Saturday 26th March 2016 @ Wednesfield High School
Wolverhampton 0 – 1 Erdington and Saltley
Team: Gerard, Sam, Diago, Taylor, Rio, Tion, Cameron P, Samim, Kye, Pharrelle and Harvey
Goal: Cameron P
Men of the Match: Cameron P, Kye and Sam
In conditions better suited to flying a kite, the boys rolled up their sleeves, dug deep and secured a narrow but excellent three points to end the regular league season unbeaten and on top of the league.
Furthermore, to add to the difficult weather conditions, we were five players down, with Kane, Troy, Oakley, Ilani and Rob all unavailable for selection.
Consequently the pre-match team talk focused on the need to keep everything simple and to work harder than ever before, otherwise the talented Wolverhampton team and terrible weather would get the better of us.
During the first half we created three or four clear cut chances, despite playing into a strong wind. In fact, at times the wind meant our forward passes ended up going backwards rather than up the pitch! Fortunately Cameron had the bit between his teeth and worked his socks off up front, chasing down every ball and causing all sorts of problems for the Wolverhampton left back. However despite coming close on several occasions via Cameron, as well as Samim down the left, we couldn’t break the deadlock and with the woodwork still shaking, we went into half time all square at 0-0. In reality this felt like a lead, as the horrendous wind meant the clean sheet was a huge reward for the brilliant defending of Sam, Diago and Taylor.
As the second half started, it was clear that it was going to be easier for us going forward with the wind now behind us. Slotting into the right of midfield, Pharrelle created a number of chances for the boys, thanks to his hard work and creative spark. One such chance was converted expertly by Cameron, although the crowd would have been forgiven for thinking their eyes were playing tricks on them as the Gunter striker hit the back of the net. Chasing a seemingly lost cause, Cameron somehow managed to sprint across the width of the pitch, before preventing the ball from going out for a goal kick. With the angle improbable, he looked up and curled the ball into the roof of the net. A truly stunning finish the least he deserved for his tireless work.
Moments prior to the goal, it could have been very different had it not been for a piece of amazing defending – the like not seen since Bobby Moore dispossessed Pele all those years ago. As the Wolves striker closed in on goal, Kye dived in from nowhere to nick the ball from the toe of the pacey forward. Not done there, he somehow managed to win the second tackle despite lying on the floor! Without that tackle, and many other pieces of stubborn defending from Sam, Taylor, Kye, Diago and Harvey, we might not be sitting here right now with three points on the board. For that reason, we had to break with tradition and pick three men of the match!
There have been many high points this season but this victory is certainly up there with the very best. To win in such difficult conditions is something that should set us up as we enter the home straight of the 2015/16 season. With the finishing line in sight, we’ll need to replicate the work rate, grit and determination that we showed today if we are to end this historic season in the style that it deserves.
A special well done must go to Gerard who made his 9 a side debut for the under 11s, keeping a clean sheet in doing so.
Thank you for a great match Wolves and we look forward to locking horns once again later in the season when we meet in the national finals of the Premier League 9-a-side tournament.
Well done boys! What a great morning at the office! All 11 of you did yourselves, the Ton Army and our great district proud.
Up The Ton!