In the 2nd Round of the U13 Plate, Shinfield face much stronger opposition than in the first round. From the starting whistle, Eversley look strong, attacking hard and putting immediate pressure on our defence and keeper. The first danger coming within 30 seconds but Luis on hand to safely handle the Eversley shot. Eversley throw their big attackers forward giving our defence continuous trouble. Two deep crosses run straight across the Shinfield goal but luckily nobody there to connect. Although Shinfield mount some attacks, they don’t come to much – Luis is busy at the other end trying to keep the scoresheet clean.
But the pressure finally paid off for Eversley as an attacker broke free on the left, ran at Luis and hit it low and hard to Luis left. 1-nil to Eversley. Shinfield continue to struggle to take control. Good play all over the park, but Eversley still in control. Eversley throw another deep cross in from the right. Shinfield fail to clear and the ball falls to an Eversley attacker for an easy tap-in. 2-nil to Eversley. The remainder of the first half took a similar pattern. Sporadic breaks from Shinfield peppered with dangerous attacks from Eversley. Finally in the last kick of he game, Casey breaks down the right and punts a low hard cross in front of the Eversley goal. Max touches it right past the goalkeeper and from an acute angle taps it just inside the post. Before the game can restart, the ref blows for half time.
So, after a strong pep-talk from Pete during the break, the boys came out fighting right from the whistle. Within Seconds, Casey had worked his way down the right, took it past a defender to line the ball up and then sent a left-foot rocket at the goalkeeper. The keeper couldn’t hold it, the ball rattled around the 6 yard box and fell to Aidan on the left who slammed it high into the side netting. Exciting stuff and a good start from Shinfield, but they need to maintain this standard. And maintain it they did.
Shinfield really upped their game. Much better passing, good defending and some great midfield play. Eversley had nothing to show on attack and had to go on the defensive.
Casey then scored a goal which was deemed offsite. Then a beautifully worked bit of play from Luke in the midfield to Aidan on the left. The ball was passed around nicely, Shinfield working it into the box. With Eversley failing to clear it, Charlie stepped up to bang it home. With the scores now level at 2-2, the excitement was mounting and the boys kept on chasing hard, taking the wind out of Eversley sails at every opportunity.
Tom and max then break through the defence. Now one-on-one with the keeper, Tom nicely slips it right to Max who taps it into an open goal. But the linesman sees that Max was in front of Tom so raises the offside flag. Shinfield don’t take the decision lightly and keep up the pressure, hungry for the lead. It didnt take long to come. Aidan breaks through on the left and slams it low and hard to the keepers right. He gets a hand to it but can only deflect it into the goal. Shinfield now lead 3-2. A nice comeback, but they have to stay strong.
The relief comes when a nice Casey/Max/Tom sequence leaves Tom with an open goal. At 4-2 and with some minutes still remaining, Eversley try hard to mount a comeback. But even against taller, faster attackers, we are resilient at the back and quash any attempts by Eversley to hit back. At the other end, Tom breaks through on his own. He is one-on-one with the keeper, taps it left to go round him. With a seemingly open goal in front of him, Tom taps the ball home. Or so we thought. A defender races through and times his slide fabulously to block Toms attempt. Nice defending by Eversley.
As the clock ticks away, the parents nervously watch as an Eversley attacker breaks through on his own and races centrally towards the Shinfield penalty area. Luis, is quick off the mark and runs out to meet him, diving at his feet to smother the ball before the attacker can slip it past him. Quick thinking and a very brave dive by Luis to cheers from the supporters. Fantastic save.
Finally the whistle blows in an exciting and satisfying game by Shinfield. It’s a cliche, but this really was a game of two halves. Shinfield kept on battling and came out from the break with renewed energy and hunger. And it paid off. Whilst Eversley dominated the first half, it was Shinfield who took control in the second half and gave Eversley all the problems. A well deserved 4-2 win.
Well done boys, good luck in the quarter finals.
Scorers: Max, Charlie, Aidan, Tom
Trophies: Charlie, Max, Lewis