Willand Vs Teignmouth
Looking through my big book of footballing clichés this week I came across another favourite; Every game from now on is a cup final.
I always thought it was a weird one because it’s demonstrably untrue. I get the point. Teams should play every game as though if they lose then they are somehow immediately irradicated from the equation, and at the last possible opportunity for glory. Give it everything because after this there’s nothing else that you can give. Cliches built on cliches.
It’s never been true though. You lose a league game, fine, move on to next week. Lose in the third round of the cup, fine, time to concentrate on the league.
There are other cliches that I’ve always felt it was easier to get behind; A game of two halves. The next goal will be important; Good touch for a big man.
You get the idea. The essence of a cliche is that it holds some unspoken truth. It’s a cliche for the very reason that it is, at least in part, factual.
I never really got that with ‘Every game from now on is a cup final’ or any of its derivatives.
At least until this season.
There’s no sugar coating it, according to the excellent Twitter account, @NonLeagueMaps Willand are currently predicted to be relegated to the Western League. The only way that they can conceivably retain their current league status is by starting to win games.
There’s no doubt that the team has talent, and the fans retain belief but, in the opinion of this writer at least, there’s one thing required to turn the season around;
Every game between now and 22nd April needs to be played like it’s a cup final.
With of course the exception of tonight’s match, the semi-final of the Devon Bowl against Teignmouth AFC of the South West Premier League.
David Steele took the opportunity to rest some of his first team regulars for the match while giving others the opportunity to claim their place in the team with Bailey, and Hewitt dropping to the bench and starting places for Poole, Griffith, and Hill.
The visitors showed their intent in the first minute as they played the ball well out of defense before springing the Willand back line. The eventual shot was well blocked but the visitors came close to opening the scoring minutes later when a rasping shot from 20 yards required the fingers tips of Burton to see it round the post.
Willand fought back on the next attack, a shot from the edge of the 18yd box, could only be parried away, the ball falling into the path of a well hidden Willand player whose shot was cleared from the line.
The frenetic start to the game continued to the back drop of thunder and lightning, with both teams creating chances despite the driving rain.
Bray came close again in the 22nd minute, following some great footwork from Griffith. The ball eventually found the feet of the Willand winger whose powerful shot flashed past the post. Teinmouth responded immediate but the forward was only able to lift the ball over both Burton and the crossbar from 18yards and Lilley smashed a shot from a full 25 yards, the ball cannoning off the post and to safety.
It was Willand who took the lead in the 32nd minute though, following a break from their own half. A claim for a Teignmouth penaly was rejected and Griffith drove into the opposition half before unleashing a shot from distance that nestled in the bottom corner.
Bray should have increased the lead minutes later as he strode through the Teignmouth defence, but his shot with the outside of his foot flowed the wrong side of the post.
Teignmouth thought they’d equalised in the 38th minute, a looping ball in the Willand penalty area evaded Burton before being cleared from under the cross bar and, for Willand at least, the right side of the line.
It was Willand who increased their lead on 40mins under bizarre circumstances. A free kick was awarded to Willand but before it was taken the referee insisted it be moved back a few yards. This was done but in the same motion taken short to Hill, taking the opposition by surprise. Taking advantage of the confusion the Willand striker looped a shot towards the far post which the Teignmouth keeper could only palm in to his own net.
The keeper went part way to redeeming himself moments later with an excellent double save to keep the score at 2-0 as the teams went in for half time.
HT Willand 2 – Teignmouth 0
Willand took little time to extend their lead when Baker, a 2nd half substitute for Griffith, fed the ball to Bray down the wing. His low cross was met by a combination of Hill and Teignmouth defender, before nestling in the back of the net, no doubt with one happy to claim the plaudits while the other not so much.
Hill completed his hat trick in the 55th minute, a deft pass from Kelly sending him though before he smashed the ball past into the bottom corner for Willands fourth of the night.
WIlland were rampant and playing some excellent football but it was pure route one for the fifth goal. Burton claimed the ball before releasing Bray on the half way line with a throw out. The Willand winger then used his power and speed to breeze past 2 defenders before smashing the ball into the back of the net.
Willands 6th and Hills 4th came following some defensive indecisiveness in the Teignmouth defence, hesitation by the substitute allowed Hill to steal the ball in the six yard box before slotting home.
While Willand were easily the better team over the 90 minutes, the final score wasn’t necessarily a fair reflection of Teignmouths contribution to the game, as they continued to play football all over the pitch without quite finding the final pass to cause the home team any issues.
For Willand there are obvious benefits from the win. In a season where scoring goals has been as hard as keeping clean sheets, to achieve both will make the management team happy, and the confidence boost going into the future fixtures can’t be underestimated.
And now I can honestly say, every game between now and the end of the season is a cup final.
FT Willand 6 – Teignmouth 0
|Private: Bailey Kempster|
|Private: Jack Rice|
|Private: Ben Griffith||Goal|
|Private: Lewis Hill||GoalGoalGoalGoal|
|Private: Adam Kelly|
|Private: Michael Lilley|