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Sun 1st December 2013 - League
Cresswell Wanderers 1 V 1 Bullets
Pitch : Cannock Cricket Club
Match Report

Match Report – Sunday 1st December – Cresswell Wanderers vs Four Oaks Bullets

BULLETS EARN A WELL DESERVED POINT

Firstly, a warm welcome to Aaron, who has recently joined the squad. He would be making his debut today and we wish him every success and hope he enjoys playing his football for the Bullets.

The Bullets were back in league action, following their first league defeat two weeks ago. The opponents were Cresswell who gave the Bullets their only hammering of the season, in the shield a few weeks ago.

Bullets rather capitulated in that game, after playing some impressive football in the first half. The team were rather guilty of allowing the opposition to dictate and boss them around. Obviously after conceding nine goals in that game, the defence had something to prove that the game was a one off. The management team decided the best way to bolster the defence, was to remove one of them and play three at the back. This however would mean Henry was to get a forward partner, in a change of team shape.

The pitch at Cresswell can best be described as a supermodel. Not exactly beautiful and elegant but, more long and thin. The Bullets have shown that the smaller pitches do not suit their style of play, so their mental approach had to be right. The fact that there were four players missing added to the size of the task ahead.

Bullets kicked uphill in the first half and started brightly, with Dan S and Henry linking up twice. Henry’s first sight of goal was deflected for a corner. The second time Henry managed to charge down the keeper’s attempted clearance but a defender got back to prevent the ball from going in. Bullets earned a free kick on the right and Henry swung the ball in, only to be denied as the keeper managed to palm the ball away. Henry was again through, following Charlie’s pass but the keeper did well to block the attempt.

Bullets were certainly looking lively going forward and were keeping the Cresswell forwards quiet. Elliot C and Sam were marking and Dan P was sweeping. Rajan was sitting in front of them and Jack Wa and Reuben were working hard down the wings. Reuben was showing his usual enthusiasm in the tackle but he gave away a free kick just outside the box. This was the first dangerous moment for the Bullets but Luke showed safe hands to collect the shot. He also produced a smart save, when a game of pinball in the Bullets box, gave Cresswell a sight of goal.

The width of the pitch produced many throw ins but the threat that Cresswell posed was nullified as Bullets defended well. Jack Wa was showing some impressive jumping skills, winning many headers in the box. Cresswell were having more possession towards the end of the half but the determined attitude of the defence was epitomised by Dan P. He won a challenge in the box but was not content with that, as he then proceeded to storm through three more tackles, as he led the charge out of defence.

Bullets very nearly grabbed the lead that their first half display deserved. Henry despite not feeling very well was working his socks off and he battled away on the right, whipping in a cross which just evaded Jack Wa in the middle.

The second half was the Bullets downfall last time but there seemed a fierce determination from the players, not to let the same thing happen this time. Now it was time to go and show it.

Aaron was having a solid debut in an unfamiliar position and he was using his possession well, it was his through ball which set up the first chance of the second half. Henry was the recipient but his shot was deflected wide.

Bullets weren’t allowing Cresswell to dominate them physically and they gave as good as they got. However the foul count was starting to stack up against them, as it seemed that the referee was not too happy with the fact that Bullets were not going to yield to a bigger Cresswell team. Dan P was pulled up for a challenge on the Cresswell forward. A free kick in a dangerous position was parried out by Luke but he was alert to catch the rebound.

Cresswell were trying to assert themselves but the defence were putting in a great performance as a threesome. Sam and Elliot C, were attacking the ball and winning their tackles, whilst Dan P was picking up the loose balls and covering well. Although possession was more even, Bullets were still showing enough going forward to suggest they were the more likely to score.

The breakthrough arrived after fourteen minutes of the second half. Dan S had to take a boot in the mush for his troubles and a free kick was awarded. Charlie took aim and the keeper was on the stretch to keep it out, although he did, Henry was perfectly placed to head the loose ball into the net. A goal the Bullets deserved.

Cresswell stepped up their efforts but so did Luke, who was bravely out to make a good save with his legs. His fellow goalkeeper Elliot B, having replaced Reuben, also showed his bravery by blocking the follow up shot. Unfortunately a few minutes later the defence was breached and Luke could not rescue the situation this time, as Cresswell found their way through the middle to equalise.

Bullets were not content to take a draw and kept coming forward, however Cresswell sensed that they could sneak it. The last ten minutes were tense but thanks to more excellent defending Bullets did not have any further scares. In fact Bullets came the closest to finding a winner, which their play richly deserved.

On the face of it a draw was a good result for the Bullets, based on the previous meeting between the two teams. If I was brutally honest I thought we were the better footballing team but the most pleasing part was the performance. The application and desire shown by the players was exceptional. It was a team effort and a hugely satisfying one for the management.

Rajan picked up the parents man of the match award for a fantastic performance in the front of the defensive three. He was dominant physically in the tackle and continually drove the team forward.

Luke picked up the manager’s award. It was a fairly quiet game for him, given the defensive display in front of him but when he was called into action he pulled off a couple of excellent saves and showed good handling skills.

Bullets and Cresswell 3 is the fixture next week. A chance to build on this result and try and take the win this time. There is also a rumour going round that the match will be at Braemar Road. Yes I know it’s a home fixture but yes we do still play at Braemar Road, so see you there. Perhaps we get there early get the nets up about 10.30 just in case!!

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