You know how you wake up some days and know there are things you just have to do? In my case, this was drop Eleanor at the match, dash off home to collect wife and younger, teenage daughter, drop wife at work and teenage daughter at hockey for her match then dash back for the Panthers’ midday kick off.
You also know that something will go awry!!!
“It will be tight,” I thought, as I hustled as fast as the speed limit would allow past as many cars and other vehicles as possible, down Broad Lane, onto Long Lane and into the ground. I parked up and, glancing across to the match pitch, saw a kick off in progress.
“Just in time after all,” I muttered as I hurried up past the clubhouse to where my stand in scribe (aka Eldest Daughter) was, hopefully, taking the notes I had asked her for just in case I was late.
The kick off was the result of Wyrley going 1-0 up!!! We had scored our first goal and I had missed it!!! To top it all, stand in scribe was not even sure who got it!!!! The match had kicked off early…….
A quick scan round showed we had Ruby “Guzan” in goal, Lily (twin) at right back, Shannon at left back and Eleanor in her customary central defensive role. Chloe was in midfield and stand in scribe had listed Lily (not twin) and Ellie up front. Eldest Daughter never could tell her midfield from her attack…..Madison, Millie and Lateisha were resplendent on the sidelines in their red bibs, eager for their chance.
Eldest Daughter claimed that first goal had gone in almost straight from kick off, so, if there is a prize for fastest goal in the league, we may be in with a shout. It turned out that our first ever goal scorer was Shannon.
A couple of further chances followed soon after, with Ellie shooting over but Burntwood not letting Wyrley have it all their own way. Wyrley hit the post too, before Shannon scored her and Wyrley’s second midway through this first half, Ellie hitting the post almost immediately after the restart. Wyrley were definitely on top and clearly enjoying themselves, but that second goal seemed to galvanise the visitors, who brought the first save from Ruby “Guzan” on the quarter of an hour played mark. An enforced change was required with Lily’s (not twin) departure, as Millie took up the centre forward mantle. Play continued and Burntwood regained the ball in midfield. A strong break down the Wyrley right, some weak tackling and a fierce shot saw Ruby beaten at her near post, the shock of conceding almost palpable amongst those Wyrley fans near me. It was a good strike by the Burntwood number 2 and the game was anyone’s to win from here.
The Wyrley players were undaunted and unphased by this loss of a goal, however, as they went back to business straight from the kick off. Pressing forward once more, several nerves (alright, mine…) were calmed a minute before the break as Ellie slotted home the third for Wyrley. It was a happy crew that left the field at half time.
The second half kicked off at 12:20 promptly and, in a perhaps surprising move, I was there to see it! Burntwood’s team talk had given them fresh hope if their quick start was anything to go by, as they shot wide with the first chance of this second half. However, proving that bribery is wholly acceptable in the field of organised crime and junior football management, the promise of a MacDonald’s (each!!!) after the match if they scored ten was a clear incentive to the Panthers and Shannon made it 4-1 after four minutes of the half. A hat trick for the “twin with the black boots” (it is the only way I can tell the two of them apart….) was a great reward for her clear talents as a player over each of the games played so far but also for the team’s performance today. Burgers and nuggets clearly in mind, the Panthers pressed home their advantage, with efforts against the side netting and a stunning tackle from Eleanor in midfield winning back the ball, stopping one attack dead in its tracks, as Burntwood tried to rally. Millie also took an ankle knock, but gamely played on as each side tried to forge on. Wyrley again won the duel, however, as Ellie used a combination of her knee and the Burntwood left hand post to score her second and Wyrley’s fifth. It was now 5-1 to Wyrley – half way to a Happy Meal!!!
All the Wyrley players were rotated through the game and Lateisha and Chloe did sterling service on the Wyrley left, breaking up different attacks as Burntwood, to their enormous credit, refused to yield. Ruby was forced into a good save eleven minutes into the half and again a few minutes later. Wyrley were still pressing though, with Lily (twin) shooting wide and Lily (not twin) very narrowly wide soon afterwards.
That was the end of the game and a deserved win for the home side, all of whom had shown that the early promise alluded to in the previous match report was no Scotch mist.
Burntwood had been great opponents, trying hard throughout the game and with a growing strength in attack which may well see them earn their first win soon enough – so long as it is not against us!!! They refused to let their heads drop as the deficit grew and are due full plaudits for their part in what had been a great game to watch.
A strong and purposeful Wyrley were not to be denied today, though. With everyone playing their part, all that remained was to tot up the score, as the girls felt they had scored more than the five recorded. The referee confirmed it had been 5-1 to Wyrley, however, so that is how our first win will be recorded in history and remembered by ten girls who gave their all for the team today. Shannon was credited with a hat trick and Ellie with the other two.
To top off what this biased Dad thinks has been a continuously meritorious performance throughout the four games so far, Eleanor was voted “Player of The Match”. I did not vote but please accept a personal thanks to those who did from me in my alter ego role of “Eleanor’s Dad”. She is as pleased as punch, but that award could have gone to any of a number of players over the past few weeks and no doubt will be shared around as the games roll on.
Well done Wyrley Panthers!
RESULT: Wyrley Panthers U10 Girls 5 – 1 Burntwood Phoenix.