It’s been a tough few weeks for Town Reserves. We have had some tough games and to be unbeaten in those games, sitting high in the league and with excitement brewing that this could be a successful year, a game against Mavs in the first round of the Medals Cup was always going to be our toughest test.
Mavs, also unbeaten, would be worried about the youthful play of the energetic Town side, and rightly so. With the best young players in the area at the club, these 16-19 year olds are growing and giving any senior team a run for their money.
Even with talismanic, star player Eddie away on international duty, the Town side had enough to cause an upset and take it to the orange men.
And what a wonderful start. Early good play down the right hand side had talented Danny “silver-back” Weatherill (really, he is still young but has the body hair of a 70 year wizard), square the ball to Matty who was making a late run from midfield (it wasn’t really late. He set of 3 minutes earlier but managed to catch up with play. He’s just slow!). Matty hit a terrific first-time cross toward the back post for Nathan, only Matty miss-kicked it and it flew into the side netting. The keeper left rooted to the spot in total bewilderment. He couldn’t quite believe it and no one else could either.
1-0 up after minutes and the game was on. Mavs struggled to break us down and we played really well without creating too much more. Mavs rarely troubled the Town defence, marshalled expertly by the formidable Sean. Seeing the first half out, an upset was on the cards. With what seemed to be 8 minutes of stoppage time in the first half, a humped ball forward from Mavs had the back-line on the hop. Roy from Mavs was clean through and played a delightful dink over the onrushing Walker. The ball though, hit the bar, and with the defence now caught up, the ball came down off the bar onto the line and we some how ran the ball into the net with little opportunity to adjust our position and clear. 1-1 at half-time and heads went down a little.
The second half was much the same, Mavs made some changes with Woody going into centre back and Bastow now playing a left wing-back role. This was probably a direct response to the torment Danny had created in the first half. What Mavs didn’t realise, that everyone on the Town side did, was that Danny only has 50-60 minutes in him so didn’t trouble at all in the second half. Just before his standard substitution, a corner was whipped in and Captain Amazing rose like a salmon, closed his eyes, the ball hit his forehead and it flew in. The 14 Town fans went wild. With only 20 minutes left, Town were 2-1 up the dream was insight.
With Danny off and Jack Lav on now, Richie Bastow hit a glorious shot from distance into top bins to make 2-2. Another ball forward and we didn’t clear our lines very well. The ball fell to the Mavs player whose shot flew past Mark who had no chance. The wind knocked from Town sails, the rest of the game was quite poor in terms of football with both teams really cancelling each other out. The most notable chance of a winner for the Town fell to Swanny around the 6-yard box, only for the journey-man striker to volley over when he had more time than he realised to pick his spot.
Extra-time came and it might have possibly gone to penners. It looked like Mavs were the more likely to get something in extra time, with the Town side not really finding any groove. A dodgy corner decision got Mavs in front. The corner came over and we failed to clear again. Mark made a smart save to his left from close range, and still not getting the ball clear, the Mavs forward stuck the ball over the line.
Not much changed through extra time and in the second period, a mistake from Davo let in Davey Andrews who finished past Mark to make it 4-2 to the Mavs.
The result at the end of normal time was probably fair, and we need to get a bit smarter regarding decision making. That is, when to play the ball out of defence and when just to do everything you can to get it clear and regroup. Perhaps the older, wiser heads of the Mavs side won out in the end.
What can we take from this game?
1. We can mix it up with the best. We need not fear any team in the area.
2. Rob Foth can do a sterling job at RB after Jamie was ill (cheers Rob, great back there). And Kyle can play in any full back position. Brilliant you pal.
3. We need to make sure we get Nathan in the game some more and help support Swanny up top
4. Rammer cannot order any sizes of tops correctly
5. Matty cannot stop talking about his miss-hit cross. FFS Matty, you try a shot from distance every week, one was bound to go in at some point. It’s the law of averages.
6. It was great to see Tom CB come back from uni and play. Cheers CB, you’re my favourite player
7. Harry is becoming the best player in that position in the area. Probably the best 16 year old around. I reckon everyone says so, including his dad. Harry, you’re my favourite player.
Reeth this week lads. We want a great result and performance against our bogey team. I am not there so will miss you all, except Eddie. I think I will miss Jordan more than Eddie. (only joking Eddie, you’re my favourite player)
What’s that? Jesus Matty, stop talking about your goal. Yes it was class. OK, let’s all move on shall we before your winkle hurts from thinking about it all the time!