Stalemate

Report Author: Alex Wilmshurst

Game: Southampton Men’s 1s vs Plymouth Men’s 1s

Score: 5-5

SUWPCs biggest boys had their final league fixture of the year. This came up against top of the table Plymouth. Last time these two teams met at the Plymouth Life Centre, SUWPC took a small side, with a mixture of experience. When facing the team which are very strong swimmers, taking only three substitutes proved to make the game very difficult. The away fixture ended 21-5. This time, SUWPC wanted to show more of what they are made of against the top of the league side. A full-strength side had made themselves available and hope to have a score line much more representative of their ability.

The boys lined up ready for the challenge about to face them. The boys got off quickly, apart from myself as I proceeded to lose the swim off. On the second attack, SUWPC won an early man-up. This was shifted around well by the boys, before Miro Georgiev slotted the ball away into the bottom right corner, getting us off the mark. A second goal for SUWPC came shortly after from captain Tom Bragg. A neat pass into pit was tossed into the back of the net. With SUWPC leading 2-0, morale was high and the poor performance of the reverse fixture was looking a distant memory. SUWPC won two man-ups either side of a Plymouth missed penalty, but both of these could not be worked into the back of the net. The first quarter ended 2-1 to SUWPC. Oli Dean was not raging.

Heading into the second quarter, SUWPC were attacking the deep end of Jubilee. Substitutions were made to get fresh legs in the pool and make the most of the full bench. Plymouth got an early goal in this quarter, but SUWPC got two goals of their own. A cramped finish from Sam Dalton after some good work holding off two Plymouth defenders, mid-way through the quarter. In a frantic end to the quarter, both teams’ captains got majored for wrestling in the middle of the pool and Plymouth had another man sent out. A 5vs4 scenario was set up, Ben Cannon slotted a goal away at the end of the move with 4 seconds left in the quarter. This left the 2nd quarter ending 4-2 to SUWPC. Oli Dean was not raging.

During the half-time break, SUWPC were full of confidence. Managing to lead the top of the league team with a strong performance. Little were they to know that the second half of the game would come with a large amount of drama.

The third quarter was to be the worst-performing quarter for SUWPC. They failed to score a goal, whilst Plymouth managed to score three; putting themselves back in the lead. Despite the effective man-ups in the first quarter, the 3 man-ups won had much less discipline. Passes were poor, and shots were taken from unfortunate positions. These man-ups did manage to have Plymouth’s captain wrapped. Despite the scoreline, SUWPC were looking to go into the final quarter in a favourable position: attacking the deep end and playing against a team with one less substitute.

However, with two seconds to go, there was an explosion. Oli Dean went nuclear. It appears, the lack of rage all game had gotten too much. After Rager McRageface had claimed that the Plymouth number 9 had punched him in the head and gotten away with it, a barrage of expletives followed. This led to an instant wrapping and ejection from poolside. The perfect way to go into the final quarter a goal down, missing your goalkeeper.

Valiantly, I stepped into goal, having experience goalkeeping in the shallow end from the match against Aberystwyth. SUWPC were in search of the singular goal to give them the draw and the result they needed for their best chances of promotion this season. This quarter was found to be very nail-biting. SUWPC won a major little over halfway through the quarter. Unfortunately, it was not able to be capitalised on. A well-caught pass from Sam Wilmshurst was thrown to the left of the Plymouth keeper, but a strong save kept the ball from the back of the net. Shortly after a penalty was conceded to Plymouth. Their leading goal scorer for the night stepped up, sent me the wrong way, but slammed the ball against the crossbar. Three other shots were thrown at me from Plymouth but these did not test my sub-par goal-keeping skills. I tried to set up counter attacks lofting the ball to the waiting attackers. 2 of these were very way-ward and landed straight to Plymouth players. However, with under a minute left in the quarter, a long ball from myself found Sam Wilmshurst on the right-wing. In a later conversation, it turns out that he very much did not want the ball at this point and was signalling for it to be thrown to the left-wing. However, Sam made the best of this and swam the ball a few metres closer to the right corner. He then lofted a ball cross-field to Miro Georgiev on the left post, 5 metres out and he caught the ball cleanly and slung it across the face of the keeper into the right-hand side of the goal. 5-5 with 40 seconds to spare.

With Plymouth about to take the centre, they called a time out. Allowing them to push up to the attacking third. They had a plan to get the winning goal. They worked the ball through to their top goalscorer again. Obviously phased by my humungous stature, he threw the ball close to my right-hand side, allowing me to palm it into the water and collect calmly. A counter was set up from this and SUWPC had one last chance. A man-up was won with 15 seconds to go. A time out was called, captain Tom planned to use one of the moves we had been working on in training to catch Plymouth out and claim the winning goal. However, Plymouth pressed hard and the manoeuvre was not on. Edoardo Barberi had the chance to shoot but the keeper palmed it against the post. The stressful quarter ended, with both teams splitting the points.

Hero of the Match

I want to give it to myself, but it has to go to Miro Milanov for his last-minute equaliser.

Villain of the Match

This easily goes to Oli Dean for getting wrapped as a keeper in our most important game of the season for going nuclear.

Players – Goals – Majors

Oli Dean – 0 – 3

Johnny Glenny – 0 – 0

Sam Wilmshurst – 0 – 2

Sam Dalton – 1 – 1

Miro Georgiev – 2 – 0

Sam Pina – 0 – 0

Tom Bragg – 1 – 2

Vincenzo Banacale – 0 – 0

Alex Wilmshurst – 0 – 1

Edoardo Barberi – 0 – 0

Ben Cannon – 1 – 0

Miro Milanov – 0 – 0

Nimrod Abramovich – 0 – 0

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