UWMCCFC vs Compton FC
1. Robert Kraus Matt Grottick
2. Jack Jewson Jake Sittampalam
3. Jonny Hall Oliver Hudson
4. Robert Povey Adeel Haque (c)
5. Dom Wood David Barclay
6. Hasnain Khawaja Jonathan Bradshaw
7. Liam David Abokina Wilson-Jones
8. Cameron Beauclerk Clement Chenut
9. Sam Platt (c) Oliver Bowen
10. Connor Hobbs Matt Burden
11. Joe Livesey Antony Gopal
Subs: Ed Cooper Subs: Amar Patel
Manchester United vs Manchester City. Liverpool vs Everton. Arsenal vs Tottenham. UWMCCFC vs Compton FC. Derbies don’t come much bigger or better than this. Managers fighting over players, players fighting over rogue bulletin board posts, the list goes on. This was by far the biggest match Tarkett had ever seen, and we surely were not disappointed.
With England pushing New Zealand to a close finish, nine of the day’s footballers had no choice to stay in Bar Fusion until ten minutes before kickoff, so by the time we arrived at the Tarkett Arena the colour-clash dispute had already been resolved – UWMCCFC, as the late team, had to wear bibs. Could that be the first of many small victories for Compton? Unlikely. Opposition skipper Haque put on a rather menacing voice as he warned traitor Hobbs ‘You’d better not score for them, dickwad’, and we were underway.
Compton FC kicked off and were immediately greeted by severe pressure, with the non-stop running from Joe Livesey and Liam David keeping it very hard for them to get the ball out of their own half. Even Jonny ‘Pirlo’ Bradshaw struggled to find those desperately needed key passes, and play after play ended in a wasted UWMCCFC attack. As expected, the first ten minutes were all Cricket’s, with Compton wing-backs Barclay and Sittampalam unable to handle the pace of David or the French flair of Beauclerk. Keeper Grottick found himself with a couple of easy saves to make, but UWMCCFC found it hard to really trouble him.
On the occasion that Compton did schneak into our half, danger men Bowen and Chenut found themselves snuffed out by superior organisation at the back, unable to go on the long runs they so craved. Unsupported, their forwards had little provided to them, and also found themselves tracking back defensively far too often due to some disorganisation at the back. It was this disorganisation that ultimately earned Cricket the opening goal of the game, with Bradshaw, Haque and Hudson all going in for the same challenge on Livesey, seeing the ball run loose just outside the 18-yard box. With unorthodox technique, Hobbs slid past the challenge of Barclay and all in the same movement managed to schlott the ball home with his left foot, an inch-perfect shot that scraped the inside of the far post on the way past the sprawling Grottick.
Not content with the lead they already had, UWMCC continued with attack after attack, and were unfortunate not to score before the break, especially as the ref blew the half-time whistle just as skipper Platt took the ball to the edge of the Compton penalty area. During the break, sub Ed Cooper was told that he should be coming on soon enough if we still looked comfortable, and Jack Jewson announced that he’d be glad to swap out, as he had a prior engagement that he wasn’t particularly keen to tell us more about.
The second half was much more of a two-sided game, with Compton finally stringing some passes together and Bowen and Burden providing plenty of chances via the left and right flanks. One particular incident saw Bowen break free on the right, only to find himself on the receiving end of what can only be described as a horror challenge from Jewson. Two footed, off the ground, from behind and making no attempt to get the ball, Jewson carved down the winger only to run away from the ref afterwards in order to avoid getting booked. The ref (being actually pretty good this week) was having none of it, and produced the first yellow card of the season for the UWMCC, and upon asking Jewson his name, was greeted with the response of ‘Really?’.
Cricket maintained their attacking threat, however, with several through balls just missing their front men and a couple of free kicks from the edge of the box. Livesey, Platt and Hobbs all beat the keeper only to see the ball either whistle past the post or over the bar. Compton keeper Grottick got caught out for handball, providing Liam David with an opportunity to put the ball into the box and himself an opportunity to lay into the ref, complete with more abuse than Saville and more swearing than your average Inbetweeners episode. Alas, as the second half continued, we were unable to make another breakthrough and had to settle with parking the bus to hold out for 1-0.
Despite the obvious substitution of Cooper → Jewson available to him, skipper Platt decided to instead take off the other full back Dom Wood, and it was clear from the word go that our 3XI captain was a defensive maestro. Giving Povey a lesson in how to clear the ball, Choper’s firm headers and accurate clearances made it difficult for Compton to build any lasting pressure, resulting in substitute Patel having to try from range on more than one occasion, each as unsuccessful as the last.
In the end, despite a couple of scary moments, Kraus had very little to do in goal and the 1-0 scoreline lasted until the final whistle blew, which came as a great relief to the whole team, as to be quite honest it was a very boring game of football. Not quite the massive game everybody had been building up to, but nevertheless another emphatic victory for the UWMCC.