Robertswood Rangers, Saturday 14th May – U9 section

18/05/2011 at 10:47 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 8s | Leave a comment

Team: Luca Perrin (Captain), Charles Davies, Sam Lee (Sub Aaron King for 2 games), Gabriel Jones, Christian Grint, Arjan Bhui (sub Joe Day for 1 game), Daniel & Toby Bradshaw

This is an annual tournament that is held on cup final day by our friendly neighbours from Robertswood Rangers football club. I did not attend this tournament last year but only heard good things about it. And I was not going to be disappointed this year.

We were entered into the under 9 section as the under 8’s had a full complement of teams and the hosts felt that we were a club who could field a squad capable of holding their own in higher age company. Due to a late drop out through illness, we did field one under 9 player, Luca Perrin (on the day his beloved Manchester City were to win their first trophy for 35 years), which as you will find out proved to be invaluable.

All coaches were welcomed by the section referee who explained the ethos for the day was for the kids to have a fun day in a friendly environment without any over competitiveness. This was understood and carried out by most of the teams in our group.

The first game was against the hosts who had some good players especially the girl in the number 12 shirt. As usual it took us time to get going but with some lovely passing we soon got going and it wasn’t long before Luca slotted one home. The whole team played well working the ball from defence to the front.

The second game was against the only other under 8 team in this group, Chalfont Wasps. They were a good team that were unlucky not to score when a scorching shot hit the bar and bounced down and landed on/over the line; reminiscent of Frank Lampard against Germany in the World Cup, the ref decided the ball had not crossed the line. Daniel was in goal for this game and did well; on more than one occasion bravely diving at the feet of onrushing forwards to smother the ball. He was well protected generally by Arjan and Gabriel in defence. Good midfield performances from Luca (who scored twice), Charles and Christian with Toby troubling their defence withpowerful runs through the midfield

In the third game we came up against a strong side Chalfont St Peter (CSP). Charles, Arjan and Gabriel worked well in defence, held their positions and pushed up when required. Luca controlled the game from midfield with good support from Sam and Toby. Christian played well up front and was unlucky not to score. Unfortunately CSP scored late on. The next two games were going to be the toughest ones. We played the first of two Chesham sides who were well organised. We again played a fantastic passing game and worked well pushing forward but also came back to defend. The second last game against St James was to prove a physical game and a long ball one (them not us). By this time Aaron King had joined the team as Sam was injured. He played well up front which I think could be his preferred position. We held our own until the last kick of the game.

In our last game against the second Chesham team I told the boys to go out and just enjoy themselves and, if they could, score a few goals. Why did I not say this from the start as Luca, Daniel and Christian all scored. Joe Day played for us in this game as Arjan had to leave before the end. Joe played well, fitted in and had a great game.

What a great tournament this was and what a fantastic team I had the pleasure to work with. The icing on the cake was when, at the presentations, one of our players, Charles Davies, was selected as Player of the Tournament for the Under 9s.

Thanks boys

Paul

Penn & Tylers Green Tournament, Sunday 1st May

09/05/2011 at 9:13 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 8s | Leave a comment

We entered 2 teams to this tournament; after several drop outs of players who had originally been available we were only able to muster 13 players so recruited a friend of Luke’s to make up 2 squads of 7.

This tournament last year was played in driving freezing cold rain so it was a delight to be able to leave the rain jackets (and Paul’s gazebo) at home for once and play in warm but still windy weather. Our teams were on adjacent pitches but unfortunately had the same kick off times so we were unable to watch each other’s performances.

Pitch 5:

Squad: Luke, Tyler (Luke’s friend), Christopher M, Joss, Aaron, George, Kian

Joss made his Westwood Park debut in this tournament and proved what a determined and effective footballer he can be. Despite playing more often in defence than he prefers he knuckled down and in the last game made 2 or 3 excellent last minute tackles which certainly helped to prevent goals.

Our first match was against Widmer End and proved to be the easiest of the 5 matches. Luke (2) Aaron and Tyler all scored goals and generally the team played good passing football. Holmer Green were next up and Luke scored 2 more goals but the game was more competitive than the first one.

The third game, against Haddenham, was even closer and after 8 minutes (matches were 10 minutes long) it was still 0-0. Haddenham then scored a good goal before Aaron stepped up and hit a fine equaliser. Penn & Tylers Green next and they were strong physical opponents as usual; normally we are not as effective against bigger and physically stronger sides but this time we kept our composure and two more goals from Luke proved decisive.

Our final game was against old friends and rivals Flackwell Heath. Several new players from Beaconsfield Sycob have recently joined them which makes them arguably the strongest team in South Bucks so they were going to be really tough opponents. We matched them throughout although they had 2 or 3 excellent chances denied only by fine saves from Kian in goal. Finally their pressure told and in the last minute Luke tried to clear a cross shot but couldn’t quite keep it out; 1-0 down with seconds left when we won a corner on the left and Luke scored direct into the top far corner. Well done lads; terrific performances from one and all and in two games we had an object lesson in not giving up. Twice we conceded late goals but got back up and scored ourselves before the end.

