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Sun 20th October 2013 - Shield
Cresswell Wanderers 9 V 2 Bullets
Pitch : Cannock Cricket Club
Match Report

Match Report – Sunday20th October – Creswell Wanderers vs Four Oaks Bullets

BULLETS GET A SPANKING IN THE SHIELD

Following the exit from the cup the previous week, Bullets were in shield action this week. The shield is a cup competition but teams are drawn in leagues, the winners of the individual leagues progress to the semi finals. The Bullets shield group is made up of teams from their own division and the top teams from the division below, so it was going to be a competitive group of 7. However due to one of the teams dropping out, the Bullets free week was hastily changed to a game against Cresswell Wanderers.

Cresswell have enjoyed a good start to their league campaign, so a tough fixture was expected. The first thing to notice about the pitch, was it was very long but very narrow. The side line was only a couple of steps from the penalty box. Obviously the home team would be used to playing on it, so it was up to the Bullets to adapt quickly.

Bullets started well, Henry linked with Jack Wa, who struck a strong shot but it was straight at the keeper. Unfortunately a couple of minutes later, Cresswell took the lead, when the ball took a deflection into the path of a Cresswell player, who fired in a long range shot over Elliot B in goal. The Bullets response was immediate. Max took a throw in on the right, Henry skipped away from his marker and was into the box, placing a shot just out of the keeper’s grasp to equalise for the Bullets.

The half settled down to a distinct pattern, Cresswell had the majority of the possession but Bullets were rock solid in front of Elliot B. On the break Bullets were causing no end of problems to the Cresswell defence. Time after time Bullets managed to set up good chances, with some excellent balls through the middle but they could not find a second goal that their play deserved. Henry, Jack Wa and Ellis were all denied.

Defensively the Bullets were excellent in the first half, coping well with the numerous long throws which were very dangerous given the pitch dimensions. It was one goal each at half time and the Bullets could be pleased with their first half performance.

However, all of the great work in the first thirty five minutes was immediately undone by some poor defending in the first thirty seconds of the second half. Poor attempts at tackling allowed the Cresswell player to waltz through and put them two one ahead. The next nine minutes was equally as poor as Bullets forgot the art of defending, allowing Cresswell to increase their lead two further times. Whilst this carnage was going on in the Bullets box, Bullets had a couple of chances to add to their own tally but the target was missed each time.

It was a shocking ten minutes and the game was effectively over but give the players credit, they managed to drag themselves back into it, when Charlie drilled home from close range, when the keeper dropped Henry’s cross. A few minutes later a long clearance was seized on by Reuben, who battled his way into the box, only to be felled. Penalty! Still plenty of time left, as Henry strode up to take the spot kick. He struck his kick well but too close to the keeper, who made a good save.

It could have been game on but it was quickly game off, as Cresswell forced a corner. A free header increased their lead back to three. This completely knocked the stuffing out of the Bullets and they rather capitulated. It was a difficult fifteen minutes to endure from the sideline, as Bullets conceded four further goals. There seemed little of the qualities on show,  that had been the hallmark of the performances so far in the season. Bullets rather let their opponents have the run of the game and it was a relief when the full time whistle went. A heavy defeat was no more than the Bullets deserved, after such a woeful second half performance.

The post mortem took place after the game. Rather than the hair-dryer treatment, it was more a controlled assessment of the player’s performance that took place. Quite frankly the second half apart from a couple of moments, was an utter shambles. Tackling was non-existent, work rate and the desire was totally missing. No one could have foreseen such a performance after an impressive first half showing.

No awards were given out as individually and more importantly collectively, Bullets were nowhere near the levels they had shown so far in the season. Best not to dwell too much on the result, time to move on and look forward to the rest of the season.

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