Lincoln College vs QEGS Sixth Form 1st XI, Wednesday 1st November 2017
Two games down, one win and a difficult season ahead. After a well deserved half-term break the QEGS Sixth Form 1st XI were back in action on Wednesday afternoon. On the road again, away at Lincoln College, the team were looking to build on their home victory against The Deepings School. With only room for 12 on the minibus and Alden Midmer being unavailable meant Mr Cope’s squad was unchanged apart from the absence of Hugo Finley.
QEGS started the first half from kick off with beautifully worked passing play involving almost every member of the team, transporting the ball into the opposition penalty area, not allowing for a single Lincoln player to touch the ball within the first two minutes, leading to a shot from Kenneally-Forrester that was blocked for a corner kick . This positive start was exactly what the team needed and a couple of chances were created early on using this momentum, but nothing would break through for the visitors. Don’t be mistaken though, Lincoln were not going to be dominated by this away team and got themselves out of first gear, creating a few chances of their own. Unfortunately for them goalkeeper Jenkins was at the ready to guard his netting and the game at this point looked like there was perhaps going to be plenty of goals at both ends.
With about 15 minutes gone Lincoln made a breakthrough. A simple goal at the near post from about 6 yards, played low and hard into the box by the home side’s winger, who had battled the ball back off the defence before it had rolled out for a QEGS throw-in, which should've been dealt with and sent into row Z before he had the chance. A shot to their own foot. With a few heads already beginning to drop, the boys now needed to dig a little deeper to get themselves back in the game. After the restart, the strike force were having no more joy when they finally got the ball, than the back four was, who were being relentlessly bombarded with Lincoln attacks. Reliably, Benton was a commanding presence, marshalling his fellow defenders in keeping everything out that home team had to throw at them.
When each Lincoln attack died down QEGS persistently used the full-backs as outlets to play out from the defence and into midfield. The best chance of the half came through this, with Jenkins beginning the attack by rolling out from his hands to Robinson who obliged to the call of Lindsey providing width on the left flank to get the ball up to the half way line. A quick pass into Gowshall just inside of him, allowed him to turn and run at the defence. After having travelled a good 25 yards he laid the ball to into Kenneally-Forrester, in a good shooting position, just left of goal. A poor shot made the chance look lost, but Gowshall was alert to run onto the loose ball that the defence had yet to deal with and the Lincoln goalkeeper was ready to pick the ball out of his net. The sound of the crossbar echoed across the field to his delight, leaving the number nine with his hands in his head, unable to convert this time.
The referee blew for half time and the team made their way over to Mr Cope. Acknowledging some good play during the half, Sir praised the boys, before making it clear that the performance was a little under par due to the large gaps between defence to midfield, and midfield to attack. This was creating more work for us and Sir encouraged the same team that showed up two weeks prior to show themselves once again in the second half. A quick substitution before the restart saw Oli Dean make way for George Littleworth, in hope to get the momentum back in QEGS’ favour. The teams were then ready to get back into action.
Starting positively once more, the away team got straight into the faces of their opponents, boxing them into their own half. The midfield looked completely different with Jenkins and Jordan putting in 110%, making transition from defence to attack look like a breeze. But the most noticeable change in performance suddenly came from Kenneally-Forrester, by not once failing to put pressure on the defence at any moment and who had a newfound hunger to get the ball to feet and drive at Lincoln with pace. The best the defenders could do to deal with it was to repeatedly put the ball out of play for a QEGS corner, which were consistently delivered into dangerous areas by the various takers. The tiring defence finally fell apart when Gowshall caught out one on the centre-backs in possession of the ball and took it past his partner before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom left corner with the inside of his left foot. QEGS were now back in the game.
Attack after attack, corner after corner the visiting side looked to take a deserved lead. But the chances grew gradually less and less and Lincoln began to slowly build themselves up again. The defence continued to remain solid though, Emerson doing a good job of man marking the loan striker and Haskins growing more confident on the ball, driving it forward with good distribution. A rare breakthrough switching from right to left turned the defence, but was dealt with comfortably for the home team’s first corner of the half. Delivered with speed at an awkward height to the edge of the 6 yard box, nobody could get the vital clearing touch as the ball bounced off bodies of both sides. Suddenly the ball sat up nicely for a loose Lincoln player to pick his spot between the helpless Jenkins and Jordan on the line and didn’t need to be asked twice to regain the lead. Downhearted once again QEGS only had a few minutes to try to turn this game around once more, an attacking substitution of Dean for Robinson would hopefully make that happen.
Another corner for QEGS led to another chance for the visiting team. The ball was delivered and cleared, but Lindsey unexpectedly came out with a volley on the edge of the box. Destined for the top right corner, eyes lit up across the field. Only to be shut in despair when they saw the ball comically blocked by the face of Jenkins, who was unable to move himself away from the flight of the ball in time. The moment summed up the game for the boys. So close, but not close enough.
Before the full-time whistle could be blown by the referee there was one more attack left inside the home side. As the ball was launched forward to their striker, Jenkins had no choice but to come and meet him as he charged into the box. Able to get a hand on the ball, but unable to remove the danger, he pushed it into the path of another loose striker following in. Who gratefully tapped the ball into the unguarded goal for 3-1.
A disappointing result once again. Similarly to that of the first game, a slow first half and tough luck in the second meant the boys couldn't kill the game off when it was in their favour. But one to learn from nonetheless. The QEGS Sixth Form 1st XI will look to defend their 100% home record next week.
Man of the Match: Jamie Jordan
Top Goal scorers 2017/18:
3 – Max Gowshall
1 – Oli Dean
1 – George Littleworth
1 – Jamie Jenkins
Match report by Ben Robinson