Loxwood Whites vs Ewhurst Rams (Simon Gwillam)
Loxwood Whites' final trophy game of the season saw them playing away against Ewhurst Rams. The venue; Graham Grange School, and more specifically, an astro pitch inside a walled garden. As such, a cauldron-like tense atmosphere developed as the players kicked off.
Perhaps it was the playing surface, perhaps it was a lack of sugar-coated breakfast cereals that morning, but our boys in white were slow off the mark in the 1st quarter. A lack of urgency and a laid back attitude on the ball saw the whites fall 2-0 behind without asking too much of the opposition. Shoulders were slumped as they sauntered off; coach Andy, 'hairdryer' at the ready. Quarter 1: 2-0
The second quarter saw the Whites begin to take control. Pressure was fairly constant, but a lack of precision with passing saw their advances frustrated each time, however. That was until the ball came loose in the box. Right winger, Marco, pounced quickly to bury the ball in the back of the net, the Ram's goalkeeper unable to get enough of a hand to it. Loxwood were back in the game. Quarter 2: 0-1
Marco's goal provided the lift the team desperately needed as the teams changed ends. Every player ran faster, tackled harder and moved the ball with more conviction. A sustained period of Loxwood pressure followed as Chris, now playing in the outfield, leveled the game for the whites shortly after the restart. Beautiful interplay from Willem in goal, through to Kelsey and Angus at the back, Rafferty, Chris and Luc in midfield, right up to Big Ben and Jody up front enabled a flurry of goals, all finished by their star striker Jody. The first a targeted cross was fumbled into the net by the Ram's goalie, then a brace of great simple strikes deep inside the Ewhurst Penalty area, and finally a powerful strike from a little further out into the top corner. The game had turned on its head and was Loxwood's for the taking. Quarter 3: 0-5
The final quarter saw some tired legs from both sides and the game evened up and became more scrappy. Credit is due to Ewhurst who recovered from the shell-shock of the previous quarter and started to look dangerous again. A lapse in concentration from an otherwise solid back line allowed Ewhurst the chance to get one back which was converted with confidence. A late come-back on the cards for the Rams? ....
"Oh sh*t, there's the lady I had an argument with in the car park" muttered one of the parents, who promptly went to hide in the bushes. Meanwhile, the spark of hope was quickly extinguished as Jody deftly passed the ball to unmarked Big Ben, who thundered a shot towards goal. Unbelievably, it was tipped on to the bar by the keeper, but embarrassment was avoided as he slotted home the rebound. The referee blew his whistle and the cheers went up across the sideline. Quarter 4: 1-1
'Men' of the Match were Marco and Jody. Jody was prolific, Marco had an absolute blinder.
Final Score: Ewhurst Rams 3 - 7 Loxwood Whites (Marco, Chris, Jody 4, Big Ben)