Barnes Stormers FC kicked off their 20/21 9 A Side fixtures on Friday 30th April with a friendly against Stonewall 3rd XI.
In their first 9 A Side friendly of the 20/21 season, Barnes Stormers fielded a very different look side to the one that featured in their last outing back. Just Tom and Dan made the squad this time out after that 4-0 win over Soho FC back in January 2020. With the opposing side, Stonewall, having brought down a larger squad and cautious of the size of the pitch, the teams agreed to play 10 A Side instead.
With a host of new players and the first time the majoirty of them had all played together, on the same team, on a bigger pitch and in this amended 10 A Side format, it was unsurprising that it took the Stormers a little bit of time to settle.
Admittedly the team looked short of a natural central midfielder with Barnes failing to get a real footbhold on the game in the middle of the park. With an abundance of wingers and forwards but no one to control the passage of play to feed them with passess and opportunities, there were few shots from Barnes in the opening 15 minutes.
A little rustiness and lack of communication was the fault for the first goal as Stonewall cooly slotted home. Barnes then had a period of relative control over the game. Storming forwards and whipping balls in, it was the lightning reactions of the goalkeeper that kept Alfie's header at the far post out of the net. Alas, Barnes were unable to capitalise and grab a goal from the resulting corner. A few wayward shots from both sides and the game was still in the balance until a foul just outside the Barnes box allowed Stonewall to take a direct free kick. Beating the wall but not our very own Stonewall (Tom), who calmly trapped the shot under his foot and played out from the back. Despite changes to formation and positions, this Barnes squad were no closer to scoring and it was another Stonewall FC counter that led to the second goal. Taking it wide and drawing goalkeeper Pio out of his goal, the forward took a lucky shot taking it between Pio and his near post but this time Tom was unable to reach the shot and crashed into the net to get a boot to it with the ball already behind the line.
A final flurry of five minutes with wingers Harry and Jake trying from range with a few snapshots saw a conclusion to the game. A jubilant Stonewall 3rd XI and a down but not out Barnes left the pitch with Barnes players off to the local shops with a can of Strongbow Dark Fruits and Amstell in hand.
Squad: Pio (GK), Alfie, Tom, Merv, Yuto, Dan, William, Harry, Xavier, Sam, Jake.