Team sheet: Kraus, J-$, Marcus, Hall, Nish, Hobbs, Platt, Jacob, Bexson, Clayden, Livesey. Subs; Chattle, Sam Walton, Rashid Raiyan
The UWMCCFC returned to the Warwick Active Saturday League buoyant and hopeful of a renaissance under Splatini’s regime. To that end, and much to the distaste of a couple of the more senior clubmen (Hall), Platt broke with tradition and enforced a warm-up. Nevertheless, despite the compulsory exercise, poor weather conditions and prospect of playing 60 minutes of football on the worst pitch of all time (Astro 1), the UWMCCFC were more than up for it.
The game started at a fairly high tempo, given the conditions, and the UWMCCFC defence had to soak up a lot of pressure, a theme which would continue throughout the match. J-$ and Nish got through a lot of work tracking runs at full-back and the new centre back pairing of Hall and Marcus kept the Maths & Stats strikers quiet for most of the early exchanges. Up front Livesey and Clayden tried to out-do each other with respect to the number of kilometres racked up over the 60 minutes. Whilst at the same time Bexson, Platt, Jacob and Clobber tried their utmost to win back possession at every available opportunity. It was a performance reminiscent of Arsenal’s against Bayern Munich earlier in the week, except for the obvious lack of Alexis Sanchez. However, after about 20 minutes of defending, Clobber managed to win the ball back on the halfway line and release Livesey with a lovely through-ball. Livesey looked set to miss the opportunity as he burst past the defender and left himself a tough angle to shoot from, but he managed to expertly slide it past the keeper and into the bottom left corner to put the UWMCCFC 1-0 up. A well known football adage states that having scored a goal, you are then more likely to concede. But as we all know, the UWMCCFC don’t play football like any other team; Platt snuck back possession and released Livesey on the wing, who found Clayden with a first time cross and at this point there was only one thing on the cards. Clayds received the ball and proceeded to take roughly eight minutes to bring it under control then calmly lift it over the keeper and into the back of the net to leave the UWMCCFC 2-0 up at half time.
In the second half Chattle, Sam Walton and Rashid Raiyan came on to replace Nish, Jacob and Clobber. The match continued very much in the same vein as the first half, with the UWMCCFC chasing a lot of shadows and trying to keep their concentration in defence. Kraus was called upon to make a few fine saves, one of which he somehow managed to get his presidential fingertips to in order to tip onto the post. Then, from a corner, captain fantastic Splatt decided to duck out of the way of the ball leaving the Maths & Stats player a free shot from five yards out, which he rifled home through the legs of the man on the goal line. Many of the UWMCCFC players looked despondent after conceding, as the thought of another twenty minutes of having our backs to the wall looked unappealing at best. However, unlike the UWMCCFC, Maths & Stats do play football like any other team and when Rashid did well to win a free-kick on the right hand side of the pitch, an upset was once again on the cards. Platt whipped a free-kick into the box which left the keeper no other choice than to punch under pressure from the man mountain himself, Marcus. The ball fell to Bexson, who was loitering on the edge of the box (apparently under the direction of vice-captain Hall), he took it down nicely then rifled it into the bottom left corner of the goal to give the UWMCCFC their two goal cushion back. Cue celebrations and just that little bit more energy back in the UWMCCFC defender’s legs. This energy proved crucial as the heavens opened and everyone worked hard to see out the fifteen or so minutes left of the game. Despite the rain and one of the Maths & Stats players controversially being shot by the American Sniper in the box to win a penalty (which to the player’s credit he did then refuse out of embarrassment), the UWMCCFC found themselves 3-1 winners at the final whistle.
Overall it was a fantastic team performance where every player played their part. We look forward to next week where the UWMCCFC will finally return to Tarkett in order to take on Physics FC.
Goals: Livesey, Clayden, Bexson