Man of the Match again was a difficult decision as everyone involved today played their part in a great team performance. James got the majority of the votes from the parents/supporters for a near faultless display at left back, and he will no doubt have a few heavy bruises for his efforts! Well done To James and again to all those involved.
We are now 9 games in, and with 9 games left, we still have a long way to go, starting at Horsforth next week. Details to follow later in the week.