Icarus Masters/Vets Squad
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Wed 15 Nov 2023
Watlington Town Wanderers Vets
Icarus FC
Icarus Masters/Vets Squad
T Somerville (20'), J Schofield (55')
Icarus Masters Vs Watlington Town Wanderers Vets – 15 Nov 23

Icarus Masters Vs Watlington Town Wanderers Vets – 15 Nov 23

Andrew Arnison16 Nov 2023 - 14:02
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Match Report by Rich Lowe

Imagine the scene…. it’s 45 min prior to kick off and the usually unflappable Tom Williams is getting ready to change into that famous Icarus strip. Looking around the changing room, Arnie asks 'where’s the kit?’ The look of shock and horror on Tom's face was an absolute picture and it was at that exact moment he knew he’d screwed up!

Tom had managed to leave the entire squad kit that he’d washed last week (well, given to the gym to wash) back at High Wycombe. Not even Si Wain, the future Clubman of the Year Season 23/24 could resolve this farcical problem. Tom ran to his car and his mercy dash back down the M40 was in full effect! He’d return with minutes to spare prior to kick off with 13 sets of kit (not enough by the way!) and about 6 points on his licence, but at least most of the squad could now take to the field. Not ideal preparations when your facing the team residing at the top of league.

To their huge credit though, the 11 Masters who kicked off had clearly listened to the somewhat rushed team talk and for 20 minutes we played some of our best football of the season. There was confidence on the ball, the pass and move through the thirds of the pitch was gaining results and Watlington Town didn’t really know how to cope with us. But you don’t get to the top of league by accident, the opposition eventually found their rhythm and some quick pass and move of their own on the edge of the box resulted in a smart finish in the bottom corner. 1-0 Watlington.

This was very much against the run of play. At the back Vinny Jackson had looked relatively untroubled, his new found confidence as sweeper keeper proving effective and allowing the defence of Babbo, Si Wain, Arnie and ‘Permanent Kit Man Tom’ to hold a high line and frustrate the opposition attack. Our midfield was dominant! Scotty H, Jim Schof and Taff were working tirelessly in the middle to track runners and once in possession were playing some lovely triangles, getting the ball wide and allowing Gwynny and Scott C to terrorise Watlington’s defence.
At 1-0 down Icarus didn’t panic, we kept our discipline, stuck to the plan and within 5 minutes we’d be rewarded. A smart through ball found Tom Somerville on the inside right and once he was one-on-one with the keeper there’s only ever one outcome. 1-1 and Icarus had their deserved equaliser.

One of Watlington’s obvious strengths was their size and physicality. In the 10 minutes before ½ time they’d use this to their advantage and began winning a number of free kicks in attacking areas. A couple of hilarious goal mouth scrambles in a chaotic 3 minute period should have seen them go ahead, the 3rd melee in the box finally saw Vinny left completely exposed and helpless to keep the ball out. 2-1 Watlington going into ½ time.

The 2nd half started well for Icarus, the calmness and confidence seemed to be restored and we looked dangerous in attack. Howie Heap had now joined the centre midfield trio with Taff moving onto the right flank, and it was down the right we again looked threatening with multiple dangerous crosses. We just couldn’t quite connect and the chance to equalise we both craved and deserved never materialised. Then the sucker punch, Watlington go up the other end and cause confusion in our box. A couple of quick passes and nice movement leaving the striker with ½ a penalty area to himself to smash the ball home. 3-1 Watlington. Icarus then entered a disappointing period of play, we knew we didn’t deserve to be 3-1 down and we chased the game, we stopped doing all the great stuff we’d done up to this point and we were punished, albeit by a very dubious penalty call. 4-1 Watlington.

Icarus weren’t done though. Kev Farrell had entered the fray at left back and soon settled in and for the last 15 minutes we regained some composure and went again. Howie found himself in on goal only to be clattered by Watlington’s defender, no penalty!?! Then it was Jim Schofield to make a great run into the box and receiving the ball from Tom S he slotted home to make it 4-2 and although Icarus kept the pressure on, this would be the final score.

There were plenty of positives from the match. Vinny had another great performance in goal, our midfield were dominant for long periods with Jim and Scott H owning the middle of the pitch. Scott Cater was dangerous down the left & Tom S as always was a constant threat up front, but for his overall tireless display and the dangerous crosses he fired into the Watlington box, Man of the Match was Taff Evans.

So overall a tough match against a good opposition, but not an unbeatable one. If this opposition is the benchmark for the league then Icarus should feel confident that as we develop and become more settled as a team/squad, we will compete at the top of this league. The big learning point for us though is game management. How to maintain our composure when we’re playing well but we’re not creating goal scoring opportunities, how to soak up pressure when we’re on the back foot, and how not to chase the game when we go behind. This will come! We’ve got a fantastic squad with huge strength in depth, our morale is high and I believe that we’re all enjoying it.
All we need now is to ensure the kit turns up on time and we’re in business! ?

Report by Pro Linesman Rich Lowe

Match details

Match date

Wed 15 Nov 2023




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