Home News Prestwood Lose To Taplow in Top of the Table Thriller
Prestwood Lose To Taplow in Top of the Table Thriller PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Michael Brown   
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 09:40

Prestwood Colts 2 v 3 Taplow

The much awaited top of the table clash with Taplow produced a really competitive game, even though the surface was more akin to an ice rink in certain parts of the pitch. For some of our lads, who played for Taplow 2 seasons ago, this was an opportunity to renew acquaintances with some old teammates, but as Dave and Mark implored pre match it was important to ignore these friendships until after the game. Our final words were to leave nothing on the pitch and it was self evident watching the match from the sidelines how the lads to a man followed this instruction as they played with the type of passion and commitment that had been missing in a couple of games recently.

From the kick off you could understand from the way Taplow attacked us that they were a dangerous side and in the opening minutes they created a couple of chances which may have gone in on another day. However, we soon settled down and it was evident that the team were up for the game, and our neat passing football soon began to set up chances at the other end. From the sidelines it looked an even contest. Taplow were playing a more direct long ball game looking to get their quick attackers beyond our last man. Our approach was more through quick one touch football, and trying to spread the ball to the wide areas where the surface was more consistent and easier to move on into forward areas.

The deadlock to this tense thriller was broken when we missed a succession of chances to tackle their talented number 20, who skipped through a few challenges on the edge of the 18 year box leaving space behind to pick his spot beyond the advancing David. It was a soft goal, and one was left thinking if the surface had been more predictable would one of our challenges have dealt with the threat.

Lesser teams may have capitulated at this point against a team playing with a lot of verve and confidence, but our lads know they have the ability and desire to bounce back and this they did with a serious of attacking moves and sweeping passes that highlighted why we were top of the league going into this game. Ross had one good chance but fired the ball straight at their impressive keeper West. However, Will Taylor who was at this stage playing in a forward left wing role, found sufficient space, after some neat inter passing, to cut inside and fire a superb low strike away from their diving keeper to find the net to equalize. We continued after this to apply the pressure for a 10 minute period and one sensed that Taplow not only knew they were in a game but also were aware we had the ability to hurt them. A series of excellent tackles and imposing headers across the pitch from various Prestwood players helped prevent Taplow from re-establishing any forward momentum and it was beginning to look like the day could be ours. But football is a fickle friend, and just before half time a mishit infield pass from our left side fell kindly to one of their advancing players in the final third and suddenly an alarming gap opened up in our defence and we found ourselves 2 v 1 down. There then followed a crazy couple of minutes when Taplow, buoyed on by this goal against the run of play, had further chances to add to their lead and it was almost with relief when the half time whistle blew.

The half time chat revolved around praising the lads for their spirit and highlighting that our best chance of getting back into the game was through exploiting opportunities to run at their full backs. We did not need to chase the game and if we showed enough patience the openings would come.

Unfortunately, the pitch was becoming ever more greasy and unpredictable as it cut up, and the second half soon had anyone venturing around the centre circle area at risk of losing their footing. This seemed to affect confidence and more and more passes were getting mis-hit as players from both teams battled with the vagaries of the pitch. It was still a full blooded encounter and there were some very strong challenges with our defence remaining solid against a number of quick fire long balls fired over the top. We ourselves were having joy down flanks, with Nick in particular putting in a typically barnstorming runs, but though we set up some dangerous attacks, regrettably Taplow did a very good job marshalling their 18 yard box and we never found ourselves in clear on goal striking positions. Even our strength at corners was nullified as the opposition did well to minimise the number they conceded. And then the substitute for Taplow, following another long clearance, through a quick sprint found himself ahead of the defence with most of the Colts team in the other half. David came off his line but their striker had time and space to pick his spot. 3v1 and with a few minutes to go it looked game over, especially as moments later they could have made it 4 but for an excellent instinctive leg split from David which deflected a goal bound shot. But don’t count against the indefatigable spirit of our team and within a couple of minutes our concerted pressure forced a glaring hand ball. Michael continued his excellent run of conversions and we were back in it. Now Taplow were stretched and doing everything to hold onto the game. Tackles were flying in including one eye watering 50:50 involving Owen. And with moments to go Joe sent in a perfect cross. Sam rose acrobatically to attempt a flying scissor with Nick placed handily behind him in space. It would have been just reward if we had forced an equaliser but the dramatic shot skewed wide. Game over, representing our first league defeat ever in youth football, but we showed in the 90 minutes that we are more than capable of reversing the result at their place and putting us back in pole position for the title.


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