The first game of the New Year gave UWMCCFC the opportunity to be able to defend their cup title with a must win game against Benteke Fried Chicken. The team rocked up a couple of minutes before kick-off looking confident and in high spirits. To wipe away the cobwebs that settled in during the winter break, a rigorous warm ensued of booting the ball very hard at our keeper, Seb (not cheeky, the other one). Despite the captain’s New Year resolution including a more serious approach to Saturday football, the boys were very happy with our more relaxed pre-game preparations.
The warm-up seemed to work a treat as a couple of minutes in Mihir found himself through on goal after the Benteke defence did its best to recreate the infamous slip, allowing him to calmly slot the ball home for 1-0. A rather tidy finish from the keeper-come-striker. We almost had another when a teasing corner was met by the head of Marcus, only to be denied by the keeper tipping the ball onto the bar. However, from then on we sat back a bit more (saving ourselves for Rooty’s ridiculous circuit training) and the opposition began to play. The midfield and defence held firm for the most part but for a couple of sliced attempts hitting the crossbar and a one-on-one save there was little cause for concern at half time.
A change of formation at the break to a more continental 4-5-1 added a lot more solidity to the team. Although we conceded the majority of possession early in the second half, Benteke never really troubled us. Despite being camped in our own half, our first foray into enemy territory of the second period led to our skipper expertly slipping in Mihir down the right hand channel to delightfully clip us 2-0 up.
The two goal cushion put us in complete control of the game’s flow and tempo, much to the vocal dismay of the opposition’s more mercurial, French contingent adding to the noise created by Jewson trying his hardest to piss off the ref. Ryan and Ballo began to contain the midfield and Jonny and Dan Lewis kept quiet their striker with some no nonsense defending. They never really troubled our goal other than a looping header that had to be smartly tipped round the post.
As we coasted through the game to a well-earned win, Mihir had the chance to complete his hatrick. However, where earlier he showed composure and precision, our new striker couldn’t tiptoe his way round the keeper to seal the win and the chance went begging. In the dying minutes Marcus, who had another physically dominant performance, conceded a free kick just outside the box. We constructed a wall of our biggest and bravest but as the free-kick was floated over, the effort of a jump was clearly beyond them, such were the post-Christmas fitness levels. Seb in goal didn’t cover himself in glory either by spilling the rather tame attempt and gifting a conciliation goal. The UWMCC boys taking a leaf our Social Sec’s book and making sure that the sheets weren’t left clean by the end of the night.
The game finished 2-1 and a solid defensive performance with some clinical finishing sees UWMCCFC get a winning start to 2017 but unfortunately other fixtures went against us and we end up in the plate competition.