Sunday September 13 2015

Final score 3-3

Match report written by Phin

The sun arose on a mild autumn morning. As the Twickenham Sharks arrived at the ground, one could sense an air of excitement, as thousands of loyal parents gathered to witness the first performance of the season.  The resting rota went out the window, as the Sharks saw injuries to Luca, Ale and Phin, who were replaced at the last minute by Joel, Ben and Josh.

As the match began, it was clear the game to follow was to be very close indeed.  For the first 35 minutes precious few chances were created by either side, with the Sharks looking dangerous on the break and very solid at the back, where Josh and Vincent were battling brilliantly in front of a strong defence consisting of Jayden, Joel, Martin, Rory and Charlie B, until a well timed inter-play between Josh and Vincent led to the latter’s pass going between defenders to Francis, who capitalised on the hesitation of the defenders to slip the ball calmly into the bottom corner. The crowd went mental. The rest of the half continued without incident, and the Sharks went into the break 1-0 up.

The cages were lifted for the second half and it was blatantly obvious to all spectating that Barnes Eagles were up for it now. Soon after the restart, Phin was sent briefly onto the pitch into the centre-midfield position. The next attack lead to an appealing move involving everyone on the pitch and culminating in a through ball from Phin into Vincent.  Vincent calmly took control of the pass and slipped it past the keeper.  2-0, or so we thought.  Little did we know that the opposition linesman had flagged for offside – a very tight decision that caused some considerable discussion amongst the Sharks players and supporters.

Immediately afterwards there was a lethal counter-attack from Barnes. Their number 23, a skilful and powerful midfielder, managed to find a space in the midfield and hit a long-shot of extra-terrestrial proportions towards Jayden.  Despite his best efforts, Jayden – who had already made a series of stunning saves – could only watch in awe as the ball took a vicious swerve into the top-right-hand corner. 1-1 , when it could so easily have been 2-0.

Almost as soon as the Sharks kicked off, they lost possession and 1-1 became 1-2.  With time running out, Rory gamely playing on despite a sore back, and tiredness creeping into many limbs the Eagles would go on to score again with a similar goal from their number 9. But the Sharks have a steely determination these days and refused to give up.

Out of nowhere 5 minutes later, Joe picked up the ball just outside the opposition box.  He ran around three defenders with dazzling skill, and fired the ball past the awestruck keeper. 2-3.  Joe enjoyed a string of unlucky chances, including a shot which seemed to go in off the bar but was controversially disallowed, and an unfortunate miss from 4 yards out from a Francis Cope cross.  It clearly bounced off the tectonic plate boundary that was their penalty area.

Late into the game however, fate took hold of the match by the scruff of its neck, shining down to award us a free-kick.  There was speculation over the choice of the taker, but Martin stepped up as the captain for the day .Time seemed to slow down as boot met ball, and the whole universe watched frozen, as it curved tanatlisingly into the bottom corner for a well-deserved equaliser.  A sumptious point earned there, 3-3.  The Sharks saw out the rest of the match and took a draw, not a fair reflection of the game by any means, but better than the loss that had seemed on the cards a few minutes earlier.  Martin’s goal topped off his magnificent performance from centre-midfield, and a magnificent performance from everyone, especially Jayden.