Chase Stags began the match very strong putting pressure on Lions from the start. Brandon started the game, but had to come off within minutes of the start as he wasn’t well, so Lions played with only 9 players in the first half, as Jim was also ill and Alex couldn’t make the match either. Stags took full advantage of their 2 extra players on the field, going 2 nil up within 3 minutes, with a 3rd goal 8 minutes into the first half. Lions then began to get their shape with 9 men, restructured completely, and fought back with some excellent runs from Bert and Fraser on the left side and some good defending from Luke, Jack and Shy. Chase then applied the pressure again, got awarded a corner, which Jack cleared when the cross came over, only to land at the feet of a Chase Stags forward who shot at goal again, bet Sean the goal keeper for Luke to clear off the line, blocking a certain goal, which also gave Lions a break through midfield. Liam S chased the ball down the wing with help from Martin and Lions got awarded a corner. There were some tough tackles in the penalty area, then Liam J had a great shot at goal to get Lions 1st. Lions now were taking more control of the game, winning most balls in midfield, ending the first half at 3 – 1 to Chase Stags.
Both teams came out for the second half playing excellent passing football. Brandon came back on for Lions, eager to play his part in the match and help his team mates, even though he was still feeling ill – so Lions now up at 10 men were determined to try to get a result from the match. Chase Stags were just as determined, and again applied pressure to Lions, taking advantage of the player short, and scored their 4th goal five minutes into the second half. Still not put off by the score line, Lions fought back, had some excellent midfield battles, then Martin had a great run at the Stags defence, his speed put him clear, the goalie came out to him and he put the ball round him and scored Lions 2nd goal. Liam S and Liam J had some great runs at Stags defence, Brandon had a great chance through the middle of the field but the defenders were too strong for him at that time. Stags then broke through midfield again with 2 players through on Luke, who stood strong, read the game well, blocked the pass and put the ball out for the throw so Lions could re-group at the back. Stags still coming forward, again Luke cleared the ball from the penalty area hitting it strong through midfield, which Brandon collected, found a burst of energy from somewhere, bet Stags defenders shooting at goal to score an excellent 3rd goal for Lions. In the last 5 minutes, both teams had chances for more goals, Bert cleared a Stags shot off the line, they were inches wide on another shot, Brandon had a shot saved, Lions also had another shot cleared off the line, but the game ended at Chase Stags 4 Wyrley Lions 3.
Lions worked 110% for this game. They were always going to be the underdogs without a full team, but they never let their heads drop and played with determination, believing in themselves. It was impossible to pick 1 player as man of the match, so it was decided by the parents to give all the players a man of the match award.
It was a fantastic game. Get well soon Jim, and hope Brandon feels better soon too.
Well done to everyone !