Sunday 12 October 2014

MATCH REPORT BY RORY WHITE

The Sharks’ tough luck in the cup continued when we were drawn against Wandgas Youth, a team two divisions above us, and currently unbeaten in their league. But despite the final scoreline, this was a much more difficult match for Wandgas than they might have expected.

It was Elliott’s turn to start in goal for the Sharks and he soon showed safe hands, as he had done in the warm up, helping us to repel early Wandgas attacks. Sharks were showing lots of energy, snapping into tackles and giving the opposition no time on the ball. It was evenly matched and there was no sign of a two division gap between the teams. Wandgas had more possession but a combination of alert goal-keeping, strong defensive work from the Sharks back-line and good tracking back by the Sharks attack was forcing Wandgas to rush their shots and passes.

On the rare occasions when Wandgas found some space, great defensive work kept them at bay. We were grateful to Joel for a brilliant saving tackle when Wandgas created the first clear opening of the match. Their striker made space in the area and was about to fire the ball towards Elliott’s goal when Joel slid in expertly to turn the ball out for a corner. Another attack followed and after Elliott made a fantastic save, the powerful follow-up volley was headed off the line by myself. Utterly magnificent.

As the half wore on Sharks started to show more attacking threat. After a brilliant high-speed counter-attack, Gabby received the ball on the edge of the box and smashed it past the Wandgas goalie into the net. With the score one-nil to Sharks, it wasn’t long before Joe weaved through the opposition and placed a composed and accurate shot low into the corner. The half-time whistle blew with the score two-nil to Sharks after an excellent showing.

But it wasn’t all good news for Sharks, as we had picked up two injuries and lost two vital players in Martin and Phin – who was due to go in goal for the second half. As he was now injured, we needed a keeper. Joe showed real team spirit when he volunteered to go in goal for the second week in a row.

We expected Wandgas to react quickly to the scoreline… and they did. Unfortunately Sharks were unable to keep them at bay and conceded two goals early in the half, both from headers – the second after they reacted quicker to an excellent save from Joe, who clawed the ball out when it was looping high into the net. Wandgas were now in a run of form, and the Sharks were struggling to keep up the high tempo they had maintained in the first half.

As the game wore on, Wandgas found more time around the Sharks penalty area and took the chances they created. Sharks kept playing our attacking football and causing them problems at the other end, but we couldn’t reproduce the fine finishing of the first half and add to our goal tally. Unfortunately, the game ended six-two to Wandgas.