Saturday 20th December 2014 @ Braemar Road
Erdington and Saltley 1 – 0 South Birmingham
Team: Harvey, Teon, Shaun, Brandon, Jermaine, Kane, Tyrese, Kruize, Shilo and Cameron
On the back of some very fine form, we went into this game full of confidence knowing we had been playing exceptionally well during recent weeks. However, despite playing our best football of the season during November and December, we couldn’t have predicted how the game would have started yesterday! For the first 15 minutes, South Birmingham belied the fact that they hadn’t won this season to take command of the game. South were first to every ball and their work rate was great, characteristics that have come to represent us over recent weeks. However despite being the second best team during the first thirty minutes, we most certainly had the two best chances of the half and should have entered the break in the lead. Firstly Kruize raced through one on one, only to try and deftly chip the keeper when a good old fashioned blast would have been better. Then Kane dived in on the far post to send a tantalising Kruize cross over the bar. Both chances would have been taken on another day but luck conspired against us on these occasions, despite the boys’ best efforts.
At half time we asked the lads to show more urgency and to be braver, just as captain Shilo had shown throughout the first half. With his hair showing slightly more volume than normal, Shilo played throughout the first half like a man possessed. He won every ball in the air and was tenacious in the tackle.
As the second half got under way, Villa striker Shilo burst forward immediately from the kick off and rifled a left footed rocket just wide of the post. This was a clear illustration of our intentions and it showed that the lads meant business during the second thirty. The rest of the half continued in a similar vein, with The Ton throwing everything at old rivals South Birmingham. After meeting them in three finals last season (winning two) , the last of which we lost 7-2, there was unfinished business. Chance after chance came and went, most notably via Cameron, Kane and Kruize. However a mixture of good goalkeeping, bad luck and our inability to stay onside meant it was 0-0 with 90 seconds left on the ref’s watch. Jermaine, who had been quite during most of the game, burst down the left and weaved his way into the box, before sliding Tyrese through one-on-one with the keeper. The Blues midfielder has been in the form of his life this season and calmly slid the ball past the keeper to give us a 1-0 lead. It was the very least that we deserved but we know only too well that football doesn’t always give you what you deserve – Dudley and Kings Norton anyone?
A report of yesterday’s match would not be complete without a mention of two superb last ditch salvages courtesy of Teon and Harvey. First we’ll start with Teon. With The Ton pushing up the pitch in search of a goal and with the score still 0-0, South Birmingham broke away after their defence cleared the ball up the pitch. The South striker raced forward from the half way line, with no defenders in front of him. It looked certain that he would score and give South the lead, although Teon had other ideas! Charging back, the Hillstone midfielder come defender somehow managed to get a last ditch tackle in to thwart the South forward. Not to be undone, Harvey made a great save shortly after Teon’s heroics, after South once again broke away and found themselves one on one. Without such feats we would have certainly lost the game, no matter how harshly such an outcome would have been.
After the match I said how much we’ve all enjoyed the first half of the season and how much of a privilege it’s been to work with this set of boys and I meant every word. It’s been fantastic to watch this group of lads grow in confidence since that 9-0 loss to Solihull in September and develop as footballers and young men. Furthermore, to do so with a large proportion of the squad being made up of under 10s (Kane, Troy, Cameron, Kye and Sam have all played for the 11s), albeit incredibly talented under 10s makes it an even bigger achievement. What a team and what an incredible set of lads!
Speaking of Solihull, that’ll be out next game on Jaunary 10th. I only wish we had a game next week, such is our great form at the minute. Alas it’s Christmas!
Have a restful and fantastic Christmas and behave boys!
Man of the Match – This is a tough one. Shilo was herculean in his efforts, whilst Kane was everywhere and Harvey kept our first clean sheet for months! However we all feel that Teon deserves it this week for his stubborn refusal to be beaten in defence!
Up The Ton!