1st XI Football v Longridge Towers
Wednesday 11th January
On Wednesday afternoon a little convoy of vehicles snaked along the Tweed to Longridge Towers.
A raw wind howled across the pitches under a low sun and there was a marked reluctance from some of the St Mary’s party to remove their tracksuits. Their assistant coach, recently arrived from Australia, had full sympathy and the 2nd XI players in more static roles were allowed to retain this scant protection.
The 1st XI lined up with Captain Muaz C in the middle of a powerful and rapid midfield. Partnered by Harris R in the centre and with the twin menaces of Tommy and Alex F on the flank, the skilful Form 8 had a range of attacking options up front in the form of Hamish M and Jamie F.
Joseph W, Lachlan and Will S kept the door firmly closed at the back while William M was a safe pair of hands in goal.
The match kicked off and St. Mary’s soon had a tight grip on the game with wave after wave of attacks thwarted by the doughty home defence. Lachlan, Will and Joseph had to be on their toes to keep the zippy Longridge frontmen out when the ball was periodically cleared into the St. Mary’s half.
The Green Machine struck first as Alex F rounded off good approach play by Captain Muaz, Harris and Tommy. He then doubled his tally with a cheeky tap-in as Harris’ shot sped over the line.
Harris scored a cracking individual goal before Tommy stretched the lead to four.
Half-Time Score: St Mary’s School 1st XI 4 – 0 Longridge Towers
The coach implored his team to push on but to keep things tight at the back immediately after the break. Unfortunately, it proved rather tricky to defend with eight strikers and only one defender. Longridge came roaring back into the contest with three unanswered goals in five minutes. Full time and safety seemed a very long way away.
When things start to go awry a team needs to rally around its leaders. Captain Muaz was superb. Alan Hansen would have cooed with delight as he tracked back in defence and put the Longridge attackers on their heels with sharp passing. What was diabolical became a thing of beauty as the St. Mary’s attack spluttered back into life. For the remainder of the game the boys in green attacked relentlessly. Hamish M caned in a penalty before Jamie F finished the game with a super goal.
Overall, this was a most encouraging first outing of the season. There is much to work on in training, not least our positioning and work-rate in defence, but we have set a base level of performance to work from throughout the term.
Final-Score: St Mary’s School 1st XI 6 – 3 Longridge Towers
Man of the Match: Captain Muaz: Outstanding throughout; this boy worked his socks off from first to last. Muaz set the example for others to follow.
Mr T Rawson
Jules Birdsall, 12/01/2017