Eric McInnes reports on a WACS/CH U14 home win against Rochdale
By Roberto Simi
After last week’s slightly sleepy post-Christmas performance, WACS roared back with a well deserved and hard fought victory over Rochdale.
WACS were on the front foot from the face-off with James claiming possession, feeding Thomas who fired just wide. A second chance zipped past after a driving run from Jack on the right wing having intercepted a pass on the halfway line. Despite the early pressure, it was Rochdale that broke the deadlock in a move that went the entire length of the pitch. Their lead was short-lived as Tom won possession, setting up James to net the equalizer. Rochdale and WACS immediately exchanged near identical goals, with James running straight through the middle of the defence to equalize once more. WACS finally gained the upper hand when Matt made a good save in goal then delivered a great pass to Thomas to score. James and Thomas netted one more apiece to finish the 1st quarter 5-2 up. The 2nd started with some sustained possession from Rochdale, but it was WACS’ turn to score against the run of play with Isaac bursting through. Rochdale pulled two back to make it 6-4 at half time, although it would have been a more nail-biting 6-5 without an excellent check from Harry.
WACS had to defend well at the start of the 3rd quarter and held Rochdale at bay even through two spells with two players in the sin bin. Ethan had a great run and shot that was bravely blocked by the Rochdale keeper in a manner that had all the male spectators wincing. Matt, now catching the eye in midfield, scored from a tight angle to put WACS 7-4 up. Luca had taken over keeper duties, and made a good stop and then launched a fabulous pass (the first of several) to Isaac in space on the half-way line. Isaac jinked inside his man, fed Thomas who netted with a reverse finish for what was the best goal of the game. Thomas chalked up another two, WACS taking advantage of being a man up for the last few minutes, to give a commanding 10-4 lead going into the final quarter.
The lead was extended to 11-4 with Isaac managing to score whilst diving to the floor. Rochdale deserve credit for rallying to 11-7, which would have been more without some good stops from Luca and determined work from Liam, Harry and Ross in defence, sheparding their opponents well. WACS stopped the rot with Hannah, Jack and Sean getting stuck in in midfield, and the team as a whole scrapping for every loose ball. James stretched the lead, ploughing straight through the middle, before Rochdale scored with the last move of the game to give a final score of 12-8.
WACS looked altogether more energized and more organized than the post-Christmas torpor of last week. They had to work hard for this, with Rochdale making several spirited comebacks at points when it looked as though the game could run away from them. It was also good to see the spirit of the group, with no arguments over goalkeeping duties this week and Isaac, Ethan, James, Jack, Ross, Liam, Harry and Sean all playing a quarter each for the opposition who were two players short. They didn’t hold back while playing for them either!