Saturday 18th March 2017 @ Derby Moor Community Sports College
West Midlands County Schools’ FA League
Derby 3 – 2 Erdington and Saltley
Team: Gerard, Tiarno, Kian, Danny, William, Blessing, Taylor, Toby, Che, Liam and Telpher
Goals: Che x 2
Man of the Match: Toby – The youngest player on the pitch, alongside Blessing, were by far the most tenacious, hard working and determined players on show. However it’s the younger of the two who earns the man of the match accolade.
The equation was simple. Beat Derby and sit atop of the league, with only Dudley capable of catching us. Lose and relinquish the title won for the first time in our history during the 2015/16 season. Although we should know by now that nothing is ever simple in schools’ football!
The first twenty minutes was arguably the worst we’ve played all season. Despite one or two very bright sparks, collectively as a team we were second best by a considerable distance. We lacked the intensity and passion shown in our recent wins against Wolverhampton and Solihull. We were not good enough and found ourselves two goals down and with a mountain to climb if we were going to retain the league.
The second twenty was an altogether different affair. All over the pitch, gold shirts closed down their white counterparts. We battled, pressed and fought. We showed passion for the cause and gave it one hell of a go. We did everything that we didn’t do during the first twenty. After twenty minutes of unrelenting pressure, we found ourselves back in the game after Che scored to make it 2-1 to Derby.
Knowing that nothing other than a win was needed, we threw an extra man up front and chased the two goals that were required. Unfortunately we got caught on the break and fell 3-1 behind, before regrouping to quickly reduce the deficit to one goal, with the goal again coming from Che.
Regretfully we couldn’t undo the damage that was done during the poor opening thirty, despite two thirds of passion and effort.
A number of positives came out of the disappointment of losing. As well as the man of the match performance of Toby, box-to-box energy of Blessing and the team transformation during the second twenty, there was the debut of under 10s Telpher. Peacefully asleep at 10:30pm on Friday night, he didn’t even know he was playing until he woke up on Saturday, after my late night plea to his father. Yet he stepped up admirably and gave a debut performance brimming with confidence and bravery. Well done Telpher!
Nevertheless we will pick ourselves up and go again. We are still in two cup competitions and Jersey is only a few weeks away. Plus yesterday taught us a valuable lesson, a lesson that can be transferred to all areas of life:
Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard enough.
Up The Ton!