Two goals and an assist; a captain’s performance
After a couple of close games with disappointing results, the M1s were looking to bounce back with a win. The three-one victory at home and the gap between the two sides in the table gave South a measure of confidence but the topsy-turvy nature of the league and the pressure of the title race meant that nothing was certain - in the words of vice-captain Harry, “Every game is a big game.”
Before the game there were a couple of early shouts for LoM, Chris P going for a pre-warm-up McDonalds (claims of a sandwich were not believed) and Stu leading the team warm-up to his car to collect his water-bottle, but a fifteen-man squad and good intensity on the pitch boded well for the match.
From push back, the M1s looked the part, playing the ball around with confidence and pressing hard. Possession in forward areas is always key and the front three pressed hard forcing 50/50 passes that the midfield capitalised on, picked off and then attacked the D. Good chances were created from out wide, players driving to the baseline and putting quality balls across the goal but the best chances came from short corners. Chris had a flick picked off the line and a few messy scrambles in front of goal were almost turned in but it took an accurate push from James B into the far corner to break the deadlock.
The first goal settled the nerves and South continued to press and create chances while Bourne struggled to threaten. A few breaks were dealt with by a solid defence and Darren in goal was clearly up for a clean sheet with a composed performance. Shifting the ball from the back, Stu and Tom R played quick and accurate balls up into midfield, with wing-backs Doug, Aston and Mike providing width and pace (well, two of them were…). Another short corner and another goal from James, practically a carbon copy of the first, gave the M1s a comfortable lead but it wasn’t until the third late on in the second half that the game looked sewn up. An interception from Mike – good to have him back after a suspension last Saturday (from the Cricketers pub for being “loose as balls”) – passed on to Oli who sped down the right to the baseline and put a ball across to be deflected in off a defender.
There were few moments of quality in the second half; a missed tap-in from Chris, another missed tap-in from Harry L and a successful tap-in to make it four-nil from Jim “M1s’ Best Beard Winner 2019” Hockley with the assist for James. The real action of the second half came from the usually solid centre-back pair of Tom and Stu, as both of them appeared to forget what they were doing on the pitch. Tom collected the ball and without a second thought, threw it straight up in the air for no reason, thinking perhaps to test the laws of gravity. He could not be reached for comment. In a more spectacular display of losing your freaking mind, Stu barged a player down in the D after an ill-advised dribble and, after a short break, brought himself on in midfield. His attacking foray lasted all of about ninety seconds: a Gerrard-esque run onto the pitch, commit a blatant foul and get sent off – only a green, luckily.
A clean sheet, a win and a good performance gives the M1s a confidence boost and a great chance of getting one of the coveted promo- wait, I better not jinx it… #everygameisafinal