City Church 2 Clarendon 1
Many thanks to Martin Ogbourn from City Church for this match report.
Today City Church played their first match for a month and it ended in a fully deserved three points after another hard-fought battle with Clarendon at Row Heath. The expected heavy frost didn’t materialise to allow the game to go ahead in still conditions.
The match started with Clarendon on the front door foot as City couldn’t retain possession or clear their lines. Clarendon took the lead after sustained pressure through a decent run and finish.
However, this seemed to wake City up with improved intensity, passing, and attacking play. Several chances were created such as a Haynes half volley which stung Obi’s hands (in the Clarendon goal), a decent Atkins shot saved and the woodwork was also struck. This was before Atkins superbly chipped Obi before half time, minutes after Obi was booked for handling the ball outside of the area as the ball went narrowly wide from a break.
City ended the half on top and could have doubled their scoring. Clarendon continued to look dangerous with their forwards and midfield interplay. Chattaway had to be at his sharpest in goal as well. At half time it was 1-1 and the game remained in the balance.
Clarendon started the second half strongly in a see-saw battle and they hit the bar and Chattaway pulled off a great one handed save. There was some last ditch City defending and blocks which were part of an excellent defensive display.
However, City weathered the early storm again and with substitutions and fresh legs the City attacking threat increased with good opportunities and moves. The winner came from a lovely finish by Bradley Walsh who slotted past Obi with about 15 minutes left. City finished strongly and were able to see the game out without any major alarms for the 2-1 win.
Overall it was a really good battle between the sides, and team performance by City. Andy Thomas and Sheppard were immense at the back, and Green and Hunter in front of them vied for man of the match award. In the attacking third both teams carried a threat and there were three good goals.
Life Central 6 vs 1 Rowley College
Match Report from Pete Bennett, Rowley.
Happy New Year to all in the WMCFL! This was not the start I’d planned. We were a little short and the cold snap couldn’t save us but we pitched up in Kiddy with a decent enough eleven (and Mark as an emergency sub only) only to find the League Champions in excellent form. I think we played mostly well with lots of positive individual performances but even full strength we would have had a game on. As it turned out we were short at the back most significantly with Matty Williams continuing in goal and Ken having to fill in as a makeshift full back. Lee Roberts, our stalwart keeper has sadly had to call it a day after 217 games in the Rowley goal: I dedicate this to him with all the best for the future. We were also missing Clive, Joe, Jack and South but I can’t grumble about what was done in midfield and forward (Josh, Matt, Fin, Ben, Nick and Hayden were all terrific today) or for the endeavour of our defenders.
The problem today was Life Central who just looked a really good side and played three up for the whole game and became more dangerous the more we took the game to them. Shawn remains a very good player and Leon is still the best player in the league but I was impressed with the whole team today: I thought they all played well and would pick out the right back and the number 5 who was everywhere. They also played aggressively which is the way we like to play and this was a real physical contest played in the best spirit. We knew the first goal would be vital because it was already obvious that they were at their most dangerous when we were attacking them. We looked capable of getting it (as they did) in the first 35 minutes of ebb and flow. We had defended really well with Kev and Chris right at it but once they scored we had a wobble and they were 2-0 up by half time.
We re-organised at half time, had the talk about ‘next goal’ and then conceded it within a minute of the restart. Game over? By no means in terms of endeavour but we played into their hands ironically by having much of the play and putting them under considerable pressure: Josh, Hayden, Ben and Nick all went close (Matty Stanton missed a sitter). Meanwhile they broke in numbers and before we knew it we were six down (five 1 on 1s!) despite Matt’s best efforts. South was forced reluctantly on by an injury and managed the goal we clearly deserved just before time. My natural response to our players who had played well was ‘that was never a 6-1’ but that it not to say there was anything lucky about their victory but rather that this was a closer game than you might think decided by ruthless finishing and great quality from Life Central. They showed the standards to which we must aspire