Chilwell School 2 - Rushcliffe Spencer Academy 0
Brian Clough: I hope nobody’s not stupid enough to write us off.
On a beautiful October afternoon, Mr Fendick’s talented Y11 squad entertained Rushcliffe Spencer Academy (RSA) in a thrilling County Cup fixture.
RSA are the reigning 2022-23 County Cup Champions, blessed with an abundance of talented players, including boys that play for Nottingham Forest and Notts County.
Our own team features Willows and Bradshaw of Nottingham Forest and Jackson of Notts County. Therefore we knew that this was going to be an evenly fought contest, but with RSA the neutrals' favourites to win.
RSAs star player, Baker, scored four goals in the County Cup Final last year. He is a player reminiscent of Ginola in his pomp, full of tricks and flair and the ability to go passed players with ease.
In the first minute Baker really should have scored after breaking through the middle and having his his shot smartly saved by the our keeper Collins.
Collins had a great game throughout, particularly impressive with his punching of the ball to clear any dangerous crosses into the box.
Mr Fendick’s scouting system meant he was well aware of the dangerous Baker. His selection of Duke on the right side of the defence proved to be the correct decision, with Duke continuously winning the ball and ensuring Baker was kept under constant pressure each time the ball was played into his feet.
On the left flank, Hatch provided the perfect left footed balance to an innovative 3 -5-2. Hatch, like Duke is blessed with pace and power, with the ability to drive forward with the ball.
The great Everton team of the 1960s had the famous midfield triumvirate of Kendall, Harvey and Ball. Chilwell’s trio of Willows, Upton and Jackson proved to be equally indomitable - especially as RSA only had two players in their central midfield.
Willows of Nottingham Forest really is an outstanding player. In this fixture Mr Fendick played him in a deeper midfield role than normal, that was reminiscent of Modric’s role for Real Madrid and Croatia. Willows was continuously linking up the play, with the option of surging forward into the space in-front of him.
The opening goal came after some outstanding wing play from Nottingham Forest’s Bradshaw. He received the ball wide on the right flank, beat two men then drilled a low 30 yard diagonal ball to Willows on the left edge of the box. Willlows took the ball around the keeper, cut inside and then fired the ball home, to the delight of the ecstatic home crowd.
Upton and Jackson alongside Willows have an excellent chemistry, in that Upton’s game is all about possession and passing the ball, whereas Jackson dominated the midfield with his fearless tacking and intelligent positioning.
Upfront Bradshaw and Brennan, were a constant threat. Both players being blessed with pace and agility, meant the RSA defence at times gave away needless free kicks in their own half.
Allsopp and Darby at wing-backs, both worked hard to protect their full backs. Allsop in particular in tandem with Duke, prevented RSA’s Baker from affecting the game too much. The industrious Darby, proving to be very effective offensively in the attacking third.
All great teams are built on a great defence and with Bench, literally and metaphorically head and shoulders above the opposition, any long balls over the top were confidently knocked away.
In the final minutes of the game RSA’s Baker evaded his marker and hit a shot that smashed against the inside of the post - after what looked like a finger touch save from Collins.
The ball was cleared up to Bradshaw, who danced past two defenders and then placed the ball into the right side of the goal, with what proved to be the last kick of the game. Cue wild celebrations and allegedly Steve Cooper style fist pumps from the jubilant Mr Fendick.
A massive thank you to our new member of staff, Mr Bird for officiating this fixture.
Mr Fendick’s Man of the Match: Alfie Upton. (A classy display from the midfield maestro.)
Mr Lodge’s Man of the Match: Gabriel Duke. (To quote Alan Hansen, Duke had the three Ps: Pace, Power and Passion.)