For the second beautiful Auntum Saturday morning the Under 8 Stars were happy to host familiar foes in the shape of Wheldrake Black. The red and black vertically striped shirts of the Blacks team took to the field against the Stags in their usual Play Safe sponsored jerseys. This was a team who in the Stags brief history had been matched and had in so doing created close and exciting contests. On this occasion the fledgling Stars could not match their opponents in the scoring stakes but there was no denying that they were very much their equals in attitude and desire throughout the game.
The contest was effectively decided in the first and third quarters where the Stars struggled to gain any kind of foothold in their opponents half. Playing up the hill in these quarters seemed to make all the difference. Either that or the Blacks played their stronger team over those legs. Whichever it was the Blacks certainly made it count with pockets of goals in quick succession putting them into an unassailable lead.
While much of the game was about damage limitation it was a situation which allowed the Stars to showcase some defensive ability and above all else, character.
Parish was the first to take the gloves with Brewster following in the third quarter. They had drawn the short straws. Both must have felt that for most parts they were manning the main gates at the Alamo and for every Davy Crockett there seemed to be at least two or three Mexicans firing shots from all angles. Despite this both keepers made some fine saves. Marchant was outstanding in the field of battle too both in defending and taking the ball upfield when the opportunity presented. His involvement in the first quarter kept the score at a respectable level.
With a squad of only seven players everyone had been involved by the end of the second quarter. Lee was involved in some clever link up play when in possession and always eager to get a foot in to break up the flow of a Blacks attack. The bulwark that is Brewster made his presence felt all over the pitch and the Stars were grateful for his contributions. Cartwright in the nets in the second made two clean saves and looked composed in the number one jersey. Williamson revelled in his busy role in defence and looked to begin to rediscover the type of form that had previously made him the best sweeper in the Under 8's set up. The second quarter ended very much as it had started.
In the third quarter, Parish, the pocket battleship, made some great charges forward with the ball and was granite like in the 50/50's. Cartwright showed confidence in a run from his own half and past the last defender before forcing a save.
In the last stanza it was again a case of defending for the most part with goal bound blocks executed by Marchant, Williamson and Lee and saves by keeper Brewster. On the attacking front Lee was able to make forward progress and agitate the Blacks defence. With time running out it was Haigh who got his and his own teams deserved goal. His personal performance in the last quarter was a sign that he was rediscovering the high level of performance which had made him one of the Stags biggest goal threats last season.
A good game of football played in the proper Corinthian way as you would expect from these two respected football clubs. The Stars know they have been placed in a tough league and will have to battle out each game they play until a new structure is introduced later this year but what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.
Up the Stags!