Willand Rovers FC vs Yate Town

The Pitching In Southern League Div One South
February 7, 2024
Score: 2 - 2

Match Report

Willand Vs Yate

“Rules are not necessarily sacred; principles are.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Imagine a world where the only rule is that there are no rules. At first glance, it seems like a utopia that I could get behind. No requirement to work for money? I’m in. Don’t like the house that you live in? I’m cuckooing that new house being built by Parkway. Need a holiday? Just jump on the next plane leaving Heathrow.

But reality would quickly hit, and hit like a prime Tyson (the original, not the imitator). Without rules, the A38 would quickly resemble a demolition derby, where the only way to win is not to play. Everyone would be playing musical chairs with all of their possessions, trying to reach the top of the egomaniacal mountain before inevitably being sacrificed at the altar of the next biggest thing.

Rules, as it turns out, are the unsung heroes that are keeping our society from devolving into a circus where the clowns are in charge (although some might argue that this has been the situation for the last 14 years).

But to muddy the waters further, it seems that even laws carry some kind of premium. If you appropriate funds from a bank account that doesn’t belong to you, you’ll quite possibly be spending time at his majesty’s pleasure, or if you’re fleeing violence and persecution and looking for refuge in a society that looks after the vulnerable, you might end up on his majesty’s pleasure boat.

But who amongst us doesn’t drive on the motorway at 75mph, or falsely claim millions of pounds for PPE, and then, when questioned, claim that the speed gun was wrongly calibrated, or that we, despite the actual facts, couldn’t quite remember how we afforded a yacht?

We all stretch and manoeuvre around the law, but there are two rules that should, in my opinion, carry a much higher sentence than mandatory life. Crimes so heinous that the only appropriate punishment might be a season ticket to the Brittania Stadium or the job of groundskeeper at Taunton for the rest of the season.

The first, which I encounter on a regular basis, has very little to do with this match report (not that this ever seems to hinder inclusion), but there should be a special place in hell for people who feel the need to check their phones in the cinema.

The second is more relevant to this enterprise, that being the inability for people to realise that when you see yellow markings on the floor and more pertinently signs with the legend ‘No Standing’, you probably shouldn’t be standing there!

The markings and signs haven’t been put up for self-entertainment; if you’re standing by the home dugout, it means that people in the stands can’t see the entire pitch, which makes match reporting more guesswork than usual.

Fortunately, there was no distraction in team selection for Willand and David Steele will be pleased to have been able to field the same unit of players, albeit with some slight changes, over a number of games.

The opponents for tonight’s match, Yate Town, came into the game in impressive form, unbeaten in 2024 and with striker McCootie having scored in his last six outings.

But it was Willand who came out on the front foot, scoring the opener in the 4th minute. Moyes did well initially to pressure the keeper, who blocked his shot, with the ball rebounding to Howe, who was loitering somewhere around the second stand. The Willand captain took a moment to compose himself before he struck a sweet shot past the still prostate keeper.

Willand nearly increased the lead minutes later; a sublime ball through to Camilo left him charging the keeper unimpeded, but his attempt to find the top corner only found the netting behind the goal.

Yate quickly settled in and, truth be told, took over, and they found the equaliser in the 17th minute, a direct run at the Willand defence from Taylor resulting in an easy chance for McCootie, who slotted the ball past Burton.

Yate continued to push forward, and Burton prevented a complete reverse minutes later when he pushed a fierce shot around his post before Ford was booked for complaining after the referee blocked off a Willand defender, unintentionally assisting with a Yate attack.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic, with Camilo forcing a smart save out of Sainsbury before a Moulden shot was excellently blocked on route to goal.

The visitors made no mistake with their next chance though, McCootie finishing a smart move down the Willand right that really should have been stopped before the final cross was delivered.

Again, Willand pushed on, and after a long break waiting for a corner following a blood injury to Byrne, Willand almost pulled level, Ford flashing his header on to the bar before Howe missed the target with another header minutes later.

Willand were lucky not to go further behind before the break. McCootie skipping past the Willand defence again before crossing the ball to his strike partner, whose shot was somehow blocked before it could trouble the back of the net.

HT Willand 1 – Yate 2

The second half kicked off in biblical conditions, with the rain affecting both sets of players and those fans not fortunate enough to have brought umbrellas, and after a half in which the visitors were easily the better team, Willand made some early changes, with Wright and Duff-Dick replacing Baker and Camilo.

With the rain finally easing, Guppy hit a half-volley that caught everyone in the ground by surprise, with the notable exception of Sainsbury, who managed to claw it from the top corner.

From the subsequent corner, Willand found the equaliser; the ball flicked on at the front post, met emphatically by Edwards leap.

With Willand pushing for a winner, the block party continued. An errant header from the Yate defence fell to Wright, whose fancy footwork saw him skip past two players and around the keeper, only to see his shot deflected past the post by a sliding boot.

The game still had time for some additional drama, though. A Yate breakaway was stopped illegally, according to the referee, and (following the rules of the game), he had little choice but to show Ford his second card of the day.

In the end, it was a fair result in fairly terrible conditions. Yate dominated the first half, but Willand never capitulated, and the second half was a complete turn-around, with the home team never allowing the dangerous visitors to find any rhythm.

Full Time – Willand 2 – Yate 2

MOM Charlie Wright