Westwood Park U11’s 2 –v- St Mary’s Bulldogs 2

26/04/2010 at 8:27 am | Posted in Match Reports, Under 11s | Leave a comment

Saturday 24th April 2010 at Home

With Paul away, it was Sandy’s turn to direct operations. After trying various routines in the warm up, he settled on the tried and tested 4-4-2. We welcomed Joe back to goal; Henry, Oli, Edward at the back under the positive encouragement and organisation of Rohan; Euan, Ben and Arun bringing width to the midfield, and Joseph in the engine room; Rees and Magnus provided the cutting edge up front. With the Bulldogs only fielding 10 players on a sunny day, the Westwood bench would prove to be vital to the outcome – David D, David T, Isiah and Ollie – and rolling subs were made through the game.

Other than an early shot by the Bulldogs into the side netting from near the corner flag, which Joe certainly looked to have covered (?!), the first 10 minutes were quiet and uneventful. It was another sleepy and sluggish Westwood start – Friday night curfews may soon be introduced by the coaching staff! The few attacking moves were snuffed out with well organised defences.

Rohan’s stern advice – ‘don’t just kick it about aimlessly’ was followed with a fantastic through ball and Joseph shooting just wide. This was the start of an eventful 10 minutes. A high bouncing ball in the middle of the pitch caused difficulties for the Westwood defence, a Bulldog head put their forward through on Joe and the result was a well taken goal low to Joe’s right. Not long after, the Westwood defence were slow to move up for a Westwood corner leaving space for the Bulldogs to control the cleared ball in midfield and another good through ball put their forward through on Joe once again for another well taken goal.

Heads could have dropped but Westwood knew that 2 goals would not be enough to put Bulldogs out of sight and Westwood came straight back to win a free kick on the left hand side of the area. The Westwood ‘big men’ … and Rees were sent into the area. Oli tried to pick them out with a curling cross which managed to avoid all attempts to get near it and found itself in the back of the net. The crowd went mad only to see yet another raised flag on the far side from the Bulldog’s linesman. Following consultation with the referee, the goal was disallowed as Rees was apparently able to interfere with the goalkeeper’s vision of the shot ?! For this St George’s day fixture it was fitting to be playing the Bulldogs with their fine English spirit and sense of fair play.

Would the coaches’ half-time team talk, focused on last week’s fantastic comeback, be enough to overcome the injustice being felt by the team? Westwood were back in the game almost from the kick off, with Joseph dribbling from the halfway line, the Bulldog linesman ridiculously flagging again for offside (rightly ignored by the referee on this occasion), Joseph found himself with just the goalkeeper to beat and calmly slotted the ball home.

Westwood had the better of the second half, with the 10 men Bulldogs struggling against our fresh legs. When Ben was put clear and rounded the goalkeeper the crowd dared to conjure up memories of last week’s comeback but David couldn’t quite get on the end of his cross-shot. The resultant goal kick went to Joseph who fired it straight back past a stranded goalkeeper only to see it hit the post and bounce out. Perhaps it was just not going to be Westwood’s day.

As we moved into the last minute with the Bulldogs on the attack, hope was fading. However, the defence held firm and picked up the ball which was moved quickly to halfway and then a through ball into space leaving Magnus to chase down the ball. The stranded Bulldog goalkeeper was only able to watch Magnus’ shot struggle over the line for what felt like a moral victory and well-earned draw.

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