WH&E L1 2 : 0 Eastcote W3
We showed up all late, none of us warmed up. Amy complained about running half a pitch and Nic had about 4 warm-up shots – great start!
First half brought 10 ‘goals’ (but they were all from outside the D) – we completely forgot the rule about having to score inside the D. The opposition had one short corner for some sort of obstruction from either Nic, Sarah or Amber. No goals prevailed. We played well with KG B and Amy holding the ball well in the midfield and Karen playing cricket whacking everything down. Evie couldn’t buy a goal, Abbi was half awake (maybe 1/10 awake) and Vicks was getting knocked around. KGray was always there but not getting that last touch.
The second half brought all the dramas. A couple of green cards; Sarah, Amber & Beth had their moments of glory with the whole team press coming into play – Nic loved this. We had about 3528265 chances on the goal line and some beautiful short corner opportunities, but nothing was going in. Nic was going to have a heart attack or kill us so we decided to score. Sexy hockey brought a B-smash from the top of the D for goal 1, and Shell on her knees on the reverse for goal 2 – Nic was very relieved. All in all this was a game to remember and potentially the most fun game we’ve had?
WH&E L2 0 : 5 Ealing W1
Facing a young, fit, Ealing side, with 10 players was always going to be a challenge but the L2s stepped up and by keeping our structure, some nice 1-2s and a bit of man marking, gave it a good go.
Ealing were frustrated and our MOTM went to our GK, Chris, for keeping them down to 5 yet somehow it didn’t feel like a 5-0 match. With the 11th player, it would have been a different story. Honourable mentions to Lisa and Harriet for great efforts in centre midfield.
WH&E M1 3 : 5 Osterley M1
Picture the scene…
High intensity warm-up. Buzzing. Ready. But…no opposition and no officials. Like we’re the only team in the world. Push back ticks closer. Nothing. “Are they coming?” “Are we in the right place?” “Imagine they just don’t come! #3points” Short lived hope. 13 relaxed Osterlians rock up. With kids and support crew in tow. A 14:30 push back not 14:00 as we had thought…
Anyway. Push-back. 20 minutes of fine hockey from the M1s. Sensible. Solid. Patient. Knocking it around at the back. Then finding gaps. Jack with little flicks to Dom. Colin picking it up and doing what he does. Old Jake flying down the wing. Classy.
But the relaxed Osterlians nabbed the first goal. Against the run of play. Short corner. Then a decent challenge from Dr Dray (aka Lucas Paqueta – Google him). A P-Stroke apparently. Not sure what for. Weird. A good one though, to be fair. Right in the corner. 1-0 Osterley.
No panic though. No need. WHEM1 are good. Back to the sensible. Solid. Patient stuff. GOAL!! 1-1. Can’t remember how we scored. But we did! Was it Harry? With a “Luke-in”?
(Somewhere amongst it all Lucas hit himself in the head with a mishit shot, and then got clattered a little later so we got a shortie. Looked like a new man when we played four at the back! Maybe it’s just the bigger beard? Or the Brazilian heritage?)
Anyway. Half time. Ice pack #1 for Dan ‘Machine’ Mather. This is ours for the taking. Saddest thing though…They actually made some tactical changes to start the half. And it worked. More pressure on our sensible, solid, patient stuff. They get a short corner. And slot a good strike in the corner. 2-1. Bummer.
But no need to panic. We’re still good.
GOAL! 3-1. Ow. Facepalm. Another short. Another good strike into the bottom corner.
But it’s ok. Because we’re good. We’re patient. We build. We play sensible hockey.
(Apart from Mr Mather – chief of PE. Who runs round getting hit all the time. Well, mostly his feet. He’s a body-on-the-line kinda guy.)
So we press. We fight. We pile on the pressure.
GOAL! 3-2. Sweeet. I’d describe it but can’t remember it. Probably Colin. Usually is.
We press. We build. Patient. GOAL! 3-3! Colin again, with a deft touch deflection…Ow. Nope. Apparently not. Umpires don’t think so. Long Corner.
But they can’t keep us down. And we’re certainly not out. Pressure. Pace. Determination. Physicality. Banter. D Penetrations. Shots on goal.
After a wonder save from a Captain Ollie drag flick, we got our goal. 3-3. I’d describe it but can’t remember it. Soz. Probably Colin again. At least an assist.
Now the game is on. 5 minutes to nab a winner. Stay patient. Build. Fight. It’s coming. Right? Tell me it’s coming….Surely…Then it happens. Absorbing the pressure. Patiently building. Steer and Tasker sensibly knocking it around the back. Looking for gaps.
Think Steven Gerrard V Chelsea at the end of the 2014 football season (Google ‘Gerrard Slip’). Gerrard is Jake. Their rookie player is Demba Ba. John is Simon Mignolet.
A slip. A fumble. The ball is gone. Gerrard – on all fours – watches on. Good strike. John can’t stop it. GOAL! 4-3.
Gutted. A few minutes to fight back. Build. But no time. They win another short corner. 5-3. Game over.
A sad end to a good battle. We go again next week.
Shoutout to the many who got a vote or two for MOTM – well done Harry for a disciplined and determined display. Deserved MOTM.
WH&E M2 2 : 5 Ealing M1
It always seems to be when we play Ealing that we have squad troubles. No keeper and only 8 players available; up stepped Wayne in goal and two late additions in Calum and Luke to make a team of 10.
The team wasn’t feeling too confident and this showed early as we conceded a goal within minutes. We thought the worst but as time went on, we showed some defensive resilience as the onslaught against us continued. Roughly 10 minutes in we did concede, but we weren’t down as we had a strong midfield, and our ‘West Ham’ tactics of route one hockey was strong with Siva and Theo commanding the wings.
Somehow we managed a short corner, Joe shot it back post and then Tom Pajak got into a tussle with the post player, it then popped out to Luke. No need to explain that goal, you guys know.
Ended up 3-1 half time.
Some would say that we grew even more into the game as we had quite a lot of success on the ball, you’d never know it was 10 men. Alas Ealing’s numbers did stack up and they got a 4th. Nearer the end of the game we decided to go a bit more direct and someone (Tom or Guy?!) hit the ball just straight into the D, and Siva ran across and got a slight deflection – chipped it top bins for 4-2.
Ealing did score again but hey ho, 5-2 loss. I think we expected worse, but honestly we played so well as a 10 man unit and despite the result we can be proud of the performance from everyone. In spells, we dominated the ball and had we an extra man, we may have scored more.