Cup day. For the 8s, this meant some much-needed respite from a punishing start to the league season. A lack of consistency in available players, particularly at the back, had resulted in successive losses and a lack of confidence. A strong team turned up though so spirits were high for the visit of the league leaders.
The toss was won by Eric, who chose to kick uphill in the first half. The oppo kicked off, and we were underway… and immediately under pressure. Broomfield 7s are a strong, physical side who have played together for years, and their good organisation and shape paid early dividends – 1-0 quickly became 2 with their target man proving difficult to handle. Their 7 was running things from the middle, and scored a sublime lob from 35 yards as well as a volley from a quality cross from the left. 4-0 at half time was tough to take, as we had some good moments and had created chances, whilst they had scored from pretty much every shot on goal.
A rollicking in our ears, we kicked off – downhill now – and immediately got on top. We pressed the ball, got amongst them and used our greatest advantage (youth) to the maximum. A through ball down the middle was planted home by Andy for our first goal. More pressure and Andy was chopped down in the area – pen all day, 4-2. Tails very much up now, we pressed on and rode our luck. They hit the bar and the post, we hit the bar and had a free kick bent around the wall but saved well.
Finally, we had our third and a genuine sniff of a fabulous comeback – Andy was chopped down again in the area and, again, slotted the pen home bottom left. We threw all our quickest subs on, played 1 at the back and threw the kitchen sink, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough. In fairness, the better team won, but a hugely improved performance by the 8s, going forward in particular, gives much cause for optimism.