Do you know what …? You don’t climb the highest mountains without a team and the boys are going to have to work hard on their teamwork as this season looks to be almost Everest-esque after our two league promotion over the summer. However your attitude, not your aptitude will often determine your altitude……
And so to our first league encounter… Our team were resplendent in their new sky blue kits but down to a meager 11 players. Alex was welcomed to the Shinfield fold this week and took his place in goal. The match kicked off this morning in glorious autumnal sunshine in front of a bumper crowd. Our opponents appeared tall, strong, powerful and organised from the first encounters. The backline of Tyson, Liam, Cameron and Josh came under almost immediate pressure as Maidenhead showed determination and drive to capitalise on the early nervousness from the home team.
With the passing minutes, our boys seem to grow in confidence and kept hustling and tackling and thwarting Maidenhead’s attacks. Alex showed bravery in his saves and an understanding of when to come and when to stay on his line which belie the fact this was his second ever football match. In fact after fifteen minutes or so, the pendulum swung in Shinfield’s favour and the action became firmly camped in the other half – Sam and Will led the line forcefully and linking play cleverly from midfield balls from Luke, Tom and Ben and were unlucky not to capitalise on a series of corners.
But even top teams in the Premier League know the importance of scoring while you are on top and Shinfield found this out to their cost when Maidenhead took the lead with a wonderful strike after the ball fell perfectly to their player after deflecting off the ref. Another blow followed shortly after when Liam’s attempted clearance was unlucky to hit the bottom of the post and squirm in.
However Will’s half time team talk must have been encouraging as the signs were there that Shinfield were still in this battle and were certainly not being outplayed. This proved true when they won a free kick early in the second half and Sam scored with a fantastic shot that dipped under their keeper…
Maidenhead were able to call on a choice of substitutes as the game went on whereas Shinfield did not have this luxury. I feel this had a telling effect in the closing minutes of the game as fresh legs saw Maidenhead extend their lead twice more. Shinfield impressively kept on going and using Jzsiah’s power down the right at times, were able to create panic in the box. Shinfield finished the game with only 10 players due to Luke’s injury and this just illustrates the difficulties the team faced today.
There was a sense of disappointment amongst the team at the final whistle, but hopefully after the dust has settled, the lads will realise there is much to be admired in the performance. They more than competed in this fixture, Alex looked a great addition to the team, Sam still knows where the goal is and their heart and determination to keep going together was impressive and hopefully in the end they will discover that as in life … the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it….
Score – Shinfield 1 – Maidenhead 4
Scorer – Sam
Report – H