More like the M300 SpartansJim Hall
M3's...More like the M300 Spartans
A Spartan army of 300 men, against all the odds held back the tide of 300,000 Persian invaders. On paper the M3s Vs. Royston 1s was probably an even more 1 sided battle, with the Royston 1s sitting leagues above the M3's, but lockdown sport is what it is!
The pre-match team talk comprised of "lets keep them bellow 10 goals", "Why are we wearing the ladies tops", etc, however squad reinforcement from a one James "Leonidas" Bailey and the Grove father/son combo to the team a rolling sub per line definitely lifted the mood and talk even began of potentially trying to score a goal!
Understanding the quality of Royston 1's team the M300's set up with a very defensively minded formation, 3 central midfielders with 1 of the front 3 dropping in to help with the press, with the remaining 2 forwards providing the precious outball. I think it's fair to say that without the combined work rate of the back, mid and front line the scoreline would have definitely reflected the predicted 10 or more.
The first 20 minutes of the game were very fast paced with truly end to end hockey being played, Leonidas marshalling from the center of the park kept south of the front foot, with himself, Ali Smith and Tom Blair all making fearesome breaks into the oppositin D, however South were unable to capitilise on these breaks as the R1's hustled clear everytime.
Unfortunately the rest of the 1st half wasn't so flattering on south. The fine defensive work that had kept south in touching distance fell apart as they scored 4 quick goals without reply. Admittedly the finishing was very cultured, top corners, deft chips, placed into the bottom corner, as much as I would enjoy to say Toynton was to blame he actully made a fine string of saves and if it wasn't for his fearless running out the halftime score could have been far more unflattering.
The half time team talk was rousing. Akin to Gerard butler, "tonight we dine in hell!!" The first half had showed one thing clearly to the whole squad, although they were a very good side, they wern't untouchable and scoring a goal was targeted to show that the scoreline was maybe not a true reflection of the story.
The 2nd half started much like the first with another long period of end to end hockey with south having the lions share of chances, with the whole forward line making noteable breaks up the pitch, great hold up play to bring the midfield into the battle and forcing some early saves from the R1's keeper. Mention to Thomas Grove who's strong battling and quick passing shows he won't be in the M5's for much longer.
The fine breaks continued and south were able to press the advantage into wining a series of short corners.
Short 1. With James "leo" bailey calling the shots south set up to let the main man try his hand at getting that vital goal. R1 sprang from the traps and Leo's fine shot was stopped with stick onto foot. a 2nd short
Short 2. A change of plans, slip it to the left. However before this could happen one of the R1s players was greened for running to early, re-set.
Short 3. Stick to the plan, slip to the left, however this time a slightly loose injection to the right forced Ali to have to take the ball on himself, intially with a fine stretching control, a quick dribble, and then a foot. another short!
Short 4. STICK TO THE PLAN, slip to the left.... However identical scenario to the 3rd short. injection to the right, Ali reacts quickest to collect and control the ball, the R1s keeper sprinted out to try smothering the ball and Ali was able to release the ball to Jim Hall on the top of the D who stroked it home through a see of Persian legs. Xerxes was furious... Hall was so schocked at scoring, celebrated Shearer style, throwing both arms into the air in elation completely unaware a royston runner from the halfwayline was standing directly behind him, catching his hockey stick and knocking into his head, sending both man and stick flying. A truly bizare scenario, resulting in both MoM and LoM simulataneously being awarded.
South continued to threat for the rest of the half however the R1s experience and skill meant they still were able to grab a couple of goals. A second half scoreline of 2-1 represented a far fairer reflection of how the game was played out. A true team performance, great effort.