With most of Saturday's football rained off the hopes were somewhat grey as to whether play would be possible this week. With no cancellations we headed north, from sunny Wellington to awfully dark and overcast Upper Hutt for a local derby. Not to be outdone by the Upper Hutt College ffacilities Wallaceville had no access to the changing rooms and as we stood in the gym contemplating the game ahead a hail shower or two passed.
While the new strip wasn't quite ready we were back in the favoured blue strip, looking a tad sharper than usual nowhere near as green as the previous week. The pitch itself was in reasonably good nick, with no pooled water and only a few school yard accessories (running track and bowling block for the nets) invading on the field. With most Saturday games cancelled there were no tales of losses or new injuries we should be aware of. As with the previous week for some reason we opted to skip a proper warm up with the balls and instead were introduced to an oval rock hard bright yellow cross between a volleyball and beach football. Thankfully the precipitation ceased and it was just the 7 degree day we had to contend with. A quick pre game talk with the ref to confirm we were all wearing shin pads (it remains uncertain whether he actually thought someone might be dumb enough to play without them or if this was a sly reference to "the shin pad incident").
With "car troubles" and a toe injury keeping the beast sidelined, it was left to Dumpster to run the defence with assistance from Jonno, David and Josh. The midfield was Adam, Dribble, a returning from injury Lameo and Sam. Bowie and I started up front and Bolts was back in the rainbow pink batts in goal. Sideline to begin with was Gordo and newbie Jason.
Into it early on the quick touch passing commenced. The first real attack saw Bowie set away down the right with a nice through ball. Drawing the keeper he slid a pass across the goal which I tapped in to make in 1-0 inside a few minutes. Some dodgy offside calls from their referee stymied many a good attacking opportunity, including a great long cross field through ball from Jonno where the referee failed to notice I had run from 40 meters back. At the back the floated long pass was the tactic of the day and these were generally met with strong clearing headers. The one time they did break through Bolts came out, with no Matty to impede his view, and cleared well.
Composure prevailed and with a varied attack using both the wings and the central ball chances were coming thick and fast. A few off target finishes kept things level for a while, till a well weighted back pass was given from Lameo inside the box which I directed into the bottom right. A recurrence of the heel injury saw Lameo relegated to statistician (for which no stats were provided) shortly thereafter. A hatrick seemed a possibility after a poor goal kick, but I fluffed it royally when the keeper didn't move at all and I ran out of space. Were it full time hatrick avoidance could rightfully have been claimed, but this was corrected later.
Bowie was soon on the score sheet with a well timed through ball from Adam to me, flicked inside for Bowie to knock into the right corner. Not content with the passing role, Wilson too chimed in with a bottom right finish after a Dribble/Wilson 1-2 special and Wilson beating a defender in the box. A good run down the left, started with Jonno with a useful 1-2 with Sam was finished to give us 5, with a curling chip from me outside the box finding its target. Despite the impressive scoreline at this stage there were a handful of other missed opportunities, with Sam heading wide on the back post with an open goal, Bowie shooting point blank at the keeper off a header pass, Jason pushing it to the right with just the keeper to beat. Not to be left off the highlights package Dribble attempted a header, whilst sliding in on his knees. Definitely the most unusual attempted finish of the half.
With the goal difference closing fast on the league leaders the second half began with the same intensity and with the midfield pushing up, we began to get a lot of crossing practice. A flat front line lacking in depth kept Wallaceville in it for a few minutes with many crossed not quite finding the target. A good cross from dribble skidded through the first group of players and found its way into the net with a tap in off my left foot from point blank. Buoyed by the realisation of near identical genetic makeup, Davey started to chomp at the bit for a run. Dumpster was agreeable to a switch and Davey and I switched positions for the last 40 minutes. Much to Jonno's horror it wasn't long before a falling (it may have been lunging but it's hard to tell from the back) Davey managed to get a foot on a cross from the right and doubled his tally for the year.
Proving that strikers shouldn't play defence a relatively well controlled attack from Wallaceville ends in disaster when a shot from well outside the box is taken. Notwithstanding the non turtle jump I only managed to get a slight header in, and with Bolts wrong footed the ball floated into the net. Sometime later their best genuine chance on the game was snuffed out by Dumpster who ran down their only quick guy and twice took the ball off him inside the box before clearing to safety.
Further goals (perhaps not in chronological order with the absence of stats) followed as follows:
- Bowie knocks into the right corner from close range after a darting run;
- Sam for the second time beats 2 defenders to get into the box and slots into the bottom right;
- Bowie gets a good deflection off a cross from Goro from the right (who had been running the sideline well with lots of ball coming his way) and whilst point blank teases the goalie by deflecting in off his leg. Bowie's first hatrick;
- Wilson beats a defender taking the ball to his right foot at the top of the box and getting better direction than strike dribbles one into the bottom right corner;
- Jason slots one in on the left
Near misses included:
- a good long range effort from Josh which sails over the post;
- a volley from Wilson off the corner which collects a piece of the woodwork as it flys high;
- Davey makes a solid strike but straight at the keeper and easily blocked;
- Wilson for missing a a near open goal off a great cross from the left (maybe from Gordo)
- a Wilson header misses the target;
- Gordon had a few good efforts which were just wide.
Special mentions to:
- Dribble for his high work rate and great crosses and through balls;
- Bowie for again creating conflict in the tackle. Standing from being tackled fairly in the box, a shove from their player sees Bowie back on the ground wondering why Wallaceville are so unimpressed by his brill cream; and
- Bowie for a solid run in the box which ended when partially impeded he ran a few more steps, realised the ball was going out then took a horrible dive that even the Russian judge wasn't impressed with.
So a very pleasing result with a dozen to one result, with a good amount of chatter, early and quick touches and calm finishing which was so absent the week before. Post match the opposition were no where to be seen at the local (can you blame them) and Wilson and Dribble were in full discussion mode about some film they were making which was a cross between Brokeback Mountain and A Bug's Life. Food offerings from Jonno and I were well received by all. To include the younger members of the team in post match a decision was made for a future post match at Cobb & Co in Upper Hutt. Compulsory traffic lights for the schoolboys.
With talk of Friday's co-hosted function raising expectations Wilson and Dribble departed. While they claimed it was for filming we assume it was to start the prep on those fancy nibbles.
Fines this week are:
- Wilson for Josh's foul throw on his first throw of the day;
- Lameo for getting injured, not taking stats and blaming the pen. Yes it was wet but the folder was waterproof and you could have sheltered the pen;
- Mark for a hatrick;
- Bowie for a hatrick;
- Matt for failure to turn up to support (which can be wiped upon the presentation of a mechanics report from that day);
- Mark for his role in their goal, although it's questionable whether anyone could have done much better with an attempted defensive header. While there was some speculation the ball was only deflected upwards and not off course, Bolts you are not fined for being wrong footed and letting that in.
Well done and deservedly top of the table. Wilson can you pass copies to the other schoolboys.
The Marauders Football Club