Matchday 4 was played on Friday, 15th July, 2016. There was only one match for the day. Year 5 (Ironmen) against Year 3 (Winter Soldiers). Heading into this match Year 5 had 4 points after winning 1 match and drawing the other while Year 3 had only 3 points after winning 1 match and losing the other. Last year both teams played and Year 3 triumphed 1 goal to nil on the opening day after Kay scored a sweet freekick. Both teams needed a win to boost their hopes of getting into the final.
YEAR 5 VS YEAR 3
The match kickoffed around on 4:00pm under the hot sun at the UNILAG sand pitch. The crowd turnout was not much due to the fact there was only one match. The Ironmen were wearing their beautiful dark blue jersey with an orange patch on the shoulder. The winter soldiers were putting on their not so impressive grey jerseys.
The winter soldiers retained the same starting 11 that beat the Antmen while Laolu, started his first match of the competition for the Iron men. The early minutes of the match belonged to the winter soldiers as they searched for an early goal to unsettle the Ironmen. One major disappointment for the winter soldiers has been the form of Murphy their star striker, most of the passes that got to him, it was either he failed to beat his marker or his shot was wayward. Timi was presented with a beautiful chance but his inability to use his left foot failed him as he could not shuffle the ball quickly to his right foot before he was dispossessed.
The best chance for the Ironmen fell to Jide Williams as his shot was acrobatically saved by Ivan for a corner. There was a controversial incident when the Ironmen moved on the counter and a long ball was floated over the defence of the winter soldiers, the ball was destined to meet Ore Nino who was already on the move but Kay took one for the team as he used his hands to stop the ball. The Ironmen felt he should have been shown a straight red card but the referee decided otherwise and a yellow card was shown to him, he was probably lucky he was not the last man as he had Tochukwu covering up for him.
Their freekick resulted to nothing. Jide Williams was continually disturbing the defence of the Winter soldiers as he was playing on the shoulder of the defenders to get to the through balls being played by Yemi Adebo and the influential Laolu but was caught offside a couple of times. The halftime whistle sounded and the players gladly welcomed it as the sun was quite hot, they refreshed with lots of water to avoid dehydration after playing their hearts out.
The second half resumed and the Ironmen were playing from right to left as while the Winter soldiers were playing in the opposite direction. The match was becoming feisty as a couple of rough challenges brought about freekicks for the winter soldiers.
It wasn’t long before we had our first goal, the Ironmen conceded a throw in on the right flank of their defence. Varlo went for his trademark long throw and Tochukwu joined the attack upfront. Varlo threw the ball straight to Tochukwu who had one thing on his mind to head the ball into the opposition box, but the ball went straight up in the air and Tochukwu went for the airball again and headed it straight to Varlo who didn’t wait for the ball to land as he volleyed it straight into the net, I couldn’t have described it better as you needed to be there to see the best goal in this tournament so far.
There was initial confusion on whether it was a goal or not as the referee checked with his linesman to confirm what he saw. The referee pointed straight to the middle to confirm the goal…1-0 to Winter soldiers!!!
The rest of the match saw the winter soldiers sit back and absorb pressure to protect their lead as it because it looked like they were getting fatigued. A scuffle broke off when the Ironmen won a freekick in their own half and a player of the winter soldiers moved the ball back to where the foul happened but Year 5 players when not happy with movement of the ball backwards by the winter soldiers. The referee handled the incident and calmed the nerves of both teams.
The winter soldiers had a chance to double their lead when Kola was brought down like 24 metres from goal, Russell and Kay deliberated who should take it but Kay eventually took it but it was a big disappointment for all the fuss before the freekick, as the ball flew high and wide.
At the other end of the pitch, a player of the Ironmen was brought down in a similar position, Kay took the ball back to the position where the foul was commuted but SAS took exception and both players had to be separated as tempers were rising due to the importance of the match. The referee handled the altercation superbly for the freekick to be taken.
Laolu stepped up and took it but it the ball sailed wide and high over the bar. The efforts of the Ironmen was eventually rewarded when a long throw by Tochukwu of year 5 was not well cleared by Tochukwu of the winter soldiers as the ball deflected of his body and found its way into the path of the onrushing Ore Nino but Ivan was alert to palm the ball away from goal until Jide arrived to poke the ball in from a tight angle. The scores were level 1-1.
That was not the end of the battle as Tochukwu went up for two consecutive corners to make amends for his mistake but the first header was brilliantly cleared away from goal by the defenders of the Ironmen. Russell floated the second corner from the left wing but Tochukwu second header sailed over the bar. That was pretty much all of the action as the referee signaled for full time. The final score 1-1.
YEAR 5 STATISTICS YEAR 3
1 GOALS 1
7 SHOTS 4
2 ON TARGET 3
9 FOULS 4
1 YELLOW CARDS 1
0 RED CARDS 0
3 OFFSIDES 1
3 CORNERS 2
43 POSSESSION(%) 57
*Stats by Olumayowa Akinyemi