Rigate Priory Falcons v. Lightning
8 - 0
Following Lightning’s back to back wins, confidence this Saturday was high. A beautiful morning, cold, bright blue sky, but the pitch proved deceptive. Weeks of rain had left it’s mark and the pitch was incredibly heavy with the sort of mud that sticks to everything, almost clay-like.
What could possibly go wrong. As the boys warmed up I watched the opposition go through their paces. It was clear they were well practiced and if their coach was a little shouty the result was a well organised team.
We started with our now familiar 3-1-2 formation with Cosmo playing the link player, Louis central defence, Tioba and Ben as wingbacks. Up front Vansh and Luke, with James starting in goal completing the line up.
Lightning made the first attack of the game but the move broke down on the right and Falcons were quick to get players forward and scored with almost their first attack. Within a few minutes Lightning went further behind, again from a breakdown of play in the opposition half.
Falcons third goal was well worked, but enormous bravery from Louis almost rescued the situation stopping the ball on the line, only for the Falcons forward to bundle the ball over. In doing so he left Louis clearly injured necessitating an early substitution. James was busy in goal, and was putting body (and ear) on the line. Unfortunately, a minute after Louis enforced substitution, James took the full force of a Falcons shot to the side of his head. Having just used George to cover for Louis, Stefanos bravely stepped in to the breach. The game was still only a little over ten minutes old.
The Falcons manager was constantly barking his orders to his young charges. It wasn’t pleasant or necessary but there was clearly a lot riding on the game. I kept looking for Raul, Edu and co as I was certain he must be auditioning for his next role, the vacant Arsenal position. If he succeeds, I’ll send my season ticket back and start supporting Spuds.
Goals 4, 5 and six duly came without reply from Lightning.
We had been over run by a well organised team. A change of direction was needed. The challenge now was to limit the damage inflicted. We started the second half with a determination not to concede as many goals. A more defensive 3-2-1 we hoped would help.
George took over in goal, Louis returned to the centre of defence supported by Cosmo and Luke. Matthew and Ned in midfield with Tioba as a lone striker.
The change worked well and despite the pressure from Falcons, Lightning played well and as the half progressed started to create chances of our own. Some great running from Tioba, a sequence of corners well taken by Cosmo and a beautifully struck shot from Matthew couldn’t redress the balance but the boys stuck to the task and kept playing without fear and I was QUIETLY impressed.
The game ended 8-0 to the home side but I think my season ticket is safe.
A word on our subs. The mud proved an entertaining distraction for all those on the sidelines at various times as their team mates toiled. The Xmas pudding mud pie (serves 6) the best of the various offerings, made lovingly by Ned. This, and his performance on the pitch, made him my
Mudman of the match.
Well done all, the spirit of the team is unbeatable