Football: 2017-2018

London A70

MPW London have a long history of success in football. The team is strong and many boys have played for first teams at their previous school. Coaching takes place on a weekly basis (Wednesday afternoons) and matches are played on Tuesday evening; all match reports and fixtures can be found below. Last year MPW London won the league and we hope for such success again this term! 

Autumn Term 2017

Sept 19 MPW 3 - 5 DLD

DLD inflicted an opening day defeat on MPW in an end-to-end encounter at Burlington.

MPW travelled to the game with a new look lineup, with several of the team having not met each other before boarding the minibus. It was not surprising then, when the well-drilled DLD began the stronger. After a shaky start, MPW began to take the game to their opponents. The half ended in positive fashion though for MPW as Giacomo spun and fired a sweet half volley beyond the stranded DLD keeper to end the half 3-1.

After rejigging the lineup at the break, the second period began in perfect fashion for MPW. In the first move of the half, Daniel, now playing on the wing, swept in a Giacomo cross to score with his first outfield touch of the game. DLD though always carried a threat, and again found the net after some neat build-up play on the wing split the MPW defence to allow their forward a simple tap-in. In a frantic final five minutes, DLD to counter attacked and scorde with the final kick of the game as a loose ball somehow beat Vinnie. Despite the result there were numerous positives to be taken from the game, and more performances of that standard will ensure a good season for the team.

Oct 3 Ashbourne 0 - 1 MPW

MPW registered their first win of the season against Ashbourne in a classic smash-and-grab performance at Westway. With injuries forcing changes to the MPW lineup, three players made their debut. Then, only a few moments in, central defender Scott was forced to come off with Kur taking his place in defence. The changes appeared to unsettle MPW, who looked uncertain in defence. Ashbourne, meanwhile, looked comfortable and started the game much brighter, using the width of the pitch well and moving the ball quickly.

Ashbourne were soon in control of the game, and MPW struggled to gain a foothold. However by half-time Roman was congratulated for making four or five excellent saves from short range to keep MPW in the game.

The second half began with Ashbourne continuing to dominate possession, and it was not long before Roman came to MPW’s rescue again, pulling off a string of fine saves to keep the scores level. It looked like only a matter of time before Ashbourne would take the lead, but mid-way through the half a swift counter attack allowed Luc time to fire in a low shot on goal. The Ashbourne keeper could only parry the ball out and Max was on hand to blast the ball home to give MPW an unlikely lead. MPW threw everything at MPW in search of an equalizer but MPW saw out the game as winners.

Oct 10 CATS 4 - 6 MPW

MPW took all three points from a topsy-turvy game at Burlington.

After last week's lucky escape against Ashbourne, MPW experimented with a new line up which looked strong, but Cats also started well, and they took full advantage of space in the MPW defence to score two quick-fire goals early on.  A threaded pass beat the MPW defence and the Cats striker slotted home, then failure to clear a corner allowed a Cats player time to score off the post. MPW responded in the perfect fashion though, and within minutes Max cut inside to fire a low shot passed the outstretched keeper. Another long-range strike from Max levelled the scores, and the comeback was complete with Matteo finding the net just before half-time to make it 3-2 to MPW.

It was an open, entertaining game, and the second half began with both teams still chasing goals in pursuit of the points. By 5-3 the game was tightly poised, and big gaps were appearing all over. Cats slipped one through to make it 5-4 but a moment of determined attacking from Matteo settled the game for MPW.

Oct 17 MPW 2 - 3 Ealing

MPW slipped to defeat in a high tempo encounter against strong opponents at Burlington.

With an unchanged lineup from last week’s win over CATS, MPW began well, taking the game to Ealing, and the attacking style paid dividends immediately. Within minutes of the kick-off Max had found the net: it was the perfect start, but the lead was short-lived. The goal sparked their opponents into life, and they responded with two well-taken goals, exploiting gaps in the defensive line to put Ealing ahead.

With neither team’s backline looking especially assured the stage was set for a high-scoring game. Both sides continued to press for further goals, but a combination of below par finishing, goal-line clearances, and some miraculous saves by Roman, meant the first half ended 2-1 to Ealing.

