A sunny and hot Monday morning for St Helens WFC at Ruskin Drive saw what looks on paper - from the score - like a one sided game. But the reality wasn’t quite like that; as you, dear reader, will discover. So; first the Stats.; then the Story.
Reds 6 (2) v 0 (0) Blues
Scorers:- Steve (2), Tom, Mick, Colin, Les.
Reds:- Steve F, Tom, Mick, Colin, Les, John H, Dave T, Dave R, Wayne. Blues:- Andy, Martin B, Martin W, Nigel, Tony, Geoff, Brian, Len, Phil In the absence of both El Presidente Peter and Coach John D, but also Gaz and Chris; let’s just say the usual warm up was…errr…..brief. And without the usual Moneyball exercise and the reluctance of anyone to volunteer to pick sides we just chose to go with ‘OK, you lot over there will play us lot over here’. To be fair, I think everyone was pretty happy with that. The first part of the first half was pretty even. Both sides showed some good movement and growing confidence with the temporary change from 3 touch to unlimited. But then some loose passing by Blues let both Colin and Steve in for Reds to gain a two goal. And that two nearly became 3 but for the fact that Steve’s finish was adjusted to marginally be in the penalty box. Half time, a welcome drink and a breather. Blues went into a huddle. What were they planning? We soon found out. Straight from the off in the 2nd half Blues played much higher up the pitch, pressing on the Reds who struggled to get it out of their half. Tight on all options out from the keeper; only resolute defending by the Reds kept the score at 2-0. And when that line was breached some effective – if eccentric (!) - goal keeping by Les meant Blues still didn’t score. But Phil, Andy, Len and Nigel were snapping at Red heels and the game was mostly played in one half of the field. But the problem with a high press is can you sustain the energy levels? And, if you aren’t careful, you leave gaps at the back. And as the 2nd half wore on; that’s what happened. Steve got his 2nd with one that was just the right side of the penalty box line, Mick added another and then a sublime move ended with a ball from Colin on the by line to Tom who coolly slotted home for 5-0; putting the game out of reach. As we got warning shouts for 5, 3 and 1 minute to go Reds kept their concentration to try and keep a rare clean sheet. And then, deep into the last minute, Les gathered the ball on the left, moved forward and then unleashed a cracker – indeed, phew what a scorcher - into the corner of the net for the goal of the game. Referee Mikaylo took one look at the ball nestling in the back of the goal and blew the final whistle. He knew, we all knew, that no-one was going to top that. A fine end to an enjoyable match. And – to be fair – the final score didn’t do justice to the endeavour and skill shown by both sides. Well done everyone!