U12 TIGERS WIN AT LAST
Tigers avenge last week's defeat at Marlow
On a morning that would have graced Copacabãna, Tigers did their best to play calypso football. The upshot was a first competitive win since 18th November, avenging last week's defeat at the home of our visitors.
Both sides were ravaged by illness and unavailability, so the match was reduced to 8v8 with no subs. Played in the same excellent spirit as last week's game, the game got under way with both teams playing attractive football. Tigers benefitted from the return of Toby "The Tower" in defence and Ilyas, who has clearly used the Easter break to train with Usain Bolt. Once again, Matt was exceptional between the posts and in the role of sweeper/keeper, and bravely smothered the handful of balls that squirmed through the defence.
The return of Frazer in midfield, showing great touch and slide rule passing, took a lot of the responsibility off John's shoulders. This enabled John to get forward to support Gabe and Ilyas, as well as bringing Sam into the play with more opportunity to take on Marlow's left side. Joe appeared a lot more confident with Toby on his right; they held their line well and, although barely communicating, they always seemed to be in the right place to help each other out.
The game swung from end to end and the first casualty was a linesman who went base over apex by the halfway line and now has a left knee bigger than a size 4 football.
Gabriel, much like last week, was causing Marlow problems with his pace, strength and tenacity. It was almost inevitable that he would open the scoring, breaking from the centre circle and steering a calm finish beyond the despairing keeper. 1-0 after the first quarter but, despite some storming runs from Ilyas and another effort from Gabe, the score was to remain the same until half-time.
The home team donned blue bibs for the second half, a few of the Marlow players saying that they couldn't spot their own orange-clad team mates. In the grand scheme, it made very little difference. Toby and Joe continued to hold a high line and the Marlow strikers failed to break it, despite the tactical juggling of personnel by Marlow's coach. Three times the visitors broke through but on two occasions Matt outfoxed the striker and the one time he was left floundering, Gabriel had miraculously got back to steal the ball for Joe to clear the lines.
Further forward, John and Frazer commanded the midfield. Occasionally too many touches got them in trouble and lost the ball, but Tigers' team spirit meant there always seemed to be someone to cover it up. Sam was again finding room down the right, and John and Gabe had some wonderful interplay down the left. But it was Ilyas who created the decisive goal, Bursting through the inside right channel on 53 minutes, he turned the ball across the six yard box for John to coolly knock in Tigers' second.
Gabe should have put the game beyond doubt, steering the ball wide of both the goalie and the right post, and also forced an amazing, the keeper putting the ball onto the bar and out for a corner. John was unlucky not to add a header to his collection, another great save, this time low to his left, keeping Marlow in the game.
Tigers were good enough to keep the game secure and ran out worthy 2-0 victors. It was a superb all-round performance and a great way to finish the home season. A word about Marlow: lovely hosts last week, charming visitors this week, and a great bunch of boys and parents.