With the comfort of Christmas behind us and the laying of 2016 to rest complete, the Silvers now look ahead to the challenges of 2017.

If the first footballing weekend of 2017 is anything to go by, it shall be an incredibly tough year but so long as we stick together and work hard, we will not only pull through it, we shall make something out of it.

The first fixture of 2017 saw us matched against Excel FC away from home.

This game presented many challenges, first of all, the location was a nightmare to find. Tucked away in the “country side” of Chiswick, the majority of GPS’s struggled to accurately identify the location of our opponent’s home.

This resulted in the majority of the Silvers arriving at 11:30 (kick off time).

To add to the challenge, the Silvers would also have to take on Excel with 8, as a number of players were still to return from their festive break as well as a few whom were ill.

After the warm up, I spoke to the players about seizing opportunities like this, for it is moments like this that shall define us as people and as a squad. I asked them – are we a squad who gives up when the odds are stacked against us, or are we a squad that rises to the challenge and battles with everything we have to secure what is in our best interests?

After asking this question, I asked them to not answer me with words but with their actions on the pitch.

Lining up for the Silvers were Milo in goal, Jonah (C) and Sasha in defence, Cameron, Gyan, Charles and Cash were tasked with running the midfield and Georges was up top.

The game began, and moments later the Silvers justified my decision of not cancelling the game and playing with eight, a ball whipped in from a corner to be met by the powerful head of our captain Jonah who slammed the ball home with expert precision to give the Silvers their first goal of 2017 and an early lead.

The game was reminiscent of our time at 7-a-side due to the pitch being much narrower in both width and length – this meant the game was filled with transition after transition. Up and down the boys went, giving everything to both attack and defence.

This tireless work was rewarded after a jinxing run from Cameron saw him carve a clear sight of goal to be able to lash the ball home to give the Silvers a 2-0 lead.

The third came not long after, pressing high and in numbers, the ball was recovered in the middle of the opposition’s half by Charles who cut through their midfield like a knife through butter to give himself time and space to fire the ball with pinpoint accuracy into the right of the keeper, 3-0 Foxes.

Half time approached and all I had to tell the boys was to keep it up as so far, they were flawless.

The second half kicked off and the energy of the game combined with being a man down saw us starting to concede space to the opposition – this on two occasions saw them through on goal to punish us.

With 10 minutes left and the score finely balanced at 3-2, the Silvers shifted up a gear again, Charles again dancing through their midfield released Georges who again with so much grace calmly slotted under the keeper to give the Silvers a comfortable cushion in the closing stages.

Excel did pressure us again, however this time with men behind the ball and space for them limited, they struggled to create a clear opportunity and saw us close out the game with the score 4-2.

I think personally, I shall always remember this game as everything that could go wrong off the pitch did, yet the group pulled together, they gave every ounce of energy they had. They gave their hearts, their minds, and in return they were rewarded with a victory which was wholly deserved.

Time and time again on training days and match days I have witnessed the terrifying energy, desire and togetherness of the Silvers and it was all those qualities that shone through against Excel and this gave them the opportunity, even with eight players to win this match. It is testament to their character that they were able to – with a man down – seize the opportunity and transform it into reality.

My words really do not do justice to how spectacular the Silvers were this weekend, but if one player stood out, it was Charles Mennie. The last few games have seen Charles settle into his role perfectly, this game was yet more proof.   When on the ball he has so much skill that his options are endless, he can carve a defence up by gliding through them or playing a perfectly weighted pass. His brain is always thinking about how to unlock the defence and you can see this with his actions on the pitch. Safe to say Charles Mennie was this week’s Man of the Match, fantastic work!

To all that travelled to the game I say a huge thank you, this ground was not the easiest to find but with your perseverance and support we were all able to defeat the rising odds and claim not only a positive result but also a positive performance.

Thank you, see you all next week.