Hobbs Hill Wood 4 Hobletts Manor 0
We're through to the final and deservedly so.
I'll start by saying that this match couldn't have been more different from our quarter-final. Which was both positive and important.
Before the match I had given the boys a couple of key reminders: 1) It is possible to be determined to win the ball without fouling the opposition. 2) Don't keep asking the referee for fouls to be given. (As I was going to be the ref, I explained to them that if they asked for a foul, I would be less likely to give it! So there!)
The match started at a fairly frenetic pace and our passing game was not as free flowing as I would have liked. We were quick to win the ball, but slow to do something positive with it. The opening was fairly even without any clear-cut chances being created by either side.
And then we scored. There was some passing somewhere on the field and Alfie slotted it home.
I would like to go into more detail but it's hard to focus on refereeing and make perfect mental notes of how the ball hit the back of the net. After the match, Ollie described all of our goals as being a bit 'sweaty' but I'm not sure that was 100% accurate.
From that moment, we were very...erm...functional? We were incredibly solid at the back, completely restricting Hobletts' attacking options. Going forward, we didn't take any risks - meaning that created only a few chances of our own. I seem to recall a great chance being pulled wide at the far post (some might describe it as an open goal, but the angle was quite tight) and a powerful drive rebounding back off the cross bar.
Kieran made it 2-0 before half-time with some kind of a shot from somewhere that went in. (Can you tell that I have zero recall of the details?)
The half-time team talk consisted of me telling the players to carry on doing what they were doing and don't do anything rash that might get them back into the game. (Don't forget that 2-0 is a very dangerous scoreline.)
The second half was more of the same. Their 'keeper was kept very busy with shots coming in from all angles, but he wasn't helped by some defensive errors in front of him. In one passage of play, the ball pinballed around their area for what seemed like an eterinty before Kieran made it 3-0. (It may have been Alfie!)
Minutes later, we put the game beyond doubt with another strike from Alfie (or Kieran).
As always, it's very easy to heap all of the praise on our goal scorers, but this was another fantastic team performance. Our 'keeper looked strong between the sticks, our defenders were immense and our midfielders never stopped running from the first minute to the last.
Whatever happens in the final, we have already done incredibly well. And whatever happens in the final, we get to do it all again next year with exactly the same team.
No one is going to want to play us!