Erdington and Saltey 3 – 2 Solihull Football Club
Team: Harvey, Kye, Sam, Ilani, Kian, Oakley, Troy, Samim, Cameron, Eddie, William, Tion, Pharelle, Harvey and Jamie
Scorers: Troy, Oakley and Kian
With Scotland experiencing gale force winds of up to 120mph, it’s fair to say that the tail end of this horrific weather certainly made it’s way down south to Birmingham, with strong winds making playing conditions tricky to say the least. However on the back of seven wins from seven games, the lads were full of confidence going into the game against an exceptionally talented Solihull team, who are half way through a highly successful season of their own. The pre-match team talk centred around the need for the lads to remain focused and not get carried away by the outcomes of the previous seven games, whilst making sure that their work rate and energy levels were both maximised.
The first third was fairly straightforward, with Harvey not having to make a save throughout the twenty minutes. That’s not to say that we dominated, because it was clear from the off that the Solihull lads could certainly play ball! They looked to play in a similar way to ourselves, never afraid to go backwards if there was nothing on going forwards, and always looking to pass the ball on the ground, which was just as well with the level of wind that was around. After having much of the ball, we took the lead through Troy, who continued his great run of form which means he has still scored in 100% of the 9-a-side games that he has played in, following some great work from Cameron. Talking of the Gunter striker, Cameron’s desire and work rate were both incredible, as illustrated by the final third when he sprinted the length of the pitch, tracking his player all of the way, before making a great double tackle. Anyway, back to the first twenty minutes…where was I? Oh the goal…after a great save from the Solihull keeper and some herculean last ditch defending, Marsh Hill and Blues forward Troy slotted home to give us a one goal lead.
The second twenty couldn’t have been any more different, although it was certainly something that we needed! Until now we’ve rarely been tested for long periods in games, which is no criticism of our previous opponents. Solihull tested us and much more! They dominated the second twenty, as we lost our shape and became disjointed in all areas of the pitch. Nevertheless it was to the lads credit that they ended the second twenty only 2-1 down, as it could have been more. It is also worth mentioning that despite being second best, The Ton still created a couple of great chances of our own, with both Oaks and Tion going close late on in the third. Young lads Eddie and William showed more evidence, not that it was needed, that they’re going to be key fixtures in the under 10s team next season, whilst continuing to make great contributions this season. It’s astonishing to think that they’re only in Year 4, as are Ilani and Kian for that matter!
Following a heavy downpour the sun decided to make an appearance just in time for the final third of the game. Before sending the lads out, we asked them to dig deep if they really wanted to make it 8 out of 8, or simply continue as they were if they were happy to accept 7 wins out of 8 games. The improvement was clear for all to see, with our energy levels seemingly rejuvenated and our shape rediscovered. Kian and Ilani took control of the left side of the pitch, whilst Samim and Troy were outstanding in the centre of the park. We closed down in all areas of the pitch and it was great to see the lads backing each other up and making some big tackles. The equaliser came courtesy of Oaks, who has now scored 7 in 7, after some great work once again from Troy and Cameron. That left the stage clear for Kian to steal the show. The Gunter wing wizard popped up in the box and cooly converted following some probing play from captain Troy. It was great to see the way that every man crowded around the diminutive attacker in celebration of the goal he undeniably deserved. A couple more chances came and passed but we defended resolutely to see the game out and maintain our 100% winning record.
Despite winning games by greater margins, as well as winning against older opposition, this was certainly our most pleasing victoryto date. I would also say that it was our best performance, which I know might seem a little odd as we were all over the place for long periods of the game. However, previous to this we’ve never had to really dig deep and question ourselves but that’s exactly what we had to do against Solihull. We should all be very proud of this win and take a lot from it, as we believe it will make us a much better team.
Well done lads! What a team!
Man of the Match – It’s a tricky one as Troy and Cameron were at the heart of most that was good today, whilst Samim clearly had a great game at the heart of the midfield. Despite all of this, we’ve decided to give it to Kian. His tekkers were slick and goal composed, but his work rate and bravery were simply phenomenal!
Up The Ton!