Saturday 27th February 2017
Erdington and Saltley 7 – 2 Solihull
Team: Rob, Kye, Sam, Tion, Diago, Kane, Ilani, Rio, Cameron and Troy
Goals: Troy x 4, Kane x 1, Ilani x 1 and OG
Men of the Match: Troy for his four goals and Cameron for his incessant work rate throughout the game.
After 20 minutes we found ourselves two goals down. Void of energy and lacking imagination. We had no answer to Solihull, who had worked their socks off during the first third. So much so that every time we had the ball, we found ourselves quickly closed down by a blue shirt. Solihull beat Sutton Coldfield 4-0 in their last game and the early signs suggested they were going to do something similar to us. However as we know only too well, football games can change very quickly (the final of the 2014/15 Birmingham Primary Schools’ FA Cup anyone?).
The team talk after the first twenty was simple: wake up, stop being lazy, fight and win your individual battles.
Boom! And with that boys took control of the game. Three minutes into the second twenty we were equal, following an unfortunate own goal and a penalty which was cooly converted by Troy. Next up was Troy once again, this time cutting in from the left, the Marsh Hill winger switched the ball to his right foot, found himself an opening and rifled home from distance. Not to be undone, Ilani, playing his first game since signing for the Villa, scored a Worldy of his own. Following some neat interplay on the edge of the box, the Yenton baller picked up the ball and smashed in a screamer with his supposedly weaker right foot.
Now in control of the game, the boys continued to attack, only to concede a penalty. However, soon after making a great one-on-one save, Rob was confident as he bounced on his goal line. Diving to his left, the Gunter shot-stopper made a fabulous save before the defence ensured the rebound was cleared up.
Within one minute of that save, Rio burst down the right, linked up with Cameron, before the Gunter midfielder crossed expertly for Troy to bag his hat-trick at the far post. What a twenty minutes!
Although the final third wasn’t as dramatic, it did bring further goals, as Troy scored his fourth, this time from close range. However it was left to Kane to seal a fantastic victory; it was the very least that he deserved after dictating the game from the centre of the park. Controlling the ball after pulling it out of the sky, our captain and top scorer steadied himself and unleashed a thunderous shot which crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
After rightly being contacted by the head (and his deputy) of the Defenders Union, it’s definitely worth noting the part that the defence played in today’s game.
Dropping into the back three from centre midfield, Tion controlled the left hand side of the pitch, as well as using his passing range to start a number of attacks. In the middle, Sam dominated the sky of Nechells,winning header after header. To Sam’s right was the Erdington-Cafu (Kye) who continued the almost telepathic understanding that he has built up with right wing partner Rio. Last but by no means least, there was Diago to the left of the back three. The Featherstone blocker has been in sublime form since the turn of the year and added to that run of form when he entered the game at the start of the final third.
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the little things, as the goals often claim the headlines. However you couldn’t build a house on a foundation of sand and without a solid defence (I’m including the keeper in that), the team wouldn’t be able to attack in that way that it does.
Whilst looking for a quote to sum up the importance of defending I found this:
“If we score, we might win. However if they don’t score, we will never lose.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself!
Victory – signed, sealed and delivered.
Despite the one-sided nature of the scoreline, Solihull should be commended for their effort. After dominating the opening third, our opponents from the south of the city created a number of chances of their own, only to be thwarted by Rob who was having his best game of the season, visibly spurred on by his great penalty save. Well done Solihull and good luck for the rest of the season.
Roll on next week.
Up The Ton!