UWMCCFC v Belgian Red Devils, 23/01/2022

MATCH REPORT: UWMCCFC 4 – 0 Belgian Red Devils

Another Saturday, another Bennett piss, another 3 points.

A relatively early kick off, but the day had already started with a loss for some, with Ben Ralli finishing 316th out of 316 participants in the Leamington Park Run. A few questions were being asked about the selection, specifically the fact that Henry Wilson found himself on the bench. All I could say is that the day before, Henry told me that he didn’t think my goal last week was a screamer, so I gave him some time on the sidelines to think about what he’d done.

The less said about the first 15-20 minutes, the better. Straight from kick off we gave the ball away and one of the Belgians struck the ball on the half volley from about 30 yards, sending it spiralling just wide of the post. For the rest of this period we struggled to keep the ball in the midfield, seeming to lose control every time. Luckily our 7 at the back did a good job of absorbing the pressure, combined with some Brexit-esque challenges from Ben, allowing us to mount a few attacks.

One of these attacks led to us winning a free kick in a dangerous area on the edge of the box. Ben walked over in an attempt to claim it, but having seen his attempt last week, I decided it was my turn. Cal the dragon was back again this week, and tried to convince me to let him take it. I had to explain to him that there was an actual human in goal, and not a garden hose or a raspberry, and he muttered “me own fookin captain” and stormed off. I stood over the free kick, already thinking of how I was gonna celebrate after the ball sailed into the top corner. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t get off the ground.

BRD continued to put the pressure on, hitting us on the counter numerous times. One of these times saw their attacker 1on1 with Harry Rogers, who came out well and made himself big, before Ed Churchill tracked back and made a great last ditch challenge to keep the scores level.

Not long after this, we were back down the other end, and a ball was floated into myself at the back post. With all the time in the world to think about it, I hit the ball on the volley and blazed it over the bar. I was so disappointed that I instantly subbed myself off, and Henry Wilson made his way onto the pitch.Henry’s instant impact was imminent, as we seemed to begin to play much better than we had been previously. Henry was making the right runs, as well as coming short to collect the ball and distribute it. All in all, he was highlighting just how bad I am at football, as I was doing none of this. Bench for him next week then.Henry’s impact then took effect on the scoreline, as Cooper Smith played a ball into just him inside the box, and Henry struck it with the outside of his boot with so much power that the keeper had no chance of holding on, and the ball made its way through his gloves and into the back of net.

Cooper assist, Henry goal? Shock. Another one one of my changes leading to a goal? Shock.

Tactical masterclass aside, there was also an ongoing refereeing masterclass. Equipped with a coat on backwards and a phone in my hand that I couldn’t even unlock to see the timer, I decided that I didn’t fancy leaving the centre circle or giving any fouls, allowing the game to flow. This worked in our favour as there was a challenge that could have arguably been given as a foul, but instead the ball found its way out to Angus Forrest on the right hand side. Angus whipped a ball in in the direction of the goalkeeper, but the goalkeeper failed to deal with it and it was pounced on by who else but Henry Wilson, who had an easy tap in to double his tally for the game.

Not a lot happened for the rest of the half, apart from a few missed chances from Sam Barlow, which approximately 0 people were surprised at, seeing as Sam has a conversion rate in front of goal similar to his conversion rate in POP!2-0 up at the break despite a very slow start, owing to a quick brace from Henry. We were hoping for a much better performance in the second half, in order to build on the lead and improve our already impressive goal difference.We came out of the blocks early in the second half, with some nice work on the left hand side from Henry Wilson to beat his man. Henry then played the ball into Sam Barlow who took a very nice touch to turn past the defender, but unfortunately his shot was blocked and deflected out for a corner.

From the corner, Henry Wilson whipped in a lovely ball towards the back post, and some nice movement from Josh Bennett allowed him to lose his man and have a free header. No prizes for guessing where Josh’s header ended up, as it went sailing past the post yet again. The second half consisted of some questionable decisions from the Belgian referee, including a couple soft free kicks, and Ed Churchill getting penalised for a very soft handball. On top of this, in the words of super fan Leo Prest, the referee had a “heinous trim” that “it should be illegal to have”. Despite the referee’s antics, we were still on top of the game. Cooper Smith started to play much like his usual self, winning the ball in the midfield and bulldozing forward. The defence clearly couldn’t deal with this, and Cooper decided to take it one step too far.

Cooper picked up the ball in our half, and with Henry and Sam both out quite wide, he only had one option down the middle. Cooper began driving forward, skipping past two players in the middle of the park, and using some lovely footwork to beat three more hopeless Belgians, before slotting the ball past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.What a goal. Far and away our second best goal of the season, it’s really gonna take something special (and a few VKs) to take the top spot.

The Belgian heads had dropped at this point, and we really began to dominate. Cooper, Sam and Henry showed some very nice link up play, but we couldn’t find that final ball. Sam then decided to take matters into his own hand, and after finding himself with the ball on the right hand side, he drove into the box skipping past two or three players. Unfortunately, Sam bottled yet another chance, and I began to warm up, preparing to bring myself on for him.Right before I was about to sub Sam off, Cooper burst down the right hand side and played the ball inside straight into the feet of Sam, who had very little to do as he tapped the ball into the net. As if he knew he was about to be hooked, he had just bought himself some more time on the pitch.

Not a lot happened for the next 5 or so minutes, and I decided that Sam’s time was up. I made my way back onto the pitch in an attempt to join in with the fun. Unfortunately for me, there wasn’t much more fun to be had, as both teams did well to absorb any pressure put on them, and neither team could create something.

The game finished at 4-0, a great result for us considering our slow start to the game. Other results on the day went our way, with PPE losing 4-3, leaving us top of the league heading into the business end of the season. We play Fitcheat United next week at 5:15pm, a team 1 point behind us in the league, and as always any support is welcome.

See you next week, Tom x

(Wearer of pints, PPL common room enthusiast, Dallmeyer loves 3 points)

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