It was the turn of Hersham Hares to host the undefeated Moor Mead Cosmos, with the match played on a beautifully prepared pitch on Desborough Island in Walton.
Squad: Louis G, Kyle, Jeremias, Josh, Louis E, Tye, Jamie, Elliot, Max, Joe.
The tempo from the whistle was ferocious as both teams sought to dominate the middle of the pitch. The Hares were struggling to break through the Cosmos line of steel comprising Louis G snapping at any defender with the ball, Elliot dominating the middle of the park and Jeremias lining up crunching tackle after crunching tackle to anyone that dared to come into his half. Josh was reading the game beautifully and sweeping up any loose balls, distributing them wide to the ever keen Joe and Jamie to start exploiting the wings. There were no shots on the Cosmos goal and Kyle was safely tucked up keeping his hands warm, leaning against his favourite post. Cosmos gradually took control with the ball coming out to Jamie and Joe at every opportunity, to run riot down their wings with the ball flying into the box. Louis was desperately unlucky with three attempts and it seemed only a matter of time before Cosmos would score.
Or so they thought!
The Hares had a rare foray into Jeremias's half and a long throw-in took a nasty deflection before somehow slipping into the Cosmos goal. One nil to the Hares and very much against the run of play. Jose, immediately rung the changes and Tye was on injecting his lightening pace to further exploit the wings. Within seconds further chances began to appear around the Hares goal but some brave defending and great goalkeeping preserved their lead. Upon instruction from Jose, Elliot was now destroying the Hares midfield and shooting at every opportunity. The Hares goalie was leading a charmed life, looking a very frightened individual but still dealing with everything Cosmos and Elliot could throw at him. Max and Louis E now entered the fray quickly imposing themselves, adding guile and tempo to the Cosmos side as the Hares desperately hung on until half time.
The second half continued as the first half ended with the Hares pinned in their own half but as Cosmos pushed further and further forward the Hares countered. Kyle was off his post and on fire, catching, saving and playing the sweeper goalie role so favoured by Pep. The defence grew in confidence and pushed further forward. Josh was now in midfield and swift rotations of the subs was bringing wave upon wave of attack. Then the move of the match. Louis won the ball in the middle and played a sublime pass to Joe who hit it beautifully first time straight into the top left hand corner leaving the goalie no chance. His first goal for Cosmos and what a goal.
Cosmos kept pressing but there was no way through and the match finished a draw. A fair result, which maintained Cosmos’s unbeaten start. Our aggression going forward, only matched by the Hares determination in defence. A resolute performance.
Moment of the match was initially between Joe's magic goal and Louis G winning a brilliant 80/20 tackle (not in his favour) but I opted for the Jeremias ‘Beckenbauer’ moment when he tackled, turned on a six pence he saw lying beneath him and then sprayed a beautiful twenty yard pass down the wing, all in one movement, 100% composure.
Finally, may I apologies to any parents who heard/witnessed me telling my son to be more aggressive and him immediately chopping one of the Hares midfielders in half. Not one of the finest moments in the O’Shea family annuals.