|Date||6 October 2018|
|Result||D 1 - 1|
Stratford Badgers 1-1 Yardley Badgers
Yardley Badgers continued their Conference campaign with their first away league match of the season in Stratford. With Badgers coach Paul unavailable, Jeevan took charge of the team alongside John Ballard. A somewhat grim morning would soon begin to improve as the showers eased off before pushback.
Yardley Badgers were few in number to begin the game, though had already agreed to loan 3 players prior to the match, Stratford kindly leant 2 more as the game got underway, with one car still en-route. It was a lively start from Stratford with them pressing high and trying to attack the Yardley defense, but our team stayed resolute and sniffed out any threat in the early stages. With this, would come some promising attacks of our own, Jahed and Islam on the wings trying their best to get the team moving forward.
The arrival of our final car (and players) meant Yardley could take a hold of the game more, with their players taking up positions they were more familiar with. The defensive 3 of Jack, Edan and Mohammed Dean worked well together to force Stratford into errors closer to their own half, allowing Yardley the chance to run at their defense. Few opportunities came and went but were unable to make them count. Down at the other end, Stratford managed to find some space and a pounced on a loose ball in the shooting circle allowed them to take a lead into the half-time break.
At the break, complimented well with John's oranges for the team, a talk to run through the game plan, positions, names and how we could get back into the game. The youngsters were encouraged to play with the flair they each had, but to retain the ball, work back for it if it was lost and to press in number to search for an equalizer.
The second half and a better string of passes began to take shape. Mohammed commanding his defense well and marshalling the team with some lovely through balls to Ayesha and Theo (Stratford). These would bring Jahed and Islam into play on the wings along with Rueben and Jonty (Stratford loanees) up front. Yardley were unlucky to have one goal disallowed, rightly so from a short corner as the ball hadn't travelled outside the shooting circle. But this didn't deflate but rather spur the team on, winning 3 further short corners from which Barakha swept in a low shot from the 2nd attempt off the short corner.
The game would continue to go on evenly matched, spectators and coaches on the side, both pleased with the performances of the teams and the spirit in which it was played. Anthony was called upon to make a save or two to help, with the game ending honours even.
At the end of the game, one of the umpires walked over to Jeevan and the team to congratulate them on a great performance and spirit of play, especially as players on both sides listened to decisions and didn't question or answer back.
Thank you to Stratford for their generosity in loaning players to ensure we played an 11v11 game, and many thanks also for inviting us back for teas.
Next week the Badgers are at home to Olton & W Warwicks Badgers