This was the second and final friendly for Darwin before the main season began, and the first in which I had played. Although we had originally been slated to play at St John’s College, the venue was changed last minute to North Cambridge Academy, some 2 and a half miles north of Darwin College. We used the eastern of the several pitches that were marked out.
The match began a little delayed, Darwin Wolfson playing in red and black, and Cambridge International Examinations in maroon and cyan. I was playing in goal, and would do so for the full 90 minutes. From the whistle, Darwin Wolfson were on the attack, playing a passing game through the middle third. I didn’t have much to do, as our defence held solid, and the midfield found lots of space to string together a few passes. Although a few of the early shorts on the CIE goal were off target, the first breakthrough came from a throw deep on the left wing, which was passed across the goal face and volleyed in. For most of the rest of the half, we were attacking dangerously, but to CIE’s credit, we found it hard to get away the final shot, or connect with the cross.
I didn’t have much to do in the first half, until there was a free kick outside the penalty area, which I parried over the crossbar. The resultant corner was played close to the goal-square, where several players went for the header, collided, and fell onto the ground, to which the referee called for a penalty. The penalty was played low into the corner to bring the score level.
No more goals were scored during the first half, despite the Darwin Wolfson dominance of the midfield. The second half started in much the same way, until there was a CIE counter-attack against the run of play. There was a low cross from the right corner, which one of our defenders netted for an own goal. Then trouble started. One of the CIE players tried to celebrate out defender, and a few choice words later, there was a significant altercation on the side line which took several minutes to calm down. The Darwin Wolfson defence was shaken, we weren’t marking up the attackers well, and their attackers managed to string a few passes together. Importantly, their attackers started to beat us to the ball, and were dangerously pushing for the shot. Eventually, one came from an exposed left wing, which went far to my right and into the net.
It took a little longer to regroup from here. Spirits were low, but we eventually managed to string a few more passes together, and the play was well matched for a short period. Eventually, an aggressive run down the left wing led to a strong cross which curled into the top far corner of the net, to bring it back to 2-3. Bouyed, we pressed again, playing dangerously around the edge of the CIE penalty area. With seven minutes to go, a shot which was deflected off the goalkeeper was parried in to bring the scores level. For the rest of the game, whilst we attacked well, there was no pay-off, and the game ended as a draw. Given the way we played in the first half, it was a bit of a disappointment to go through the middle of the second half in disarray and we were lucky to scrape a draw in the way we did.
Final Score: Darwin Wolfson FC 3 vs 3 Cambridge International Examinations