10th October – Match Reports

Couple of Match Reports received with the first from Josh Prentice regarding their match with Dudley Lions.

Delph Athletic 2 vs 4 Dudley Lions

Delph Athletic looked to take the momentum from last weeks win into this week against local rivals, Dudley Lions.
Delph kicked off the first half with intent, controlling the tempo, creating chance after chance displaying their best 45 minutes played so far with: high intensity, individual battles, winning second balls, but found themselves going into the half only winning 1-0.
Dudley Lions made some changes at half time and came out firing on all cylinders ensuring the second half was played at a higher tempo. Although Delph got a second goal through a fine strike from Jack Slater, Dudley ensured they took their chances and found themselves 4-2 up with 25 minutes to go.
It was not a good enough performance from Delph, but mistakes will be learnt from and the team will be ready for next week to try put all those wrongs to right!

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The second report comes off Pete Bennett from Rowley College. Nice to see 2 Clubs sending in Match Reports even though both were on the wrong end of the result.

City Church 2 vs 4 Rowley College

One issue with club match reports is that they are obviously one- sided and while acknowledging this I try my best to see the game also from the other team’s point of view.  As I said at the end of last week’s game the final score can be a little misleading and this was reinforced today by Steve Cartwright the ref who said to me on the final whistle “you almost did it”.  We had been 3-0 down at half time got back to 3-2 with half the second half to go and looked capable of retrieving the result in an exciting finale.  What Steve also said was that “equally mind you they could have been six or seven up by half time!”: right again: that is a fair reflection of this game.

We came into the match confident but already with a small squad slightly short and it’s not about how many you have or you have missing but rather about how those missing players impact on the shape of the team.  We were without Ben Smith today, our engine in midfield and Hayden the player who would naturally have replaced him and Billy also had a knock and lasted only till half time.  This is not an excuse it’s just the way it goes.  We knew we were a little light in the middle and principally this meant us lacking control in the game and protecting our back line on a day they were not at their best.  However, that said  Shola once again was a candidate for man of the match he was outstanding!

Rather in reverse of last week City Church caught us cold and we had a warning within the first 5 minutes:  sadly as the poet Steve Turner says “History repeats itself: it has to: no one listens “!  Having let their leftwinger in on goal thwarted by a brilliant save from Jamie, 5 minutes later we did it again and this time he made no mistake.  No wonder then but when this happened a third time and we went two down, those of the side were pulling out their hair (all those who had hair) We just weren’t at the races in the first 20 minutes : they had more chances and Jamie made more saves.  Then when we got back in the game (I think everybody forward played well today) we conceded what turned out to be the vital/frightful third.  Jamie will blame himself for spilling the ball but it was once again poor defending that allowed the chance to be created and anyway Jamie blocked the shot that resulted from his slip only for their number 10 (who I thought was their best player and with whom we enjoyed considerable banter from the side) to absolutely smash in the deciding goal.  When Ben Fowler pull the good save from their keeper, in fact a very good save, I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be our day but with the slope to come…

With last season’s top scorer Josh returning after being missing last week on the bench and the skilful Matty Suff we were at least going to make a fist of it.  Down the slope we changed the formation and went all out.  Initially there was little change and City had chances before we did but once we got into motion the game was very much even and we very much had momentum.  Josh is always a handful and he was ably supported by Jackie who was really on his game today, Jay, who continued the good work of last week and Ben Fowler who when he dropped slightly deeper was even more effective: all of this driven by Shola from midfield.  Matty Suff also added class and quality.  And the goals came.  Good break Jack got it wide cut it into the box and Josh realising the best he could manage was a shot at the keeper brilliantly dummied and Jay gloriously ghosted in exactly where their player had done in the first half to crash home the first goal.

We were immediately at them again.  On this occasion the ball broke from midfield Josh forged in on goal seemed sure to have a go himself but instead clipped a perfect pass into Jack’s path and Jack drove it in.  Not only did we think we could get a draw at that point we thought that we might even nick it. I say nick it because this does not cancel out the fact that as Steve said we might have got in at half time five or six down.  I think City defended really well in the latter part of the game.  Yes it was a packed defence but it was brave purposeful defending: lots of blocks.  When Josh finally had a chance he cracked a great shot and their keeper made a terrific save.

 City though continued to be dangerous on the break: they have pacy players wide and the game worked itself to a pretty thrilling conclusion, sadly marred by a pretty shocking looking injury and concussion to our centre back Kev O’Reilly (in fair competition for a high ball: there was not even a foul involved.  He was taken directly afterwards to A&E and he’s doing well though with a face full of stitches  (thanks for the concern from the City lads, much appreciated!)  This was with six minutes to go.  Mark went on and we continued to press but as often happens if you don’t get the equaliser the opposition break as they did in pretty much the last minute and scored a fourth to settle their nerves and bring the game to a disappointing conclusion for us but a victory I think on balance City church deserved.  This is in a great tradition: some years ago we shared two 7-5 games (they beat us 7-5 and we beat them 7-5) and this was that kind of open game: there could have been more goals.  All the best to Martin and his boys: we go again next week.

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