After a rather disappointing and lethargic performance last week, Shinfield were back in home action this weekend and were determined to avoid another sluggish start. Champing at the bit, at the start of the match, like thoroughbreds in the starting gates, every player in their orange silks looked fired up and full of determination.
From the first whistle there was a noticeable uplift in energy, the team leapt off the the mark and into action. Ethan was immediately in the midst of it all, driving forward into the penalty box and getting an early shot away. Ben used his impressive pace and strength down the right and caused many problems. Liam was his usual commanding self at the centre of the pitch, his strong tackling and excellent eye for a defence splitting pass had the home crowd cheering with enthusiasm.
Despite this early enterprise, Shinfield swiftly discovered they were up against very strong opposition who were disciplined in their approach. Their back line stayed solid with 4 players always in place, creating a formidable barrier and inevitably the pressure swung in the visitors favour. It was time for the Shinfield defence to be tested….Bracknell have an excellent number 10 whose pace and power had caused untold problems in an earlier fixture so in a tactical masterstroke, Will gave Zishan the unenviable task of man marking him. A job from which he did not deviate for the duration of the game in a man of match winning performance. His commitment to the cause was exemplary, he tackled and shadowed his danger man, denying him space and opportunities. This left Ash, Josh and Luke with plenty of work to do, as Bracknell are also blessed with clever players who break with pace. Bracknell took the lead during this period of the game with a cool shot. How would Shinfield react to this setback ?
In typical style of course, with a wonderful ball from Liam to Sam who burst through into the left hand side of the box and fired past the keeper into the bottom right hand corner from an acute angle. 1-1 at halftime and all to play for in the second half….
In these evenly matched games, every team member must play their part – Devon came on and helped protect the King of Cool J’zsiah in goal, whose command of his box this week was impressive as he came off his line assertively to smother any danger and made confident saves. Shinfield kept up the attacking momentum from the first half, they were able to spread the play more and Tom became more involved on the left wing – linking well with Sam and stretching the organised Bracknell back line. Sam won a free kick at the edge of the box and delivered an exquisite cross that Will read perfectly and headed in, the ball soaring through a crowd of defenders into the back of the net to the delight of his team mates and it may have even helped to cure his Dad’s man flu (*hangover ??*)
This proved to be the decisive goal in the game and shows the importance of quality set plays when the game is tightly contested. Shinfield could have extended their lead when Sam and Ben broke through but the keeper was able to make a comfortable save. Shinfield stayed together and secured the three points and their table topping position for another week….
As the advert says….If Carling ‘did’ football matches they would probably look like this game: Shinfield’s best performance of the season so far: disciplined, determined, energetic and full of quality – Let’s hope it is more of the same next week….over to you Will – It’s your round coach !
Scorers – Sam, Will
MOM – Zishan