Match Report
Sir William Borlase's Grammar School 1st XI vs  Bradfield College
On: Thursday, 17 Sep 2015
Venue: at Home

What Could Have Been...

The First XI boys traveled to Bradfield College expecting a tough test against last years English Schools National Cup semi finalists and that was exactly what they got.

The boys stepped on to the pristine Bradfield pitch determined to rectify the disappointing defeat just a day before and prove what they are really about. After a short warm up, Gleeson set the boys up in a 4-3-3 formation to combat Bradfield's possession style of play, defending in a 4-5-1 and then breaking in a 4-3-3. The key message was to be disciplined and patient.

Borlase could not have completed the objectives set any better, Bradfield retained the majority of the possession but could not get through the line of defence with every single Borlase player staying disciplined, patient and winning the ball in key areas. In fact the boys should really have gone in to half time with a lead as they created some golden opportunities, mainly on the break with great pace and movement shown from the front three of Donkin, Nicosia and Tuckerman and also the midfield breaking through. However it ended 0-0 at half time with Gleeson and Robertson extremely proud of the performance but encouraging the team to put away the chances that we were creating.

The second half was much like the first, with Borlase staying extremely patient and holding a superb defensive position, cancelling out Bradfield's attacks with relative ease. Bradfield did create one great opportunity as a shot from outside the area produced a superb save from goalkeeper Olly Cooke who tipped the effort over the bar.

The deadlock was broken midway through the second half, against the run of play, as Bradfield took the lead. A breakdown of the ball saw a superb reverse pass from the opposition midfielder pierce the Borlase defensive line and the striker was able to tuck home a tidy finish in to the bottom corner. 1-0.

The First XI did not sit back and responded brilliantly to going one down. They started pressing higher up the pitch and winning the ball back to put Bradfield on the back foot. After peppering the Bradfield goal a chance was finally taken as the ball was worked well into Robbie Tuckerman who fooled his defender to create some space and fired the ball past the goalkeeper and put Borlase back level with 10 minutes to go. 1-1. Game on.

The goal saw the First XI's confidence and belief grow and they continued to put pressure on, creating more chances and snuffing out any of their opponents attacks. Borlase again created opportunities that were not taken and as the ball was stolen on the left side of the midfield, the ball was played quickly to the Bradfield striker who lobbed the onrushing Cooke. 2-1 and a real body blow to the boys.

SWBGS responded again, adopting a 3-4-3 formation to really throw everything at Bradfield to try and even up the game again. More chances were created as Nicosia went 1:1 with the goalkeeper who produced a good save to deny last year's top goal scorer. There were shots coming in from Man of the Match Casale but it was just not falling for the boys. With only minutes to go Bradfield set off on the break and managed to get the goal that decided the cup tie and hand them the 3-1 win to progress to the Second Round.

It was an extremely positive performance from the First XI boys as they showed fantastic mentality, discipline and created great chances to score. With every single player putting in a superb shift. However Gleeson, Robertson & the team could not help but think what could have been if Borlase had taken their chances to score and did leave the pitch disappointed that they were not going into the hat for the Second Round draw.

The performance was an incredible response to the defeat against Dr Challoners and boys will take all the positives from the game and focus on retaining their County Cup trophy as they take on Ousedale in their next group game next week, with taking all 3 points vital.

Man of the Match was awarded to Matt Casale who produced a vintage display in the midfield, winning the ball well and created a number of goalscoring opportunities for his teammates. The Maher Award was given to Captain Southby for a variety of reasons!