Monarchs win away v Aylesbury
5th win in a row for the Monarchs
Arriving in dribs and drabs to a cold, wintry RAF Holton, we decamped from our cars into the warmth of a relatively smart club house, where we would have gladly stayed all afternoon, but for the job in hand. I timidly floated the idea of a warm-up, only to be met with expletives, ridicule and annoyed glances from my variously infirm or geriatric team mates. Richard wouldn’t have stood for it. After much cajoling, and with maybe 5 minutes to go before push-back, we managed to muster 4 or 5 of us (including a clearly sick Clint) outside for a token 15 yard jog and 3 ‘open the gates’ before getting onto the pitch as the previous match ended. Hopes were high though and there was an undeniable confidence in the rag-tag bunch that had made the trip to play Aylesbury.
We were quickly underway, and surprisingly found ourselves under a degree of pressure from the Kites, who came out fast and hard. Clint’s illness had done nothing to improve his temperament and within 2 minutes he cynically poleaxed the Kites’ central defender with a vicious stick to the ribs. This was shortly followed by an expletive filled outburst from James after a strong tackle. The next 5 to 10 minutes of the game were a testy time for the Monarchs as the Kites pushed forwards down our right, and applied some pressure to our defence. Zac remained strong though and with Randy and Nick’s support we held firm as the initial onslaught weakened. Before long, Colin arrived and began a leisurely warm-up. Now at full strength, we too were pushing forward at pace and incisively through some solid and accurate passing. Ash found himself with a lot of space on the right wing, and as would happen many times in the game, he provided strong, quick balls into the attack. It wasn’t long before one of these found Clint, via a majestic (or was it accidental?) ‘step-over’ from Viren. Clint’s quick, accurate pass to a surprised Tim was duly despatched to the left of the keeper for the first goal. The Kites continued to apply pressure and demanded action from Sean on a number of occasions, even hitting the left post having sent Sean the wrong way. They also got a short corner, which we strongly defended, and cleared.
Our attacks were unrelenting, and before long some nice passing from James and JC got a ball across the centre to Viren. He quickly dropped a perfectly timed and weighted ball down through the top of the D which Tim ran onto and jabbed under the keeper (whilst being squarely wiped out, I might add) for the second goal of the day. Much in the same vein we continued to press forward with attacks building at will from the right, with Zac via James and Ash, and down the left via Nick and JC and Colin. Before long the ball fell to Tim in the D. His shot clattered off the keeper and rolled to Viren, who declined the step-over and elegantly tapped in for 3-0, and that’s how the first half ended.
The second half was soon underway, and within a couple of minutes a well worked break allowed Ash to release Rod down the right-hand side of the D. Rod passed a couple of defenders and ran the ball back in towards the goal, committing the keeper before pushing a quick ball across to a screaming Tim for a simple tap in. 4-0. This was shortly followed by another goal as Clint, who was still battling on despite much coughing and spluttering, provided a great assist to Viren who produced our 5th of the day with his customary style.
The 6th of the day followed. A good build up down the right, saw Ash pick up the ball, and bring it towards the centre. He cracked in a ferocious shot which passed through Viren (or was it a step-over?) and was skilfully deflected into the goal by Tim. Shortly after the restart, the game was punctuated by a fantastic but utterly pointless run from Viren, who circuitously went past 18 of their players and then meandered off the side of the pitch, before passing the ball to his Dad in the Club house. This renewed belief in his ability to dribble gave Viren all the impetus he needed. Only a few minutes later he skilfully took the ball into the D taking it past a number of their players before pushing it under the keeper. It popped out the other side and Tim pounced on it, just ahead of a Kites defender, and got it into the goal for the final score of the day. 7-0. There were many more chances with cracking shots at, and across the goal from Ash, JC, Clint and others but these were unfortunately, not converted.
Despite our 4 goals, the Kites continued to press hard throughout the 2nd half. They valiantly continued to challenge us, spurred on by some great play by one of their most talented players (#39). We found ourselves pushed back on a number of occasions and conceded at least 2 more short corners over the course of the half. But our defence was rock solid. The back 4 of Sean, Zac, Randy and Nick played magnificently with some great individual efforts. They were not going to be beaten, and steadfastly refused to give up our ‘clean-sheet’. We’ve now conceded just 2 goals in the last 5 matches, which is a fantastic achievement.
Finally, once I ‘volunteered’ to complete this match report, I was inundated with claims of ‘assists’ to the extent that, at one point, I had more than 23 to deal with, including 5 from Sean and 3 from Gavin who wasn’t even playing. So, I thought it would be useful to provide a dictionary definition of what constitutes an assist: “ASSIST: An assist is a play that DIRECTLY results in a goal being scored. NOTE: There is only ONE assist given on ANY goal. The assist is a pass made by one teammate to another who in turn scores a goal. Step-overs do not constitute an assist unless made, intentionally, by the team captain.” Sorry Clint / Ash - touching the ball in the same half that a goal is scored DOES NOT constitute an assist.
MOTM: My man of the match is Zac, who after an absence has come back into the team and contributed a huge amount with some tireless running and a committed and solid performance at right back.
Match Report: Tim Brennan
Man of the Match: Zac Gordon-Smith