MATCH REPORT: UWMCCFC 3-2 MSFC
One of our best performances of the season, as well as a couple BUCS 1s players, saw us get a great result against one of the toughest teams we’ve played all season, and keep our playoff hopes alive.
Having looked at the availability for this game, and seeing the strength that we had, I decided that by playing myself I would be disadvantaging the team. Therefore, I rocked up to Tarkett on a chilly Saturday morning in a full suit and my club tie, ready to drop a tactical masterclass.
Despite being the first game of the day, the start was a little delayed. A combination of players turning up late, and no one actually bringing a football caused the game to start 20 mins late, and really threw a spanner in the works of our warm up as we had no ball to smash at the goal repeatedly.
Once the game had finally started, it was fairly even, with both sides having a fair share of the ball. One thing that was clear however, is who was a BUCS footballer, and who wasn’t. Debutant Nicolas Dickmann-Pena was already having a clear impact up front, and showed us what we’d been missing all season, with someone finally able to run rings around opposition defences and cause them problems. The opposition also had a BUCS 1st team player up front, who was seeing a lot of the ball early on. Luckily, our wall of Joshua Bennett, Ed Churchill and Ollie Terrell did well to contain him and sniff out any danger.
Not long into the match, we had a throw-in on the far side of the pitch. Cooper Smith picked up the ball to launch it in, only to discover that it had gone flat. The referee attempted to pump the ball up, and as he did so he realised that it had punctured. You may recall me saying earlier that we hadn’t brought a ball, well it turned out that the opposition had only brought one. Therefore, we now found ourselves attempting to play a football match, without a football.
After about 5-10 minutes of discussion, we decided that the best course of action was for ex-star striker Archie Bates to drive superfan Kam Sidhu back to Cryfield to grab a ball. This took them 12 minutes, with Kam allegedly sprinting from the car, to his flat, up the stairs, and all the way back. Archie said that on the way back to Westwood, Kam was silent while trying to regain his breath, and all he could manage to say was one word: “Stairs”. By the time they got back, it was now about 11:50, and we were about 10 minutes into the game. With the next game scheduled to start at 12:15, I started to feel sorry for the teams playing after us, but I felt even more sorry for the team with the 6:30pm kick off, as something told me they weren’t even going to get a game in.
Despite this prolonged break, we jumped straight back into things, resuming from Cooper’s throw-in. Cooper launched this into the box, into the path of Nico, who was pushed in the back when attempting to control it, but the referee (who was a member of the opposition) didn’t see anything wrong with the challenge and gave a goal kick.
After the restart we began to see a lot of the ball, with Ben Ralli doing well to win the ball back, and Eric Rowley and Cooper doing well to keep it and move it around. An unreal ball over the top from Ollie Terrell into the path of Nico saw him 1on1 with the goalkeeper, who did very well to make the save, and MSFC did well to clear their lines.
I turned around to look at my subs bench, and saw hopeful-debutant Elliott Lackey attempting to sink a can of cider. Of course, I had to confiscate it, and I began to make my way through it myself.Back to the football now, and yet another long ball was played over the top to Nico, this time by Harry Rogers. Nico did well to control it and get his shot away, but he couldn’t quite get it the right side of the crossbar.
At this rate Nico was on track for a Sam Barlow-esque game, missing chance after chance. Luckily, Ed Churchill played a ball down the line towards Henry Wilson, the defender came towards Henry, who managed to flick it over him and into the path of Nico. Nico then headed it over the one remaining defender, into his own path, and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to make the score 1-0.
This goal appeared to act as a sort of wake up call for MSFC, as they began to throw themselves forward at us. We did well to absorb the pressure, with Harry Rogers making a brilliant save from close distance. Unfortunately however, we couldn’t clear our lines, and the ball fell to the MSFC midfield on the edge of the box, who lifted the ball over Harry and into the top of the net to level the scores.
We knew that they didn’t really deserve this, as we’d had many more chances, and as such it was tough to take. But we didn’t let our heads drop, and not long after this Cooper played yet another ball over the top into Nico’s path. Nico was in acres of space, and I thought the game had 2-1 written all over it. Unfortunately, Nico channelled his inner Danesh Masani, and tripped over the air.Not long after this, the whistle was blown for half time and we headed into the half with the scores level at 1-1, knowing that we had been the better team and that we’d had the better chances. 3 changes at half time saw Elliot come on to make his debut, and having been told by some of the fresh that he can “actually kick ball”, I was hopeful.
Very early on in the half, the oppo centre back attempted to play the ball back to their keeper, but left the pass short. A fresh legged Sam Barlow pounced on this, and stuck the ball past the keeper into the back of the net with his first touch of the ball.
Sam sprinted off the pitch in celebration, kissing Kam Sidhu on the top of the head. For those that don’t know, Kam was so confident that Sam wasn’t going to score, that he said he would dye his hair ginger if he did. Kam didn’t look too happy, and started listing excuses, claiming that Sam was on PEDs, he claimed to have proof of this, but not sure I can write about that in this match report. Kam stayed true to his word, and rocked up to Skool Dayz looking like the penguin out of Surf’s Up 2.
This goal clearly gave us some momentum, and we continued our barrage of long balls over the top towards Nico, who did well to win a corner on the near side of the pitch. Angus Forrest, making his return after a few weeks away, whipped in a peach of a corner onto the head of Eric, who knocked it down into the path of Josh, but unfortunately he’s shit and couldn’t finish it.
Not too long after this, I turned around to have a chinwag with a couple of the old boys who had come to support, and as I did so I heard shouts of “OFFSIDE!”. I turned back around to see the ball in the back of our net, and the ‘referee’ on the halfway line. Harry Rogers was visibly fuming, so I knew something had gone wrong. Apparently, MSFC had flicked the ball over our back line to their striker, who was about 5 yards offside. Despite this, the goal was given. Classic IMS.
We decided to rectify the issue of offsides by sending myself and Akaash Baiju to run the line. It became apparent quite quickly that Akaash didn’t know the offside rule, so I ended up doing most of the work.
MSFC seemed to get a boost from this goal, as their left winger began to drive towards our goal. Elliot Lackey wasn’t having any of this, and hacked him to the ground just outside the box. An outstanding foul, and something that stopped me from subbing him off. They missed the resulting free kick, and they may well have scoured if they went through on goal.
The game appeared to have reached a stalemate, and I knew something had to be done. I went back over to the subs to explain the tactical changes I had in mind. I sent James Patient on for Ben Ralli, pushing Ollie into the midfield, and putting James at centre back in a back 4. I knew that if we drew, our playoff hopes were dead, and that a draw was therefore the same as a loss. Knowing this, I felt I had to throw that extra man forward to try and grab a goal back.With only a few minutes left in the game, Cooper Smith yet again had the ball in his hands. I instructed our players to load the box and get anything on the end of it. Cooper launched the ball into the box, into the feet of Nico, who flicked the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net making the score 3-2. Another tactical change leading to a goal? Shock.Straight after this goal we went back to our 5 at the back, which appeared to be more of a 9 at the back. Nonetheless, we held on. There were absolute limbs on the touchline as the fans continued to dream of playoff glory, and celebrations continued well into the early hours of the morning at Skool Dayz.
We potentially, but hopefully don’t, have our final game of the season this Saturday at 1:30pm. As always, any support is much appreciated and I hope to see many of you there.
Long live UWMCCFC
Tom x(GOAT manager, Waiting on Eitan’s Varsity match report, settling in at 1h1b tomorrow)