After the pre-match coin toss, the Stingrays had the kick off...
After another storming run from Spencer S into the Silver End box, a neat pass was placed to Jasiu C who hit a first time looping shot which went over the keeper but unfortunately bounced off the cross bar and away from danger. Soon after, a fine long pass from Ryan E into the box was hit first time on the run by Sam S - the shot beat the oncoming keeper but hit the bottom of the post and bounced away to safety.
During these early stages, the Stingrays defence had little to trouble them, the defensive pairing of George D and George W were always alert to clean up any advance by Silver End into the Stingrays half.
As the half progressed, Silver End become more dominant in the game and began to create chances. The new defensive pairing of Oliver R and Spencer S were working their socks off to subdue a Silver End attack which had found its rhythm, surging forward at every opportunity. With the number of attacks, it was only time before the visitors created some clear chances, but luckily for the Stingrays, Freddie G between the sticks was in fine form. One shot destined to nestle in the net by the right hand post was superbly saved, soon followed by Freddie quickly shutting down a Silver End forward, blocking the shot when he was through one on one.
Half time came, with no score - honour’s even at this stage was a fair reflection of the balance of play. The half time talk with the boys was to close the opposition down a little quicker. The opposition were being allowed too much time, with a little bit too much ball watching by the Stingrays, but I am sure the morning heat was also taking its toll on the boys.
After refuelling, the boys re-entered the field of play with George W taking up the position between the sticks and Freddie G leading the line, giving Ryan E a well-deserved breather after his tireless work in the first half.
The second half kicked off and the Stingrays were immediately on top. The boys were putting pressure on the Silver End players all over the pitch, and within 2 minutes, they were rewarded for this early pressure with the opening goal. With a Silver End defender in possession on the edge of his box, Freddie G immediately shut him down, took the ball and toe poked it past the keeper. 1-0 Stingrays……….and the whole team entertained the crowd with a coordinated Fortnite dance celebration. The one thing the Stingrays boys know how to do is celebrate a goal!!
With a bit of breathing space, the Stingrays took their foot off the gas a little, which was probably wise considering the conditions and the level of effort they had put into the early stages of the second half. Though they backed off a little, the Stingrays were still in control with Silver End not really creating any real chances of note – the visitors did not step up their performance to the level seen in the latter stages of the first half.
Though with six minutes to go, the visitors gave themselves a glimmer of hope by pulling one back. With the Stingrays defense trying to play the ball out from the back with some short passes, the ball unfortunately skipped off the bobbly pitch and to the Silver End striker who prodded home from close range. 2-1 and the pressure was back on the Stingrays to not let the game slip.
From this point on it was end to end, with Silver End pushing for the equaliser. With the game entering injury time, the Stingrays won a corner on the left hand side. Ollie W crossed into the near post where Ryan E, running in from the edge of the box, finished with fine volley that left the keeper no chance......and you guessed it, another team Fortnite celebration! 3-1 Stingrays, and with the final whistle following soon after, the boys had maintained their unbeaten run in 2018.
It was another great team effort by all the Stingrays. Even when under pressure and in the stages of the game when the opposition are the stronger team, our boys are resilient and are able to prevent the opposition taking any real advantage. This comes from a real team effort from front to back, all the boys working for each other, which is great to see.
Well done all - a tough game in tough conditions - warm weather and a dry bobbly Laundry Lane pitch to deal with - but again you came through and performed great and another positive result.
MotM was Freddie G. With a great first half in goal, ensuring a clean sheet with a couple of excellent saves, and a second half leading the line with great effort and persistence, it was a well-deserved award - well played Freddie.
Thank you to Paul Welland for another excellent refereeing performance and thanks to all who helped set up and put away the goals.
Next match: Away to Sporting 77 Piranhas. KO TBC.