Finding the Positives

Banbury 4s – 1 Wootton 1s – 9 

Trump is good at finding positives in negative situations where finding a positive is like looking for a tin of Tesco “Everyday Value” baked beans in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s larder……Trump tends to rely on “alternative truth” (which is sort of lying) but that’s stretching it for Saturday’s game.

Wootton 1st team had to drop a few leagues as they unfortunately lost a team last season….and unfortunately for all the teams in our league they’re not only 1st team players but they’re bringing a 16 man squad to each match. Coming off a 7-2 win against Newbury the previous week we knew we were in for a tough match – and it was – but by no means was the Banbury 4s goal like Rorke’s Drift with Stanley Baker and Michael Caine barking at the team as 4,000 Zulus charged at a wall of sandbags (actually the Baker and Caine bit was still true as Camp and Britto did a good impression of them, but you can take the sand bags and 4,000 rampaging Zulus bit out). Banbury could have scored a few goals too as the game was open with end to end play.

To top it all the weather matched the on pitch experience. It was like a February weekend away in Scarborough when you’ve unpacked your suitcase and realised you’ve only packed the day glow mankini and it’s sleeting courtesy of Siberia outside. It was cold, wet, grey and miserable and windy – brought back memories of my first girlfriend.

We also had 2 new debutantes playing – Charlie Taylor and Phil Beer (great name Phil by the way – well done!) playing in midfield. I did assure them this wasn’t a normal opposition.

The first ten minutes was fairly well contested with both teams testing the defences and goals. Ben Reville and Tom Boardman worked well off the distribution of Beer , Toby Squire, Taylor, Jamie Marsh and  Ethan Bissett but Wootton were stronger , more direct and closed us down more assertively. They scored after ten minutes and then controlled the first half with Camp, Britto, Felix Webb and Matt Allman often being out numbered. Block tackles went in and Jamie Lamb was outstanding but by half time we were 5-0 down.

The half time team talk was fairly blunt – stop playing 7 players in their D and just 4 in our half as dealing with 6 or 7 marauding players each time we lost the ball in their half led to a goal. And so the second half started with a far better structure and more defending in numbers.

The midfield worked more effectively and Ben Reville and Tom Boardman rained more shots on goal and won more short corners. This led to a well worked goal that Charlie Taylor deftly slipped in by the left hand post.

Then disaster struck as a key defender, Noel Britto, got a grazed shin as the ball glanced his top of the range 1970s Sports Direct bargain basement paper mache footballer’s shin pad and he had to hobble off (which actually looked like one of his sprints) for some treatment. This left Banbury with the bare 11 for most of the second half and Wootton kept rolling on their spare 5 subs. Felix Webb played particularly well at left back – at one point tackling and beating 3 Wootton 1st team players in a row in our D, and the other youngsters Ethan Bissett, Jamie Marsh and Ben Reville fought hard and never gave in, but as the half progressed and Wootton sent on more subs, we tired and despite the last ditch tackles and saves of Camp, Lamb and Allman the well drilled Wootton team scored 4 more.

So the game ended and next week we are back to “normal” playing teams who are a natural fit to our league. Our opposition is Newbury and Thatcham and do hope for a more normal game and friendlier game than our last meeting.