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The Urchins dominated proceedings but were unable to break down a resilient Tigers defence in a goalless draw.....
Unknown to most of us, and told to me after the game, is that this game was to be our last league game in 2013. The next time the Urchins kick a ball in anger will be in 2014, let’s hope that the 2014 ball is kicked a bit nearer the net than this ball, in this game.
We are away at one of our favourite venues, Bretons, but this time we have a vast expanse of car park places available, we have the Nirvana of an early morning kick off. The morning started mild, and lost a few degrees towards the cusp of cold just as game time approached.
Dave takes the pre match warm-up, some stretching, running before finishing off with shots on goal. I am not sure how many of these uncontested balls went in the goal, but likely it was a damn sight more than during the game.
Mike had a full squad, and in my opinion this is a double edged sword, we have a pool of talent, all wanting game time, Mike is undoubtedly future watching, and rightly so, with the thought of 11 a side games next year we need footballers to take on this challenge, but in the meantime in the 9 a side world we are surplus. In my humble opinion this has been a pivotal point in games, often we see different teams in the two halves and in this game, I would venture that the first half team, although not scoring, had the better chances than the second half team.
One piece of quirky information is that the Urchins remained unbeaten when wearing the sky blue kit, and although previous games were winning games a draw keeps this statistic alive.
The first half was spent mainly on the attack, and in large parts in the Tigers’ half. The Tiger defence was dogged, packed and often scavenged the ball away from the Urchin attack (please note canine metaphors for a feline named team). The Tiger goal keeper was able but was never challenged with a difficult shot. The ball that was in his hands was as a result of a miss a scuff or a stray ball. At the other end the Urchin defence kept the Tigers at bay, the odd long ball came through but these were cleared competently. The Urchin wide players linked up nicely with the centre, and although no product was evidenced the potential was there.
Half time saw player rotations take effect, four players off and four on, with changes to defence, midfield and up front. It was like watching two different games, and given that the Urchins are not renowned for a fast start, bedding in took near half the half. Tigers defended in numbers, getting players behind the ball and breaking through long balls for their lone forward to chase. Despite the possession stats favouring the Urchins, the best chances came and went in the second half with scuffed shots, missed opportunities and the odd save here and there. The best chance to break the deadlock came and went on the decision of the match official, when in the dying minutes, an Urchin was felled in the box for what looked like a penalty. Alas the referee saw it differently and no whistle sounded. Given that the Urchin penalty conversion rate is lower than the belly of a snake, a penalty would not have guaranteed a goal, but it would have undoubtedly been the best chance on a day when golden opportunities were few and far between.
All in all, a difficult game, it would be fair to say that the Urchins bossed the game but that the Tigers defended soundly and deserved the credit of a clean sheet. Points shared all round. On the plus side, the Urchin defence was equally miserly. On the hopeful side, how long before we see another strong and dominant Urchin performance and on the inquisitive side what has happened to the Urchin strike force?
As this will be the last match review of 2013, and as I also watched Sports Personality of the Year last night where an award is given to sporting “Unsung Heroes” I suggest that thanks and good fortune be wished upon Mike, Gary, Rob and Dave, I am not suggesting that they are our Heroes, that would be a step too far, especially as they have to get on top of this player rotation system.