So the final league game for 2017 saw the 1st travel across town to leafy Highfield park to play Sandridge Cubs in a game which turned out to be a real test of character and resilience. At half time the boys found themselves 2-1 behind but showed a real desire in the 2nd half to turn the game completely around running out 6-2 winners and keeping their unbeaten league record intact.
The early exchanges were fairly even with Joshua, Ben and Jack linking up well in attack but none of them could find a clear shot on goal easy to come by. In defence Ronan and Callum were proving difficult to beat and between them and Ozan in goal they had restricted Sandridge to a few half chances. After 10 minutes a counter attack by Sandridge caught the 1st by surprise and Ozan was given little chance with a good shot. However the 1st rallied and a deep cross from Ben to the far post was superbly volleyed home by Joshua for 1-1. Excitement soon turned to disappointment as straight from the kick off Sandridge played a long ball which confused the 1st defence and within seconds Sandridge had regained the lead for 2-1.
At half time the boys were still buoyant and confident that with some more clinical finishing the game could still be won. Sammy kindly agreed to play half a game in goal and after a few more substitution and positional changes the boys took the field. The attacking intent was soon evident as James’ solo run on the right allowed him to score from a narrow angle to level 2-2. A succession of corners followed and James’ header and Joshua shot both deserved better reward. A good passing move soon after saw both Jack and James hit the post in quick succession with the goalkeeper beaten on both occasions. However the vital 3rd goal soon came as James scored again into the same corner for a 3-2 lead.
From that moment onwards the 1st dominated the game completely and both Jack (twice) and Joshua scored good goals to complete the 6-2 win. Joshua was unlucky not to complete his hat trick with a shot which hit the goalkeeper as was Jack whose shot met the same response. Ben saw two left footed efforts just miss the post and Ozan had a long range effort fly wide whilst Charlie had 2 decent efforts in the penalty area blocked by opposing defenders.
The final whistle was a sense of happiness and relief with the overall victory. MOM was again a difficult choice but eventually went to James whose introduction as sub changed the game not only with the goals but good vision with passing to set up teammates.
All the 12 boys who have played in these 4 games so far deserve a lot of credit for their commitment & teamwork which have contributed hugely to the unbeaten run so far