Wyrley Meerkats U11 1 v Stafford Lionesses 0 AET
The Meerkats would like to dedicate their win to Natasha Whale a former member of the Wyrley Junior Football Club who tragically lost her life in a fatal car crash. Thanks to Stafford Lionesses and their supporters who behaved impeccably during a minutes silence prior to kick off; our thoughts go out to her family and friends during this tragic time.
Glorious blue skies and a warmer than average temperature provided a great environment for a fiercely contested game.
The team talk to end all team talks was given to the Meerkat Army! No hairdryer or boots were thrown but instead we prepared the girls as if they were about to leave the trenches of the Somme. They knew what was at stake, a Cup Final with either Stoke or Hednesford and a chance to go down in Wyrley folklore. The Gaffer set out a statement of intent by playing one of his strongest line-ups:
Skye in goal, Abbie and Mille ‘Stonewall’ Sturch at the back, Faith, Erin ‘the General’ and Eloise ‘The Engine’ in Midfield, with Chloe ‘Terry’ Venables leading the line.
With fixed bayonets and fire in their bellies they Meerkats embarked on their personal war! The whistle blew, CHARGE!!!!! The girls were off like things possessed, chasing down the ball at every given opportunity and taking anything in the way as well. We knew that it would be a close game and the qualities of the 2 teams are on a par. So any chance that presented itself needed to be finished. There was nothing between the 2 teams with equal amounts of pressure and possession. In fact the OPTA stats showed that Meerkat possession was 52% with a pass rate succession of 73% – amazing these stats!! A capacity crowd was roaring both sets of teams on and the decibels increased when Eloise thundered a strike just above the crossbar. The Meerkat cheerleaders were in full voice, lead by Mrs Clay, Waddilove, Sturch and Cooper – unfortunately for me I have to stand the same side as the Cheerleaders and next week I’ll be bringing my ear defenders – jeez!
The majority of the game was played in the middle of the park with the occasional break for either team. The Wyrley defence of ‘Stonewall’ Sturch, Abbie ‘Delap’ Clay and Skye ‘Deck Troll?’ Lee snubbed out every attempt in a duly manner and presented the ball to midfield to prompt a bombardment. Some great work by Skye denied the lionesses any opportunity to threaten her goal.
The ‘General’ was having a quieter game than usual but still proved effective by occasionally sitting deep in a ‘Makelele’ esque role and distributing the precision passes to Chloe, Faith and Eloise. Halftime came with the game nicely poised. The Gaffer made changes to the team by bringing Katie, Ellie ‘The Enforcer’ and Melissa on replacing Faith, Chloe and Abbie. Another team talk to end the previous team talk was given, this time fixing their minds on potentially winning some silverware. The girls psyched up with the thought of obtaining precious metals / medals took to the field. A mention goes to Katy after she headed a direct aerial ball from Skye’s boot; unfortunately she headed it towards our goal. However, I was impressed with the header as she showed bravery and the fact that she has been listening to the advice given within the training sessions – well done Kate!
The second half was virtually a carbon copy of the first – If Mrs Sturch is reading this then Carbon Copy means the same as!!!
Some nice interplay passes by the girls were causing the Lionesses some problems and a pass from Melissa towards Eloise presented a chance that was squandered. Was this going to be a Meerkat day? Another precision pass through the Lionesses den put Eloise through on goal with 2 defenders chomping at her ankle she fizzled her shot wide of the mark. This was a massive opportunity, were we going to get a break? The ‘Enforcer’ Ellie Parker was using her body as a human battering ram and charging every ball down and running at the enemy at every given opportunity.
The girls were looking tired so a rally call for them to ‘Move it’ was followed by a rendition of Reel to Reel ‘I like to move it, move it’ performed by the Cheerleaders, accompanied by some dodgy shape throwing – thanks ladies! The referee blew to signify the end of normal time and the news came across that extra time was to be played followed by a penalty shoot out. The girls took on some deserved liquid refreshment and gathered round the Gaffer. The instruction was to keep it tight and if an opportunity presented itself to strike at goal, then to do so!
The first half of AET (additional extra time – Mrs Sturch) proved a stalemate with very little to discuss, so I won’t bother. The second half commenced with both teams still in with a chance of sneaking a winner. It looked like penalties were inevitable (going to happen – Mrs Sturch) until a break out by the Meerkats led to an innocuous shot by Chloe that was inadvertently sliced into her own net by the Lioness defender. Pandemonium kicked in as the girls realised the importance of the goal, a ‘Pile on’ of Meerkats ensued with the supporters held back for Health and Safety reasons. The referee was keen to restart the game, the girls retained their composure and positions and the game restarted for all of 4 seconds – We had won
What a great effort by both teams and a great result for the Meerkats!
We now look forward to a Cup Final against Stoke Ladies who beat Hednesford 1-0 in the other Semi-Final.
Things to work on:
Charging the ball down and getting at the ball at the earliest opportunity.
Being stronger in the tackle
Height on Goal kicks
Shielding and jockeying the ball
Parent’s player Meerkat teddy thingyamajig was awarded to Mille ‘Stonewall’ Sturch for her flawless display.
Manager Player was awarded to Ellie ‘The Enforcer’ Parker for her no-nonsense attitude and battling performance.
Thanks to the supporters who provided a great atmosphere for the girls to bring home the bacon!