Second Match Report comes from Pete at Rowley College
Saint Michael 1 vs 4 Rowley College
Firstly let me say that it’s great to be back and thanks to everybody at the wmcfl for making this happen safely. There are many new challenges to get used to but what isn’t altered is the game itself and it was great to see two teams get back to playing attractive competitive football. To be honest I didn’t expect the game to be on, what with rain all day Friday and more forecast for Saturday morning but Robert went down early to inspect and gave the thumbs up. When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to see a pitch in perfect condition and the 96% chance of rain holding off to ensure a first half played on a good surface and dominated by us.
I promised our wide player Jay Daniels a mention in the report for being honest enough to remind us he owed a pound subs from before lockdown, suggesting that he might also feature by doing something on the pitch. He certainly didn’t let me down scoring a hat trick in a man of the match performance. It was Jay indeed who got us up to the perfect season’s start, collecting a ball on the edge of the box in the first minute and hitting a deadly strike through the defender’s legs and into the far corner.
This started a purple patch for us where we caused their defence multiple problems. Ben Smith running from midfield caused chaos in their back line and with Fowler on his game we seemed set for a dominating performance. This was confirmed when we scored a good second. Ben Smith made a run in the channel and played it back to Jay who knocked a perfect cross onto the head of Fowler who planted it in the corner of the goal. This was the start to the season that we dreamed of: we attacked at will and Saint Michael were struggling to provide us with any problems. Billy was having a very good game just behind the striker and Jack was always dangerous. The team was powered by Smith and Shola in midfield: Shola was one of three at least who I could easily have given man of the match to. We also looked comfortable at the back with Kev and Chris flanked by Brad and Stanton. Brad has taken to full back like a fish to water and was once again impressive. I think we deserved more than 2-0 at half team though St Michael came to life at the end of the half.
I spoke to Mike Ibrahim on the phone at half time and told him about our first half dominance before going to run the line. When I phoned from the car again it at the end of the game to tell him that we’d won four goals to one I had to emphasise the degree to which this was not a simple continuation of our control because with the torrential rain that threatened to drown the game came a substantial Saint Michael recovery and for long periods they dominated the bull and stretched us. Not long into the second half they got a goal back. The ball broke down in midfield and their centre forward was played in and he sensibly shot across Jamie low and hard. Though Jamie will think he might have done better it was exactly the place a goalkeeper doesn’t want the shot in these conditions.
The game became a little scrappy but they were having the best of it. I know that because of the relief we felt on the side when we got the vital third goal. Brad cleared the ball unconventionally from a corner and set Jack away down the right he beat the goalkeeper to the ball outside of the area and then skilfully cut back the perfect pass for the ever willing Jay to sweep in. By this time Hayden was on I’m doing well as was Joe. The intent of the game never ceased and its effort and intensity, ably refereed by Mo Islam (full marks today Mo!). The rain also never abated. Finally in the very last minute Jay evaded two defenders wide and bore down on their goal. Fowler was screaming for a pass in the centre and Jay used this to give the keeper the eye and crashed the ball in front post for a brilliant hat trick.
All the best to Robert and his lads who played the game in great spirit as ever. Arrangements at the ground were great though we all got a baptism of fire (well rain) when trying to cope with the after-match routine without changing rooms in the pouring rain! Soaked to the skin I sat in my car, the last Rowley person on the carpark and realised I hadn’t as usual got the teamsheet photographed and Whats-apped (and I’m the only sec who doesn’t have What’s App) because usually this would have been done sitting in the dry. Thus I had to call on my daughter to get the job done. We live and learn I guess!