During the second half the complexion of the game changed with goalscoring opportunities at a premium. As the game edged towards the final whistle, MPW pushed more players forward in search of an equalizer. But Ealing remained a threat, and as MPW went forward for a corner, almost inevitably Ealing were able to exploit the stretched to score a classic counter attacking goal. MPW did not give up though, and with two minutes to play, captain Kur burst forward from defence, dribbled passed two opponents, and slotted home a superb solo goal. In the final move of the game the ball almost fell to Kur again, but it was not to be, and Ealing held on to take all three points.

Oct 31 DLD 8  - 1 MPW

MPW were on the wrong end of a heavy scoreline against ruthless DLD on a tricky Halloween night at Burlington.

With five players having to withdraw from the squad owing to injury or exams, MPW were forced to line up against the league leaders at a huge disadvantage, with only five outfield players against seven. With limited attacking outlets available, the MPW strategy was to limit DLD advances with tight defensive lines. Unsurprisingly DLD were able to enjoy long passages of possession, but the well-organised MPW backline meant their opponents were unable to translate their dominance into goals and the fact that the half ended with only a two-goal deficit was testament to a fine team performance from MPW.

The second period opened with DLD scoring again, and from then on the extra bodies and time on the ball made it very difficult for MPW to keep the ball and hold DLD at bay. Several more goals followed as the DLD midfield began using the ball well to open up the tired MPW defence. With victory secured, DLD started to ease off, which allowed Matteo and Chid space to launch attacks of their own. The effort paid off when, with minutes to go, Chid and Scott linked up for Scott to score from a well worked set-piece. Despite the heavy defeat, the MPW players can be proud of competing for long periods in such challenging conditions.

Nov 14 MPW 0 v 5 Ashbourne

Injuries and unforeseen circumstances meant that MPW lined-up with only six players against Ashbourne’s eight. Despite Ashbourne enjoying a heavy numerical advantage, MPW’s shape and concentration meant that their opponents were often unable to retain possession, let alone forge any decent chances on goal. It was unfortunate then, with the last move of the half, when a neat Ashbourne move ended with a neat flick which outfoxed Roman and crept into the net.

The second half began with MPW forcing Ashbourne into making errors and pushing for the equalizer. Giacomo and Kur continued working hard to hold up the ball, and Josh put in a commanding display at the back. As time wore on more chances opened up though, and Ashbourne scored further goals, with two splendid long range strikes. The scoreline did not reflect the balance of play, and MPW will feel hard done by to concede with the final move of the game, as Ashbourne hit them on the counter-attack.

Nov 21 MPW 3 v 4 CATS

MPW were left scratching their heads as CATS staged a dramatic comeback to win an entertaining game 4-3 at Burlington. Late withdrawals from the squad meant that MPW began the game with fewer than eight players but they began brightly. The game was tighly poised but an excellent dribble and pass from Rob on the right played in Chid to score his and MPW's second.

At the start of the second half, Giacomo punished a poor CATS clearance to open up a three-goal lead. With 15 minutes to play, the game was turned on its head. A soft long range strike pulled one back for CATS, giving them a lift and unsettling the MPW midfield. Another lapse in concentration allowed CATS to score a second, and this was followed seconds later by a third to level the scores.

As both teams chased the winning goal, the game became open and fast-paced, only last-ditch defending kept out goals at each end. With the last kick of the game, CATS were able to slip past the MPW defence and tuck the ball home, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Nov 28 Ealing 1 v 2 MPW

The final game of the year saw MPW end the year on a high note with a hard fought victory over Ealing. Lining up with a full team, MPW began the game on the front foot. Midway through the first half the pressure paid off and MPW placed the ball into the corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

The second half began with Rob Williams joining the action and Scott dropping into defence. The new shape gave MPW more composure in defence and the wide men began moving the ball quickly up the wings and splitting the Ealing defence. MPW were given a golden opporunity to put the game to bed with a free kick following a handball in the Ealing box. Chid stepped up but the Ealing keeper did well to deny him. The save spurred Ealing on and a with two-minutes remaining Ealing made it 2-1.

A tense final minute ensued but MPW calmly saw out the game to end the winter league in a respectable third place.

Roy Ashman

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