Out-Muscled!!! Shinfield v Whiteknights Panthers

Final Score: Shinfield : 1 Whiteknights Panther: 2
Weather conditions: Cloudy
Match Started at: 09:08:49
Match Time: 01:22:12
Play Time: 01:22:12
Red Cards: 0
Yellow Cards: 0
Penalty Kicks: Shinfield : 0 Whiteknights Panther: 0
Free Kicks: Shinfield : 6 Whiteknights Panther: 2
Corner Kicks: Shinfield : 6 Whiteknights Panther: 4
 Offsides: Shinfield : 2 Whiteknights Panther: 1
 Substitutions: Shinfield : 7 Whiteknights Panther: 8

I suspect the boys were itching to get a game after such a long absence. To be honest, most of us parents were too. However, my eagerness had already started to dwindle due to the cold, wet and foggy early start, as not having to get up on Saturday was bliss :). The pitch was in a good state considering but a little uneven and soft.

The first half started well considering the boys typically struggle playing a 9am kickoff. It was reasonable even if a little cagey and lot of rustiness. Overall we’re 60-40 ahead and had some opportunities to take the lead but we couldn’t click. The half was looking to end in a draw which would have been acceptable but a 40th minute free-kick on the edge of the box gave our guests a first look at the goal. The ball lofted in high and it looked like it would land into Luis’ cupped arms but it bounced out of his reach – where a waiting WP player scrambled it into the goal. It wasn’t deserved as it was literally the first real chance the Panthers had. Up until that point we had defended well and contained most of their effort.
The second half continued the same. Not much to split the teams – equally as bad as good. New boys Curtis and JackL had a chance to get involved and showed good touches and enthusiasm. As the half went on, our lack of strength in these types of games started to show. We weren’t taking the second balls, or simply letting the Pathers out-muscle us, which made it difficult to sustain an attack. Their disruptive play did work to our advantage as we were awarded a foul just outside the box. Damon confidently struck the ball with a lot of power at the wall – which deflected the ball into the goal! 1-1 (57 min) and well deserved!!!
As the game went on we started to show some flashes of the play that we are used to, a lot of good running by Damon, Gazza and Aiden and some great defending by JackB, Marcus and Ajay. The game was looking like a draw, and to be honest, I would have taken that as the Panthers looked like they wanted it more. But 5 minutes later, on the 62nd minute and another set play, they found the net. A simple cross from the corner found the feet of a Panther who got past Luis. 1-2. Heads went down but we had plenty of time to get something back. The Panthers continued to defend well as Aiden and Gazza couldn’t get past the back four: equally we were being out-muscled in midfield. Too many second balls were lost and we didn’t match their strength or passion to keep the ball. If anything we lacked the character to make a difference.
I’d like to thank the Panthers for a good game and like to call out Ajay for some great defending and his darting runs forward. Also, JackL and Curtis for their inaugural match for the Rangers- welcome to the team!!.
Reported by Sanjay Patel