The conditions were good with a slight breeze and a sunny winter’s afternoon. Westlake Boys' High School kicked off and within seconds had earned themselves a free kick near our penalty area. Our defensive wall did its job and deflected the ball away harmlessly. During the first 10 minutes both teams enjoyed some possession and time attacking each other’s goal. Westlake looked to counter-attack quickly and were only stopped by good tracking by our mid-field players, hard work by our back four and some excellent saves from Mitchell Verry in goal.
King’s, in contrast, struggled to form meaningful attacking play. We were missing Kaisei Woodhams to injury and lacked good options when we moved the ball into the midfield. Westlake was able to pick the ball from us or strangle our play all too easily. Then they would attack our penalty area in waves. Finally, their pressure brought them their first goal in the 25th minute. King’s almost answered back two minutes after kick-off when Zachary Edwards tried to get on the end of a nice free kick by William Auton. We finished the half quite well, denying Westlake with further strong defensive work, although we were conceding free kicks and on the 35 minute mark we relied on Mitchell Verry to pull off another brilliant save.
In the final minute of the first half, in a terrible portent of what was to come, we conceded another goal. It was scored by a cross to a free striker who stood on our six-yard line right in front of our goal. Despite this goal, a 2-0 scoreline seemed to be a fair reflection of the general play of the first half.
The second half was quite a lot worse for King’s as we simply couldn’t find the strength to match our opponent’s game. Westlake came out stronger than ever with great determination to score more goals. By the 26th minute they had scored six more goals to lead 8-0. King’s was being caught in possession through the midfield more than ever and simply allowed the impressive Westlake #7 and his fellow attackers to run through at our back four. We had switched off and they were on fire.
The game couldn’t end soon enough from a King’s perspective and by the time it did, Westlake had improved their goal difference by 11 and we had to find a way to pick ourselves off the canvas that was our field.