Milton Keynes 6 - 6 Winchester
By Mikey Gilson
Men's 1s lose two goal defecit in 12 goal thriller... definitely the first game of the season.
Milton Keynes hosted Winchester for their first league game in the South Prem, looking to build on their previous progression over the last few seasons. History and the fixture gods have not been kind to Milton Keynes, with a grand total of 1 point secured in the first three opening league games in the previous two seasons – an unwanted stat that was hopefully to be confined to the history books. With a tough but beneficial pre-season MK were fully prepared and ready to hit the ground running against a Winchester team who had won South Prem 2 last season…..Like most good stories, things didn’t go according to plan!
Winchester were the team to take the initiative. After winning a free hit, MK dribbled straight into an opposition midfielder (in this reporter’s opinion approx. 3 yards away), who smartly distributed the ball, catching MK disorganised and out of shape – a neatly taken goal – 1-0. The response was instantaneous – great work by debut men Robert Shearer and Callum Kumar-Shaw, led to a neat ball across the goal to the South African goal machine Vincent Pretorius 1-1. MK then started to find their form and started to finally settle in the game, creating opportunities against a fit and well organised Winchester side, it was however MK who were to strike next through Mr Tenacious Frazer McColl 2-1 MK. This reporter is unsure what happened next, but there is a strong rumour he was keen to add to his goal tally of last season, so thought it was appropriate to score an Own Goal. The frenetic first half flew by, with both teams turning over possession frequently and not being able to settle into any real rhythm, the final play of the half was to end with a short corner to Winchester who tucked it away to lead 4-3 at the break! A bonkers first half, entertaining for the spectators but improvements were needed for MK if they were to get a result.
The second half was a better affair, with MK starting to gain some semblance of control, holes were starting to appear at both ends and MK were the fast to take advantage, Captain Tom Murtagh taking advantage with a well-positioned central drag flick, which wrong footed the keeper. A patient and well worked move from MK resulted the ball being played across the goal from the base line for Steven Ruse to neatly deflect past the keeper – 5-4 MK. The lead was further increased with great work from Mikey Gilson in the forwards, squaring it for the ever energetic Ruse to slot home…6-4 MK. Milton Keynes started to see out the game but with 4 and a half minutes to go Myles Locke decided to make a rather hefty challenge, needless to say the umpire was ultra peeved and issued a yellow card, despite the defender’s protestations. From the resulting free hit the Winchester attacker drove into the D and with 2 attackers unmarked at the back post, slotted in 6-5! Down to 10 men MK were seriously under pressure and with 90 seconds to go conceded a short corner…..from the corner, the ball appeared to be lifted up into the attackers body, however not blown and the ball was neatly tucked away – 6-6 final score.
Milton Keynes left the game exceedingly frustrated and gutted, having got themselves into a winning position, their failure to close out the game should prove an invaluable lesson for the rest of the season.
In summary…. definitely the first league game of the season, one game doesn’t make a season, plenty of lessons to be learnt and in reflection a fair result….
MOM – Steven Ruse – Goals and effort
DOD – Ian Cooper – Own Goal