Living Hope Church United 4 vs 1 Excel Church
Thanks to Stephen Farley for this report.
I would like to dedicate this match report to one of our players Dylan Carter who is seriously ill in QE hospital after a terrible Road Traffic Accident. (edit: Steve has asked that our big footballing family to say prayers for healing and a speedy recovery).
The lads left the changing rooms saying ‘let’s do it for Dylan’ and the game was all over after 20 minutes as we put 4 goals away in rapid fire succession scored by Jason Marshall, Callum Oakshott (pen) , Shane Parker and Ashley Turner.
There’s nothing more to add really except for saying that when the late great Bill Shankly said football was more serious than the matter of life and death he was sadly very wide of the mark.
Get well soon mate we need you.
Monyhull Church 0 vs 3 Rowley College
Thanks to Pete for this report.
On a day of ‘interesting results’ we concluded our three game series against Monyhull which started badly for us with a 0-4 reverse at home and ended today with a second deserved victory in three weeks. This also marked three wins in a row for us for the first time since the opening of the 2016-17 season when we won four out of five out of the blocks (and 13 points) and Ben Fowler scored 11 goals including three hat tricks. Oh how we’ve missed Ben (any team would) who has spent a year and a half in the Antipodes but was back today (sadly on a visit home, not for this season)to appear as a second half sub. He came back to see us starting to put our season back together after an indifferent start. So much at this level depends on fielding something like your best team and this is not straightforward. Monyhull were short of their best player today while we played for the third time this season without our very capable goalkeeper: they lost 3-0 and we won (in fact we’ve won all three but do we need Lee fit? Yes, we do). What we’re getting is a team spirit across a squad of players.
Monyhull have this and all the right attitudes: they are on a journey and getting better as their team grows up together. They always try to play football and have both skill and determination. While I think we were the better team today, this wasn’t over until we scored our third with just over ten left. We started up the slope at a muddy Rowheath and were involved in a very even first half: both sides fighting the conditions and largely just failing to create clear cut chances. Clive, Hayden and man-of-the-match Ben Smith were all doing their utmost to make the ball work in a muddy middle so it was left to our wide players Matt and Jack to provide the threat in conjunction with Josh who battled all day to get others involved. Jack is a special player: he has time and touch and he had his most productive game for us today, adding intensity and pace to his usual flair. On the other side Matty Suffield was using every opportunity to join up with Josh and it was a combination of Josh (hold up and lay off), Ben Smith (threaded ball) and Matty (run on and toe-poked finish) who got us the vital first goal. Mark, who wasn’t well enough to play today was delighted at half time with our confidence and composure. He warned against complacency down the slope, but as we all know complacency is like a dog which comes when called!
We spent the first fifteen minutes of the second half playing as if we were 2-0 up rather than making sure we got the second. It appeared like our game plan for being 1-0 up in a close game was to make the game open and end to end and Monyhull were up for that. This was a very well earned clean sheet and our defender were excellent today, marshalled by Matt in goal, Chris, Kev and Joe gave everything and Matt Stanton had one of his best games in a Rowley shirt, both with the ball and without it. We created and spurned chances with Matty shooting on sight but only giving their keeper relatively straightforward stuff. Clive and Ben were driving from midfield and Jack was everywhere and never hurried. Monyhull had their fair share too and brave defending and last ditch tackles kept our goal intact.
Cue Ben Fowler. Having scored on his last appearance for us in April 2017, it was almost inevitable that he would repeat the feat and ten minutes into his return he was slipped in by Josh and, one on one, gave the keeper the eyes and scored a vital goal. This did not make it safe though and Monyhull came again but the extra goal allowed us to play on the break with Ken coming on for a well-deserved cameo performance and exchanging passes with Fowler who played in Jack for a deft dink over the keeper which rounded off a terrific day for him.
All the best to Monyhull who are a credit to this league and to Brian Linguard who reffed with subtlety, always seeking to let the game flow (I think it’s called ‘old school’)