This week the Priory Pumas visitors were Winscombe, when the two teams meet at the start of the season both games were very close so today we could get to see how far the Priory Pumas had come on since the opening fixture of the friendly season.
Priory Pumas got the game under way. After a few minutes of play neither team had managed a shot on target and were cancelling one another out in the middle of the park. The early signs indicated that this would be another close game with both teams passing the ball around well but not causing any real threat to the goalkeepers.
When the first chance came it was for the Pumas. Oliver C collected a loose ball in the middle of the park and played a great pass to Sam W, only for his shot to go wide of the goal.
Winscombe responded by going straight up the other end and forced Logan P in the Pumas goal into a good save to deny them the opening goal of the game. Winscombe were now having the better of the early possession and William R was putting in some lovely timed tackles in the Pumas defence to break down any Winscombe attacks. Fellow defenders and midfielders Sasha P, Oliver C and Jack F were also working very hard picking up loose balls and clearing their lines.
Play was still centred around the middle of the park which was getting very congested with both teams cancelling one another out.
Leading the line for the Pumas were Oliver A and Sam W and they were both working well as a unit making some good runs and playing some good balls into space for one another but with no end product.
Sasha P and Oliver C were switching positions and were combining really well, when one was on the attack the other remained disciplined and stayed at the back to provide protection for the Pumas defence. Sasha P went on a strong run, shrugging off two Winscombe players and fired in a smashing shot that went just wide of the goal. A scramble in the Winscombe box followed but they were able to clear their lines. Pumas were now dominating play and passing the ball around really well using the width of the pitch to avoid the congested centre of the park.
The game remained very tight but when the goal came it went to the Pumas. Sam W collected the ball from Oliver C and played a super ball to Oliver A who made no mistake and buried his shot in the corner of the goal with the Winscombe goalkeeper well beaten to make it 1-0 to the Pumas. Oliver A scoring in successive games.
Winscombe responded well and within minutes almost equalised, they forced Logan P into making triple saves, each time Logan P saved the ball he was immediately up on his feet to deny the Winscombe attackers what looked certain goal scoring opportunities . Following Logan P's third save the loose ball fell to Sasha P who fell on the ball, at the same time his arm accidentally handled the ball, leaving the referee no choice but to award the penalty kick. This would be so harsh on the Pumas having just seen Logan P make three excellent saves Winscombe would now have the opportunity to draw level from the spot. Up stepped the Winscombe player and he played the ball straight down the middle of the goal, Logan P stood his ground to pull off yet another great save to keep the slender 1-0 lead intact.
Further changes were made with Billy R, Harrison E and Louie R being introduced to the action. The changes almost brought instant success. Sam W played a lovely ball to Billy R who raced clear of his marker and produced a smashing shot that the Winscombe goalkeeper did very well to reach to tip the ball around the post for a corner. The resulting corner came to nothing and Winscombe went on the attack but Louie R was on hand to clear the ball for a corner. The resulting corner saw Louie R once again clear the danger in what was to be the last action of the first half. 1-0 to the Pumas
Changes at half time saw Sasha P replace Logan P in the Pumas goal.
The second half got under way with the Pumas going on the attack. Billy R, Sam W and Oliver C were combining well together. Oliver C played another lovely pass to Billy R who fired in a shot that the Winscombe goalie did well to save at the second attempt as Billy R tried to follow up his initial effort. Winscombe went on the attack but a last ditch tackle by Logan P came to the Pumas rescue. Sam W played another ball to Billy R who managed to get his shot away under pressure but once again the Winscombe goalkeeper was on hand to make a comfortable save. This was end to end stuff and with only one goal between the teams this was going to be a good test for the Pumas to see if the defence of Harrison E, Louie R, William R, Jack F and Logan P could keep their concentration and keep a clean sheet. Winscombe were now seeing plenty of the ball but Logan P was tidying things up at the back when Winscombe were able to get a goal shooting opportunity.
A quickly taken throw in by Billy R to Sam W almost caught Winscombe out but the shot from Sam W forced the Winscombe goalie into another fine save. The Winscombe goalkeeper was certainly keeping his team in this game having made a number of great saves when it looked likely that the Pumas would stretch their lead. Back on the attack came Winscombe and this time a smashing save by Sasha P denied them their equaliser. Pumas then went on the attack and Billy R passed a good ball to Sam W who got his shot away but again the Winscombe goalkeeper was able to save. Both teams now were now creating chances to score but the scoreline remained 1-0 as both goalkeepers were doing their jobs making fine saves. Another effort from Winscombe hit the side netting, Billy R and Sam W were combining very well up front and Billy R once again turned provider for Sam W but another save from the Winscombe goalkeeper stopped the ball from hitting the net. Another quickly taken throw in from Billy R to Sam W almost caught the Winscombe defence out but this time with the goalkeeper beaten Sam W saw his shot hit the side netting.
At the other end, two Winscombe corners in quick succession were cleared by Jack F and Louie R respectively. Louie R had now positioned himself in front of the back line linking well with Jack F in the middle of the park. Louie R played a great ball to Billy R who passed to Oliver A who forced another great save from the Winscombe goalkeeper. What a game we were watching, both teams were working hard trying to score, it was still a surprise that the score was only 1-0 to the Pumas. The goalkeepers for both teams were certainly playing very well.
Winscombe finally got a break from a corner, a lapse in concentration was to finally undo the Pumas back line. The ball from the corner cleared the front post and a clutter of Pumas defenders and fell to one of two unmarked Winscombe players waiting at the back post, one of which had the easy task of side footing the ball home for the equalising goal to set up a nervy last few moments of the game with the score nicely poised at 1-1.
Pumas restarted the game and a quick exchange of passes between Billy R and Oliver A, split the Winscombe defence and Oliver A found himself through on goal. With just the goalkeeper to beat Oliver A kept his composure and nerve and fired in a low drive that nestled in the bottom corner of the goal to score his second goal of the game and restore the Pumas lead 2-1.
There was still time for Winscombe to launch another attack but their effort went just wide of the goal. Referee Andrew blew the full time whistle. 2-1 being the final score.
This was a fantastic team display, Sasha P, Logan P, William R, Harrison E Louie R, Jack F, Oliver C, Sam W, Billy R and Oliver A, all played extremely well. A super defensive and attacking display by all the players. Today saw the team put into practice many of the drills recent training sessions have taught them. This was very pleasing for manager Denis R and coaches Adrian P and Mike L. When it came to choosing the Pumas player of the match this was the hardest decision of the season so far as any one of the players could have won the award. It was decided that Sam W was the recipient of the award, Sam W was instrumental in creating a number of goalscoring opportunities for his team mates and linked up really well with both his fellow strikers. Well done Sam W