16th March 2016
The Bilton Faders travelled to Repton school on Sunday evening to take on a teachers side for their first ever competitive match. The side was comprised of regular Monday night players and a guest, in a friend of a friend, who proved a worthy addition.
The match was played in three twenty mins tranches to help those over the age of forty to catch their breath. We agreed to play 10 a-side on a ¾ size pitch and we were lucky to have two rolling subs which allowed us to remain relatively fresh. I think there was a collective sigh of relief that we did not embarrass ourselves in what was a competitive but well spirited match. We lost the first third 1-0, as we started tentatively probably showing the opposition a little too much respect. We sat quite deep which allowed the Repton side more space to launch attacks and they created a few chances and converted a soft chance which frustrated and galvanized the Faders.
From that goal on the Faders did not look back. The break at the end of the first third allowed a regrouping and a slight change of plan as the Faders looked to push higher, keep the ball, mark tightly at the back and expose their weaker players. Our Captain, Ollie Luard was imposing on the right and Richard Nicholson controlled all the good Faders play being regularly involved and proving a secure release option. Mark Swaby worked hard in the midfield and the opposition were brave if they tried to take him on the outside, often failing. The second third started brightly and while the Repton teachers snuck another well taken goal on a very tight angle the Faders created chances. One of these was converted by Peter Ingham, the guest, in what I recall as a half volley buried firmly into the top of the net. A most impressive strike. Steve Wiltshire proved consistent, reliable and solid in defence. Stephen Womack was energetic moving between right back and right half, constantly putting pressure on the opposition when they had the ball and made a crucial safe in the second third. A personal highlight was seeing Simon Smith put pressure on the young England U21 player to force an error and a midfield turnover, one to be remembered, before Simon unfortunately twisted his knee and could play no more part in the match. We wish him a speedy recovery.
The final third was a 0-0 draw but the Faders probably created more chances than in the previous two thirds. More space was opening up as player fatigue kicked in but David Reay showed no such signs of fading as he continued to track down young speedy ball carriers. Charlie Bantoft worked hard covering various positions from playing up front to dropping into defence in the final third. Richard Tarrant relished the goalie responsibilities and made a number of good saves, moving early to close down any opposition chances. Jason Wenham followed the game plan and often found space in the front line especially on the left.
Many thanks to Repton for the fixture, which we all concluded was a great success despite the 2-1 score line, and to the Bilton Grange OBs Ollie Rogerson and Hugo Swaby for umpiring. I normally try to inject a dash of humour into a match report but this was such a business like performance, with such good effort levels, that there is nothing to say other than congratulations to a job well done. Looking forward to the return fixture with our all-important away goal!