U9s buddy team v Pitstone & Ivinghoe

18/09/2011 at 9:42 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 9s | Leave a comment

This was our first “buddy” team fixture, a home game against Pitstone & Ivinghoe in the U9 Blue division of the South Bucks Mini Soccer Conference. We are paired with Flackwell Heath, and we played at their ground for this game. At this age group matches are 15 minutes each way and each fixture is two matches so the boys were going to have to play for an hour, 20 minutes longer than the U8 fixtures we were used to last year.

Squad: Aakash Patel, Akshay Patel, Matthew Francis, Archie Forster, Gabriel Jones, George Glynn, Christopher Membury

Everybody arrived in good time for the 11 o’clock kick off so we had a good half an hour to warm up the players and get them ready for their first game of the season. Aakash and Akshay made their debuts for the club having only trained three times after joining the club in early September. Pitstone & Ivinghoe brought 13 players so we were due to play one 6-a-side match and one 7-a-side match.

Match 1:
The first game was 7-a-side and it was obvious from the start that this group of players would fit together very well. Lining up Chris in goal, a back three of George, Akshay and Gabriel, Aakash and Archie in midfield and Matthew up front the team clicked straight away. The ball was rarely in our half and when it was, Christopher kept his concentration and dealt easily with any danger. Moving forward we were a constant threat and had numerous chances and half chances. The first goal was scored by Akshay, who finished well from just inside the box. This was followed by two goals from Gabriel, just reward for his energetic running and tackling in midfield, and finally a goal for Archie who must have thought that all his good approach work was never going to be rewarded with a goal. It was particularly pleasing that Akshay, George and Gabriel settled in together in defence, taking it in turns to go forward without leaving Christopher too exposed in goal.

Match 2:
This game was 6-a-side so we used rolling subs, which allowed all the players some rest throughout the game. Once again we started very strongly, passing and moving the ball really well and soon scored goals from Akshay and Archie to go 3-0 ahead. Pitstone & Ivinghoe came back strongly in the second half and broke clear several times; twice they converted chances and twice Gabriel made goal saving tackles having chased back the full length of the pitch. Christopher and Aakash shared goalkeeping duties; both made fantastic saves, one in each half. Christopher parried a deflected free kick onto and over the bar and Aakash dashed off his line to block and hold a shot when the score was 3-2. Almost immediately we scored again, the goals shared equally between Akshay and Archie.

Overall, this was an excellent performance from all the players who played together as a team. Aakash, a constant threat running at defenders, and Akshay, who scored three goals and looked very assured in central defence, deserve special mention for really strong debut performances. Matthew was very unlucky not to score; his constant harrying of the opposing defence created chances scored by others. Archie also scored three goals and, along with George, worked tirelessly in midfield to break up opposition attacks and create chances for the team. Gabriel likewise was all energy; in the first game he scored two good goals and in the second game showed what a good defender he can be with those two goal-saving tackles in the second half. Last but not least, Christopher, who was assured in goal, making one stunning save and played the 2nd game second half up front, holding the ball up intelligently, linking up the play in true centre forward style and with a bit more luck might have scored himself.

All the boys should be very proud of themselves on their collective performances which exceeded all my expectations. Also, thanks to Suresh and Ralph for running the team from the sidelines while I refereed!

Ian

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