End of an Era
Sunday 24th April 2022
Result : Old Wilsonians 1 - 0 Coulsdon Athletic Eagles
Today was a special day for us all
We were away to Old Wilsonians for our final game of the season and the last day that The Eagles play together.
A report of epic proportions as it includes a little review as well as some much deserved ‘thank yous’.
At the start of the match we agreed that what we had built together for the last few years meant that today was an opportunity to do something special one last time.
Old Wilsonians had practically signed a new team since we saw them last, and that had turned their fortunes around, so it was going to be a tough final fixture.
The match kicked off and we took a little bit of time to settle in the first 10-15 mins and after a little bit of pressure we eventually started to find our rhythm.
It was a physical encounter, nothing wrong with that, but The Eagles were rising to the challenge, better than we had ever done before.
Ethan and Lally, rotating with Joe, were controlling the centre of defence well and Ardz and Donny were keeping the back four solid.
Lige and Shawn were not only protecting the defence but in turn they were carrying the ball forward very well.
We just couldn’t quite get a clear cut chance, but the game was now firmly being played in their half.
Jakey was wide on the left, Our Skipper was out on the right, and Murf was playing behind Tommy in the centre.
Now we were creating, we were playing the ball around the oppo’s and they were getting frustrated and losing their discipline. There were now some poor tackles going in from OW to try and stop the attacks, and the yellow cards started to quite rightly come out by the ref.
On about 30 mins a counter attack saw the oppo break upfield and they worked the ball into our box. As we went to clear the ball, one of their nudged it forward and it was met with a low shot into the bottom corner past Xand.
1-0 to the Hatchet Merchants. Disappointing but we were playing well, so could afford to feel positive and a little hard done by.
We reacted well, kept playing the ball through the lines and getting it wide. Still the poor tackles came in. Murf had a chance with a free kick, then Eeef, their ill discipline was giving us half chances, but not quite the equaliser.
Literally just before half time a heavy challenge went in on our Skipper, and understandably he reacted. Unfortunately after a bit of a melee Dan got a yellow card for his reaction as did the culprit of Hatchet FC, problem was though Dan showed a bit too much frustration and the ref took that as dissent and stuck him in the Sin Bin for 8 minutes!! So harsh. After all we had to put up with, and one of our players snaps and we get done!! I can’t blame Dan for what he did, it was just unfortunate, and of course we always leave ourselves to conquer Everest.
So we started off the second half with 10 men, and within 20 seconds we built a good attack with an opportunity of a shot with H taking up a good position but being closed down and blocked!! So close!!
Lige carried the ball forward well and after beating three players, got hacked down, now their centre mid was on a yellow. Now up to four yellows for the Hatchets.
We were the team with 10 men but you wouldn’t have known, we were controlling this game. Tommy was unlucky with a shot, Murf had one blocked, then Adz, it just wouldn’t fall for us.
Adz, Jay and H were doing a tremendous job as a front 3 without a centre forward, chasing everything down and making it difficult for OW. They were showing so much determination.
The 8 minutes passed and we could bring another player on, which just made us stronger. The oppos were now desperate resorting to Route One, again, amazing that the quality goes with the discipline.
I was really proud of My Boys and their performance so far, even if we were 1-0 down. One of the best of the season.
Our skipper was now back on. He was operating on the right with Tommy in the middle. A very well worked move saw the ball move from our keeper to the back four, through to Shawn, and with a nice little interchange with Lige, the ball was moved to Murf, and slid a nice pass through to Dan. He pushed on into the box and drove a shot across goal that just flew the wrong side of the post!!!! Unlucky!!!! Could we find that equaliser??
A good move came through midfield and the ball got played to Tommy’s feet with back to goal, a great turn saw him get clear of their centre mid, and away. A brutal hack of his legs to stop him in his tracks saw him get his second yellow - and a totally deserved red card.
No matter what we tried, corners, free kicks, the shots in the box, we just couldn’t get that goal.
And so the game ended. Yes we lost our last game together - but was it a huge effort? Absolutely. We were leaving their ground with no kitchen sink, we’d thrown everything at them. But proud? Too right we were!! The boys were by far the better team - even when we had 10 men.
We battled, we played good football, we showed energy and togetherness. From a performance like that, you can accept a loss. Not like it, but accept it.
To look back on this season, there was an unbelievable improvement and development in the squad. They’ve worked hard on everything we’ve asked them to, and they have made this season a very competitive and hence, enjoyable one. Certainly one I’ll always remember.
Aside from one lapse against Beckenham, no one gave us a spanking this season. Any team that took points off us, had to work hard, aside from the team that ran away with it, defeats were restricted to single goals. From that perspective it was a great season. Shame more of those single goal defeats didn’t work the other way for us, by God we deserved it.
At the end of the day, we have a squad of fine young gentlemen, proud of every single one, and every single one contributed to the season.
Some of these lads will take the step up to senior football with me next season, but most will go to Uni so the team as we know it, will be no longer.
Thank you lads for giving us something special this season, you’ve been absolute pleasure to work with, and whatever you go on and do, I hope you feel our time together has giving you something to take on to your continued path in life.
I have to thank Jeff for his massive contribution over the last three years and to Andy’s huge contribution in joining the coaching staff this season, you’ve been an immense support, and two great blokes.
Lastly, and by no means least, I have to thank our parents, grandparents, guardians, friends and supporters each week. Without doubt, the most amazing bunch of people we could have behind us. Thank you sooooo much.
It’s been emoshe, so it only leaves me for one last time to scream….
Written by the Team Manager Mike Murphy