Worplesdon Phoenix vs VWFC
24/09/2016 Worplesdon Phoenix 2 - 1 Virginia Water
GWAFL Division 3
Report by Dan Basheer
Virginia Water's A team were derailed at Worplesdon, after winning their first two games of the season, the team were undone by a physically strong Worplesdon side. However, the mitigating circumstances for Waters on the day were that they were left short of a full squad of players with 3 members of the team (and starting 11) withdrawing on the morning of the game due to illness, and they had to start the game with 10 players, as Ross Miller made his way to the game straight from work - which the team was very grateful for. A combination of other absences and injuries meant that the loss of the 3 players before kick off would be very difficult for Waters to get replacements in, as it so proved.
However, Waters did not start the game too badly, but soon found that Worplesdon's tactics for the game would be to rough up the away side's younger players, and then look for the direct approach to their big centre forward. However, with some players playing out of position due to the withdrawals, the back line did not look too troubled, but Waters were struggling to get the ball down and play the same quality of football they had in their last two games.
The home side's first goal came from a defensive lapse when Waters left two players unmarked at the back post following a half-cleared Worplesdon corner. Goalkeeper Dan Roach did excellently to stop the initial shot from six yards out, but couldn't hold the ball. In the ensuing melee on the goal line, the referee missed a kick to the young goalkeeper and the ball was prodded in with him prone on the floor, when a free-kick looked like the obvious outcome. Waters tried to get back into the game, but did not really test the home goalkeeper. Worplesdon's second goal came on the stroke of half time. The referee, who had a poor game in general, also missed the handball from the Worplesdon forward that pushed the ball into his path. But the strike from the edge of the area was one he will probably not hit again as it flew past Roach into the far corner.
With Waters 2-0 down at half time, player-manager Dan Basheer had some harsh words to say to the team, and Waters did start the second half the brighter of the teams. Miller and Ollie Rosborough began to see more of the ball, and the away side started to look more threatening. Waters pulled a goal back when Jake Basheer's lay-off set Rosborough free. He evaded two challenges and finished smartly into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area.
Waters kept pushing for an equaliser, but too often the play was broken down due to a lack of quality with a pass or a wrong decision being made. The defence held firm from the direct tactic of the home side, with Tom Flower and Dylan Haslam coping admirably at the back. Ashley Scott was making a nuisance of himself up front, but the service to him and Jake Basheer was sparse and neither were able to get into the game as they would have liked. Miller and Rosborough tried to drive the team forward from midfield, but at this level of football, sometimes the midfield gets bypassed. Waters, however, did almost grab an equaliser towards the end of the game. Dan Basheer's clipped ball over the full back caught out the Worplesdon defence, and Jake Basheer was in a race to get to the ball before the onrushing goalkeeper. Basheer junior did win the race, but the angle was tight and the bounce of the ball wasn't kind, and he couldn't quite steer the ball into the net - it bounced off the post and was cleared away by the home defence.
It was a disappointing day for Waters, who now have a week off before their next game, and will be hoping that there will be players returning and fit to play in their next fixture.
MoM = Tom Flower
Ollie Rosborough (c)