December 19 2016 10:13:41.
By Oscar Courtney
- TORNADOES V MACCABI VIPERS
Sunday 18th December, Beech Farm, KO 1.30pm, League.
On a murky Sunday afternoon, the Tornadoes lined up for our reverse fixture against Maccabi Vipers. This time, playing on our preferred surface of grass, the Tornadoes emerged victorious. That's not to say though that it was an easy tie. On the contrary, conditions were difficult, the surface was very slippery in parts and occasionally the ball didn't run true. The first half was testing but, I'd say on the balance of play, the Tornadoes were the better team, definitely creating the most chances. Therefore, we were unlucky to go in to the break, with the score even at two goals apiece, thanks to a brace from, who else, Alan Kay! Good striking instinct, coupled with great assistance from Sam Jones and Brandon Wabayi, saw Alan add to his already impressive goal tally for the season. In fact we should have been well ahead at this stage but for some great saves from the Maccabi keeper and our own profligacy in front of goal. The second half saw the Tornadoes start to click, with their football, and this time prove a lot more clinical. Alan slotted home a further two goals and Ronan delivered a sumptuous free kick in to the Maccabi net, to see the Tornadoes streak in to a 5-2 lead. At this stage of the game the Tornadoes' passing, movement and team play was breathtaking and fantastic to watch. Joe Hope, Brandon, Ronan, Harrison, Alan, Sam and Tom Williams were tearing the opposition apart with their free flowing and fast moving football. Jamie, Taylor, Joe Mountcastle and Tom W, when filling in, were well organised and marshalled in defence. At this stage I fully expected us to put the game to bed. However, my players like to do things the hard way, so imagine my sinking feeling of despair when Maccabi caught us out three times, with well worked counter attacking goals! Now, some of their strikes benefitted from a great deal of good fortune but they created a lot more and, but for the heroics of Callum Looby our keeper and his defence, Maccabi could have won this match. As it was, the boys showed tremendous character, when the momentum was clearly with our opponents, to keep battling and not surrender. Slowly, but surely, with the game level at 5-5 we rallied in defence and started to do what we do best; attack with pace and precision. With a minute to go Alan and Brandon broke together, as a duo, from midfield. Some neat, close passing between them saw Alan burst in to the penalty area. Seeing his chance, Alan shot early and low to the Maccabi keepers' right hand side, to slot the ball in at the near post. It was great to see the look of joy on Joe Mountcastle's face as he and I, in unison, looked at each other and punched the air in delight, both letting out a guttural "yessssss". Even better was the cheer that went up from the Tornadoes when the Ref blew the final whistle, just after Maccabi restarted the game from kick off. That cheer, and collective jig of celebration, signified to me the growing bond and unity amongst the boys and it was heart warming to see that team ethic manifest itself. Overall, it's been a tough first half of the season for the lads. Competitive football has proved to be a steep learning curve for all of us. It really is a different ball game now. The team have been extremely unfortunate in some games and/or tactically undisciplined in others. However, I can't fault their attitude, largely, and they've given us some tremendous football along the way. Losing Will Whipday to AFC Salford Juniors was a shocking blow to us all, but we wish him well, and we carry on as best we can! On behalf of Ricky and myself I'd like to wish the players and parents of Beechfield United U12 Tornadoes a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Final Score: Tornadoes 6 - 5 Maccabi Vipers.