2nd April was Gateway’s last league fixture and for most of the squad, their last time to represent the school. They could not have chosen tougher opponents, with Great Missenden currently topping the league and undefeated. Gateway could only keep their title hopes alive by winning this match.
With news that Jodi S and Ben C were under Doctor’s orders not to do any physical activity, the squad was left in no doubt that they would have to be at their best to stand any chance.
It became very apparent why Great Missenden topped the league from the first minute. Their players were confident, skilful and passed the ball quickly, building up moves patiently and looking for that incisive last ball.
Gateway were well organised and worked their socks off, closing down space and making lots of decisive tackles just outside their box. Great Missenden had a couple of long range shots which Jake R dealt with calmly. The pressure continued and Gateway stood strong with James A, Sam W and Tim E blocking the way through. Gateway did push forward at times, but chances were few and far between, with only a couple of shots making it through to the keeper. Lewis C’s header was superbly saved by the Missenden keeper.
As halftime approached, Gateway started to push forward with more confidence, with Luc B, Lewis C and Will N running the ball at the Missenden midfield and defence, supported by Ruairidh B. With some neatly worked moves, gaps started to appear with the game becoming more open.
In the second half, Gateway continued to defend strongly but they looked much more comfortable on the ball and the balance of play began to shift. Tom P caused trouble up front and the match developed into an end to end thriller. A superb passing move with a telling cross, saw Tom P nip in to side foot the ball narrowly wide. Ruairidh B fired over from 20m and then with 10 minutes to go, Will N latched on to a Ruairidh B cross and volleyed a quick shoot towards the goal; it flew into the back of the Missenden goal.
Missenden continued to battle, but just couldn’t break through and it was Gateway that finished the game playing the more fluent football, coming close with several more chances. This was a great team performance from the boys and a fantastic way to finish the season.
The team are waiting for the last few league fixtures to be played but for the moment they lead the league by 1 point!
Squad: Jake R, Tim E, James A, Sam W (Capt), Luc B, Will N, Lewis C, Ruairidh B and Tom P