|Ascot United Wanderers||1|
Final Score: Ascot United Wanderers 1 Finchampstead Rhinos 2
End of Q1: 1-0
End of Q2: 1-0
End of Q3: 1-2
End of Q4: 1-2
Scorers: Sam (28), Charlie (30)
This turned out to be a game of two halves.
Q1: Following a cold rain shower before and during kick-off, Rhinos were sluggish from the off, unable to keep much possession up the pitch in the first quarter, and Ascot Wanderers had an imposing presence, most of the possession, passed very well, worked very hard to break us down and mostly succeeded.
The majority of the play was in the Rhinos half, and our defence was kept busy. The Ascot keeper had little to do except watch the game, though Tobias had a couple of half chances to keep their keeper from getting too cold.
It was looking increasingly likely that Ascot were going to score, and sure enough they did, with a good run down their left wing, followed by an excellent cross that evaded four or five Rhinos players.
The unmarked Ascot number 11 was onto the ball in a flash and struck it well, through Matthew's legs and into the net. 1-0 Ascot.
Q2: Rhinos brought on Ethan for Mitchell, Luke for Tobias and Joe for Charlie, but Ascot continued to dominate and Rhinos were under the cosh.
Matthew saved fantastically well on the line, it was nearly in and that would have been a big psychological boost to Ascot. Rhinos hung in but we couldn't see how we were going to salvage much out of this one. Time for a team talk.
Q3: Second half Rhinos made further changes, the sun came out, it warmed up and suddenly Rhinos started to play proper football. Rhinos passing and possession improved, so much so that we were starting to threaten the same goalmouth at the same level that Ascot had in the first half. Luke in particular held the ball up fantastically well, bringing our attacking players into play with some great footwork to keep possession and solid passing.
Within four minutes Rhinos were level - following some sustained pressure up the pitch, Charlie fired an aerial ball into the area and Sam, alert to the ball got there first, managing to chest the ball into the net on the volley before the keeper had a chance to react. The finish wasn't pretty but it was effective. 1-1!
Rhinos were on a roll now and within two minutes went ahead. Sam crossed the ball near the box from the left to Charlie on the right wing. Charlie struck a lovely ball on-target, and although the keeper got something on the ball, it slipped onto the near post and in. 1-2 Rhinos!
Rhinos were sensing blood and the pressure continued, with cross after cross unable to find the feet of Tom, Luke, Mitchell and Oli, all begging to be converted but they just could not get a clean contact with the ball. Charlie was working exceptionally hard on the right wing. Joe was defending fantastically well and with real energy, as was Ethan with some great passing and blocking. Rhinos were really a team transformed and Ascot had no answer.
Q4: With further changes to the team, as both sides were beginning to tire, the game stretched and it was end-to-end stuff. Tobias had a great stint on the left wing and played some great balls through, as did Oli. Mitchell was moving and tackling well.
Matthew commanded his defence really well in the closing stages, with Sam just in front, and Rhinos soaked up the pressure and secured a fabulous comeback to win the Cup in style. Cue some on-pitch celebrations!
A special mention to Hyun-Mo. Rhinos are only allowed to play a maximum of ten boys per fixture, so one player had to miss out. Hyun-Mo was the player to miss playing today, but he was there for the team all the way through today, played his part in getting the team to the final, and was absolutely brilliant on the sidelines.
Well done Hyun-Mo!
Defence: Sam, Charlie
Mid: Oli, Mitchell, Tom
Subs: Ethan, Joe, Luke
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