A mature performance from the youngest player on the team
We gathered at Long Road in anticipation of the M2s’ traditional blisteringly-fast start to the season. New additions to the team, Josh and Harry, got an early taste of the slickly-oiled M2s organisational machine, as we frantically grabbed balls (none in the kit bag) and away shirts (a call from our man in Stortford, Chalk (H), having let us know the oppo were playing in dark blue).
After a brief tour of Birchanger Green services and a slightly longer tour of Hockerill College, we finally arrived at the astro, where the heartfelt words of the much-missed Menzies were appreciated by all. The same can’t be said for NBM’s new touchy-feely warmup, which very much divided opinion.
Having seen the M1s' and M3s' games previous to ours, we were anticipating a real test against Bishop’s Stortford 2s. The early exchanges appeared to confirm that, with both sides happy to play a high-tempo, open game. Barney may have taken this a little too far by crashing full-speed into probably the biggest guy on the pitch and landing heavily on his shoulder.
The deadlock was broken around ten minutes in, as Harry picked up the ball, manoeuvred himself into space at the top right of the D, and buried his shot into the bottom left. He evidently enjoyed this so much that he followed it up with another clean strike from the top of the D shortly afterwards. Seeing how effective this tactic appeared to be, our other debutant, Josh, got in the act with a strong drive to the top of the D and strike to the corner. Three-nil, and just time before half-time for Douglas to cynically fell the umpire.
Stortford came out strong in the second half, determined to get back into the game, and won a series of short corners that Darren, also making his South debut, needed to be alert to keep out. A yellow card for Matt Kenzie for failing to retreat five added to the pressure but we managed to ride it out successfully. We suspected that a fourth goal would kill off the game for good, and it duly came as Josh caught the opposition napping with a quickly taken free hit, providing a well-struck ball across the D that Harry neatly deflected past the keeper. Max then capped a MoM-winning display with a fifth goal, pouncing on a loose ball in the D.
A delighted team then repaired to Stortford Cricket Club for teas featuring the world’s largest sausages. Well, except Dom, who may still be looking for his car as we speak.
All-in-all, an incredibly encouraging first game of the season. Is there a chance that the M2s might have woken up before Christmas this year, or will normal service resume next week?