|Date||29 September 2018|
|Opposition||Kings Heath Pickwick 2|
|Result||W 7 - 1|
Kings Heath 2nds 1-7 Yardley 1stXI
Goal scorers: Jeevan Chagger x5, Zach Jarvis 1, Tahir Mirza x1
There were goals galore as Yardley 1stXI got off to a great start in their new Open League campaign.
A first game of the new MRHA Open League structure, with Yardley 1stXI placed in the 3rd Tier, South West 1 division. Their first game would see an encounter away to Kings Heath 2nds.
A nice summer’s afternoon for late September, Yardley felt spirited before the game. They welcomed back Harry Brice who spent much of last season away in Australia for work.
The team started off brightly with the midfield being controlled well by Alex Makepeace and Zach Jarvis. Their interplay and linking with Shawqi on the left introduced much pressure early on, for the Kings Heath defense. Questions were asked, but not many chances taken in the opening 10 minutes. Yardley continued to press in search of an answer when Jeevan Chagger received the ball at the top of the "D" to give Yardley a deserved lead.
Kings Heath tried to respond but our defense of Harry, Mat and Ed worked well together to snuff out any attacks. Yardley seemed to grow in confidence with each minute, piling more pressure onto their opponents, Tahir and Noor working well to force a short corner. A delayed pass from Alex to Tahir, saw a deflection from Jeevan saved, but his follow up ensured that Yardley doubled their lead.
Kyle grew into the game, finding much space on the right, beating his man to play in Jeevan who assisted skipper Zach, lifting the ball over the keeper to give Yardley a comfortable lead. Though after this, into the final 10 minutes of the half, Yardley seemed to ease off the gas a little, not threatening. It was Kings Heath on the attack, winning a short corner from which a deflected shot (agonizingly shy of Neal's helmet) somehow trickled over the head of the Yardley goalkeeper into the net.
3-1 the score at half time. If this performance seemed entertaining, there was more to come. From the talk at the break to use both flanks and target the gaps, Yardley did just that, Kyle threatening with crosses from the right into dangerous areas in front of the Kings Heath goal. Alex and Zach continued to marshal play in the middle of the park, Alex finding Jeevan who sealed his ha-ttrick early on into the second half. Shawqi and Zach combined well to attack down the left, creating chances and combining well together. It was soon 5-1, Kyle playing in Alex who found Tahir on the back post, making no mistake.
Yardley really came into their own as the half grew, Jeevan and Zach combining, with Jeevan slotting from a narrow angle to make it 6 for the visitors. A pleasing performance was rounded off when the ball was stolen in the middle of the park, Yardley pressing in numbers and Jeevan flicking the ball into the net. In spite of attacks from Kings Heath, Yardley defense pressed higher and higher, in the closing stages on the halfway line to close the game out and see through a deserved victory in their first league game.
Shawqi Naji was voted Man of the Match for his excellent runs and attacking play on the left flank, combining well with midfielders and forwards.
Next week Yardley 1stXI host Hampton 3rds at home.