Ibstock U12 V Barlestone U12s
By Jane Read
"Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet." Bob Marley
7:45am. That's when confirmation of the Tigers match was confirmed
- and joy in all football loving households reigned supreme. At least until the curtains were drawn to see weather more befitting of a Peruvian rainforest than a Midlands conurbation. With hats, coats and gloves all packed, those arriving at the pitch were treated to the sight of green grass on the pitch which is always an open invitation to play fast attacking football.
Mark, Dave and Andy would be looking to get the boys match fit with a sophisticated array of training drills for the first game of the new year. Who would be refreshed and ready to fight hard for the win in adverse weather conditions?
With a team built around possession and pace lining up to face the opposition the guarantee of goal action was enough to draw large crowds from the comfort of a car seat to a pitch side seat.
Excitedly the game got underway with Ibstock keen to make up for a months missed matches by seizing the initiative with combative tackling and forward passing. Early opportunities fell to Ben Reardon who struck the crossbar from the edge of the area with a rasping shot. It wasn't long before the soaking wet Ibstock boys went 1-0 up with an outstanding Fin pass finding Ben R to slot past the keeper after a superb initial save.
On the other wing, AJ was exploring the pitch with a mazy run and cruised into the area only to find a battalion of defenders in front of him before he could cross. Providing a menace down the middle was Ben S who nearly converted from six yards out after a fabulous left footed cross, if not for the heroics of an in form keeper.
With sustained pressure and a rock solid defence, where Tom was equal to the physical challenge of a tricky centre forward, the boys forced a corner which sound across the goal to the far post where AJ snuck in like a ninja only to hit the post with Charlie getting down low to get fingertips to it.
On the rare occasions Barlestone did find themselves in a dangerous position, Rico and Aaron worked hard for each other and with pure solidarity backed each other up with firm tackles.
With Rico providing slick passes for Ben R to run onto, another cross reigned in with Noel attacking the ball with a brave header only for the keeper to once again pluck it out of the sky. As half time approached a 1-0 score line looked certain but as AJ crossed from the right wing a defender handled the ball for a certain penalty. Cool as a cucumber, Fin converted the penalty making it a respectable 2-0 at half time.
More of the same would undoubtedly be the message and with the introduction of battlers and ball players the time would stay the same.
Early on, Ben R had a shot on goal saved well by the goalkeeper enlist at the other end of the pitch Jimmy defended a free kick well showing bravery as it was blasted against him. A more topsy-turvy second half saw Ben pass to AJ who shot at keeper. From the resulting save, a corner from Ben R landed on Jimmy's head who nodded over just a bit too high. At the other end of the pitch Jimmy was involved again, this time putting a brave tackle on the attacker as he positioned for a shot in the area.
More goal bound action saw the busy Charlie head against the bar before Lleyton to slot home for a composed finish to make it 3-0. Jimmy was moving forward more and more showing menace and Mark remarked that he should. 'unleash the beast'. Which he did just wide. From the following goal kick Barlestone fashioned a way through the Ibstock midfield leaving Sam alone to tackle 3 attackers, which he did with composure to bring out the ball and play it to the front men. 4-0 was the score before the end with Ben running down the left wing and crossing again for Jimmy who sent the cross on further for Charlie to finish confidently.
Despite the conditions, all boys battled hard for the result - proving that a battling mentality was still a vital component to getting a winning result.
Man of the Match this week was Ben Reardon, in thanks to attacking running and quality crossing that brought the team plenty of chances. Looked dangerous throughout.