After 2 cold days in the build up to the match, no one knew what condition the pitch would be in due to the frosty conditions. On arrival the pitch looked to be in great condition for this time of year and although the ground was hard it was not frozen. The game was on.
During the warm up it gave everyone a chance to feel the impacts of the cold on their breathing and also on their feet. Today was going to be something they had not experienced for a while if not ever before. This local derby was ready to kick off and the last time they both met was in the final of the Liam Costello tournament, which Di Stefano won 1-0.
Straight from the kick off Di Stefano looked to take control of the ball and play in a progressive passing style whilst also using the width to create openings. Beckenbauer defended well and kept closing the door and forcing us to take shots from outside the box.
After 10 minutes we started to get the ball wide and created some real chances but every time we got through we opted for power and ended up sending the ball high and wide and their keeper spent more time in the woods behind the goal rather than making saves. Jack W, George, Drew, Jack T all suffering from the cold conditions. We also came close with Oliver getting through the back line but he also struggled to force the keeper into any real saves before Oscar managed to keep one low but still went wide of the post. Beckenbauer did have their spells in the first half which mainly came from some uncharacteristic errors, however we managed to either close them out or forced them to put the shot wide. Hayden came through with some fantastic last second blocks and seemed to enjoy the physical battle with their strong and pacey striker.
Half time 0-0
During the half time team talk the team looked slightly anxious as they felt they should have probably had the game wrapped up by now and they were right. We talked about keeping the ball down and getting off our shots in a controlled manner trying to search out the low corners and forcing the keeper to make a save. Again from the start of the second half we kept possession of the ball and used the width a bit more with Matt, Jack T and Oscar starting the link up better and use Jack W and Drew in the wide areas to get in behind the defence. The first goal came half way through the second half when the ball went out left to Jack W who beat his man and whipped in a cross which went all the way through the box and out to the right which drew picked up before putting in the second cross into the box, George managed to get the ball under control and with his back to goal he made the short pass to Oscar who from 8 yrds out hit it first time low and hard into the back of the net. 1-0 It didn't take too long for the opposition the level the score after a freekick was given down our right side, we didn't defend it well as we sat too deep and allowed them to fill the 6 yrd box, we didn't deal with the cross and somehow they managed to squeeze the ball in at the far post. 1-1 Straight from the kick off we managed to keep our composure and keep our confident playing style. Oscar passed the ball out to Drew after some link up play with Jack T and Matt, Drew powered down the right hand side and got a great ball in which ran through to Jack W who got a strike off quickly which hit the defender and went into the net. 2-1 The rest of the game was scrappy and a bit nervy from a point of view with us giving away lots of freekicks around the box and occasionally breaking away but not making any real chances. We did have a breakaway with Oscar running through the defence but took his shot too early which meant another easy save for the keeper.
The whistle went to the relief of the Di Stefano team and most of the spectators as everyone's feet felt like they were going to fall off.
We had a few stand out performances on the day from Hayden winning the battle of the big men, Jack T and Matt getting the ball down in the middle and starting play. However todays Plant Hire Management Ltd POTM went to Oscar for how he picked right passes to help get us in behind their defence.
After 9 games done and half way through our season we sit in contention in 3rd with 6 wins 2 draws and 1 loss and we now need to finish the second half strong to give ourselves a real chance at winning this league.