St Josephs tournament, Saturday 16th June am

19/06/2012 at 12:08 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 9s | Leave a comment

Very early on a Saturday morning we trooped over to Kenton near Harrow for our annual trip to the St Joseph’s tournament.

We were in groups of 5 teams, giving us 4 matches against teams from the Harrow League. Normally these sides play a more physical game than we are used to, so it was going to be interesting to see how the boys coped with the extra physicality. There were 4 groups of 5, so only the group winners would go through to the semis. Disappointingly the host team allowed goalkeepers to kick the ball from hand, and with a strong wind blowing down the pitch, most of the matches became a battle of who could boot the ball furthest. Despite this, some decent football broke out at times.

Our first match was 9:00 against Kodak Youth and we started with Alex in goal, who had a blinder, making several fine saves in the match; his handling was particularly impressive. Milan and Akshay were strong in defence, holding their shape very well and prompting attacks when possible. With Robert, Aaron and Charles sharing midfield duties and Luke and Aakash alternating up front we created chances to score and Luke won the game with a fine finish.

Next up were the host club, who are one of the strongest clubs in north London and they proved to be difficult opponents. Robert took over in goal, and made a couple of good saves (and took a little bit of punishment as their players made sure he felt their presence). Once again, Milan and Akshay proved what a good defensive pair they are, protecting Robert well. We conceded slightly unluckily when our markers got the wrong side of their players and they scored from close range after a corner but we had 2 or 3 chances to score without finding the right finish. Charles took a knock late on from a shocker of a tackle from their number 8 but happily was able to carry on in the next game.

Match 3, against Heathrow Club was the best match so far and although we went 1-0 down early on we battled back to win with two goals from Luke, one after a lovely passing move started by Charles deep in our half with a fine pass out to Aakash on the right wing. Aakash pushed forward with the ball, beat a player and sent a cross to the left where Luke finished with a fine cross shot into the far corner. Aaron made several strong forward runs without getting the opportunity to unleash one of his trade mark rifling right foot shots.

After two slightly sleepy performances one much more lively performance we were now in with a chance to go through to the semis if we could beat our final opponents, Princes Park, in the fourth game. They were already out of contention after too many draws; they had played good football without finding a finish. The game was end to end and wide open but was won by their substitute striker, who proved that girls can compete successfully with the boys; her left foot shot crept through a lot of bodies in front of Alex before crossing the line. Once again, we had chances to equalise but couldn’t quite score, despite good efforts from Luke, Aakash, Charles and Aaron.

Overall, this was a good performance from the boys against strong opponents, and we finished second to the host club. Everybody got to play effectively 3 full matches; Alex had 2 games in goal and proved what a goalkeeper he can be, and then had half a game each in defence and midfield. Milan and Akshay were very solid defensively in the two full matches they played together; Akshay played all 3 of his games in defence but looked to join attacks where possible. Robert was as solid as usual in goal, and also had a game each in defence and midfield, from where one particular shot almost found it’s way into the goal. Charles was his normal energetic self in midfield and defence, and the pass to Aakash to set up Luke’s goal in the third game was sublime. Luke scored our three goals, finishing coolly as usual and Aakash, whose passing and movement was probably the best in the team on the day, was only just wide with a couple of efforts. Aaron ran strongly going forward but didn’t get much chance to get shots away due to good defending. He played one game in goal, playing very well and dominating his penalty area.

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