WRFC U13 Warriors travelled with a squad of 14 up to the South Circular today, on a spectacular smash and grab mission in the drizzle against Sheen Lions Pride.
It was Sheen that opened the scoring after only two minutes, countering from a Warriors’ corner at the other end of the pitch and requiring only two passes and a quick-turning striker to lob King Leon for a well-executed goal. 1-0 down….
Shaken but not stirred, Warriors responded in kind eight minutes later with a high ball in from Charlie that the Sheen ‘keeper eventually got his hands to – but not before the referee ruled in favour of the ball having crossed the line. 1-1….
The Sheen back four kept their shape well and any invading Warrior was dealt with summarily; while at the other end of the pitch, the Sheen #16 was keeping our own back four busy, latching onto a succession of long, high balls aimed in his general direction. Ten minutes of end-to-end football and Warriors went ahead, with a well-weighted midfield pass from Mikey to Matt, who performed his own version of lobbing the ‘keeper and found the back of the net. 2-1, advantage Warriors!
Special mention to Tyler in defence today who came into his own in the last ten minutes of the first half, with some extremely competent and confident mopping up, including one cameo with Joe who received from Tyler under pressure and then delivered one of the most creative clearances of the season, using a bicycle kick to move the ball back upfield! Tyler received some glowing feedback later in the match from the referee about his defensive capabilities today.
Meanwhile, Marc from his CAM role worked hard for two shots on goal in quick succession but it was Adam who netted number three, making him a strong contender for goal of the season in the 28th minute. Marc’s corner was deftly headed on in the box by Jack, leaving Adam to thunder onto the ball and score with his own head at close range. 3-1 to Warriors it stayed until he half-time whistle.
Warriors came out with more hunger in the second half and this new-found confidence was nearly their undoing over the next 35 minutes.
Joe got a shot in on goal within a minute of kick-off and then Matt poked home from a Marc corner in the 37th minute, helped by a short run by Charlie to draw a defender out of harm’s way. 4-1 to Warriors….
At this point, Sheen were starting to lose a bit of their own shape and discipline and it was perhaps little surprise that Jack helped create what was an own goal by Sheen in the 45th minute, his shot ricocheting off a player and wrong-footing the Sheen ‘keeper. 5-1 Warriors!
Our own defensive line got pulled up the pitch more after this and were nearly undone as our centre backs smelled goal. In the 53rd minute, Marc was busy claiming another Warriors’ goal which was disallowed by the referee, when before the players realised it, Sheen were launching another counter-attack, forcing Leon into a brilliant save at the other end of the pitch. The complacency due to the score-line continued as the minutes crept by and Sheen were able to capitalise in the 61st minute to pull one back: 5-2 to Warriors. Leon had to double the number of saves he made in the last ten minutes of the game and after three minutes of acute pressure on our defences, another goal rolled in with two minutes to go, leaving the score at 5-3 to Warriors.
A special mention must be made to the opposition referee today, John O’Neil. Apart from being technically proficient, it was great to see a referee giving positive encouragement to individual players from both teams and communicating his decisions clearly and calmly.
Thanks also to Stuart for lino duties, Mel for Pitch Marshalling, Georgie for collecting subs and to Dan and Julian, the two Gaffers today.