QEGS Sixth Form 1st XI vs The Deeping School, Wednesday 18th October 2017
The return of the football season for the QEGS Sixth Form 1st XI, newly promoted to the A-League, didn’t bring everything they’d hoped for, opening with a 4-2 loss away at Spalding Grammar School. But make no mistake, the performance did show glimpses of a side that has good potential to challenge in this league. A win against The Deepings School in their first home match of the season would show that the team isn't just in the league to make up the numbers and give them the confidence boost they needed off the back of the first defeat.
QEGS started on the front foot, applying lots of pressure to the Deeping defence. Some half-chances were created by the creativity of the midfield and the determination of the strike force, but ultimately Deeping held tight and some good goalkeeping kept them well in the game. At periods QEGS started to look a bit stretched and a couple of balls over top caught out the defence too easily, but with a bit of luck on their side in the form of county goalkeeper Scott Jenkins, never amounted to anything. The wake up call was acknowledged by the QEGS defence and any further questions Deeping had to ask were duly answered.
Both teams went into the break having not scored a goal and a lot more to prove. The signs of a promising team full of goals and fantastic football were still showing, but still no rewards for the performance so far. Mr Cope herded the team over at half-time and gave the players some words of wisdom to take into the second half, sending out the same eleven to continue to throw everything they had at the visiting side. A winning mentality was needed by all the players, more character and more confidence. This was what was going to push QEGS over the line.
The second half began exactly how the first half ended, with QEGS striving for an opening goal. Deeping’s cracks were finally starting to show with every run, cross and shot the boys had towards their goal and their frustration was illustrated when the trickery of Jamie Jordan won a free kick in the attacking half, to which one of the Deeping players responded by kicking the ball directly at the midfielder lying innocently on the floor. Aggravated to say the least, this spurred him on to make a few poor decisions and some late tackles, causing the first substitution of the game. Having played well, Jordan made way for George Littleworth and with him came a change in formation. Mr Cope’s confidence in the defensive performance from the back four meant Littleworth would be positioned as a striker alongside Max Gowshall to really overpower the opposition.
The extra man proved too difficult to deal with for Deeping as Gowshall dug out a shot from within 6 yards and with the help of a deflection the goalkeeper finally conceded his first goal of the game, giving the home team a well deserved 1-0 lead. The goal, celebrated by the wonderful Sixth Form support, sent an exhilarating positive energy through the spine of the team and having finally broken down the opposition QEGS were now loosening all the knots at will and a second goal followed shortly after. It was scored brilliantly by Oli Dean, showing great persistence at the bi-line to draw several players before finding a shot that squeezed through a gap at a tight angle from the left of goal, nestling in the far side-netting.
The reset of play saw winger Blake Kenneally-Forrester replace Alfie Lindsey to spark some innovation and keep up the momentum to finish the game off. His pace and close control created some small chances for a third goal, but defending to match kept him at bay. Surprisingly the game cooled down for the next ten minutes, with QEGS keeping possession comfortably in the opposition half and very few chances occurring for either team. The reality perhaps sinking into the Deeping players’ minds, there was no way back against this side that had finally clicked. Any belief remaining of a chance to get back in the match was then extinguished by the right foot of Gowshall, sweetly hitting home a volley from the edge of the box that travelled away from the goalkeeper and into the back of the net via the post.
With a good five to ten minutes remaining, a final substitution was to be made by Mr Cope and the greatly anticipated arrival of Hugo Finley to the field of play received a better response from the crowd than all three of the goals combined. Perhaps a little under-used in the final moments of the game, he was unable to get on the score sheet, but a performance on par with that of the rest of the squad showed that not only does this QEGS side have a reliable starting eleven, but also strength in depth.
A clean sheet, three goals, three points and a first victory of the season. Not a bad day’s work for the QEGS Sixth Form 1st XI.
Man of the Match: Max Gowshall
Top Goal scorers 2017/18:
2 - Max Gowshall
1 - Oli Dean
1 - George Littleworth
1 - Jamie Jenkins
Match report by Ben Robinson