Special thanks to Tyler, who stepped in when, rather surprisingly, we couldn’t raise enough players from our own squad.

Ian & Wayne

Pitch 6
Squad: Charles, Joe Day, Christopher Parsey, Alex Walker, Robert Worthington, Alfie & Milan

We usually write up these blogs and find that we started slowly in the first match, then got going and finally cracked it towards the end! This time we reversed the trend and never really took the foot of the gas. We were lucky in our 4 matches that every team was prepared to play 7-a-side, other than the first game, so no one got to be sub (other than Christopher). Goalkeeping duties were shared throughout the squad with Charles, Alex, Alfie and Milan all enjoying a turn. In fact, we went through the first four games without conceding. In return we had 3 goals from Charles and 1 from Robert.

Unfortunately, despite another excellent performance in the last match we conceded 3 goals without reply. Our squad looked a bit dejected after that, but we soon reminded them that they had done really well to have 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat.

Every game produced great attacking football, a fair degree of passing and tremendous work rate. Players (with a little encouragement!) agreed to try out new positions and only a couple of times did the shape get lost. If I had to pick out one player than that would be Joe. I’m sure he could have man marked Messi and taken him out of the game!

Well done to all the boys. You really made all the parents and us coaches really proud today.

Nick & Paul

U8s; away v Flackwell Heath, 27th March 2011

31/03/2011 at 11:00 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 8s | Leave a comment

We arrived at Flackwell Heath, mostly on time (not a bad achievement given that the clocks went forward last night), on a pleasant spring morning. We have played Flackwell Heath 3 times in the last 2 seasons and always had close fixtures (played 12 matches, won 4 drawn 3 and lost 5); today would prove no different.

Pitch 1 Match 1

Squad: Alex J, Alex W, Gabriel, Kian, Luke, Matthew, Milan, Rishi

The players were given a thorough warm up ( something we had identified as a reason for some slow starts this year was the lack of a well organised warm up for both outfield players and goalkeepers) and started very well. The pitch was very dry and hard which made it difficult for all the players to bring the ball under control and pass it around. However, both teams tried to play good football and the result was an excellent game of football; although chances were few and far between, that had more to do with good defending than any lack of opportunity. Goalkeeping duties were shared by Alex W and Kian; both made good saves and were quick to come out and get the ball. Alex’s distribution from goal kicks was very good; 2 or 3 times he started attacks with intelligent goal kicks to the flanks, particularly to Milan on the right. Milan and Alex J, as solid as ever, were excellent at the back. Milan is improving all the time and is rarely flustered in possession, even when under pressure. Matthew worked hard up front and with a little more luck might have scored. Luke, Rishi and Kian played in midfield; Kian in particular had an excellent game, full of energy and making tackle after tackle while Rishi, playing in the centre tried hard to prompt attacks and make his tackles. Gabriel came on for Luke in the second half and had his best game in a Westwood Park shirt, all energy and good, firm tackles.

Pitch 2 Match 2

The second match was to prove just as hard a challenge but this Flackwell side was very different from the first. A much bigger and physically stronger team, who preferred to play long balls to a forward rarely venturing out of our penalty area, gave us a very different challenge. We fell into the same game with several long balls causing them problems but on balance they probably had the more chances, particularly from some well-flighted corners (Alex W produced 2 or 3 good defensive headers to clear the danger). Matthew and Rishi donned the keeper’s jersey for this game; Matthew, after a tentative start, made 2 very good saves to keep the score equal at half time. Alex J, Milan and Gabriel covered the defensive duties with Milan again the stand out performer. Gabriel moved into midfield in the second half and again proved that he is an improving player, tackling, passing and trying hard to join in our attacks. Flackwell scored after another long ball over our defenders produced a bit of a scramble in our area and their forward scored from close range. Rishi also made a couple of smart stops and couldn’t do anything to prevent the goal We tried hard to find an equaliser; one fine bit of play on the counter attack ended with a smart pass from Alex W to Luke whose first time shot from distance just went wide.

Overall, this was a very good performance in what may prove to be our last league match of the season (I am trying to rearrange 3 postponed matches but we seem to be more enthusiastic than the opposition at the moment). Despite the hard, bumpy pitch we tried to keep and pass the ball and made our tackles. We are also lucky to have so many boys prepared to take their turn in goal, and produce good performances. Well done to all the boys.

Ian and Nick

Pitch 2 Match 1

Team: Arjan, Aaron, Robert W, Archie, Jacob, Alfie, Charles

This was always going to be a tough game for our lads as the Flackwell Heath team had some big lads playing for them compared to our boys!

We started the game well and took the game to them with some great attacking play from Robert, Alfie and Charles! I think we have found a corner taker in Robert as nearly every corner was delivered into the box perfectly (nearly scored a couple from his corners as well)! Archie was fantastic in goal and even though he stopped one shot he could do nothing with the rebound. We conceded a couple of good goals just before Robert fired a corner into the box with Alfie on the end of it to score a fine goal.

In the second half we were able to contain them with some good tackling and passing from Jacob, Ajan and Aaron. We really worked well in the second half with the boys showing a fantastic attitude.

Pitch 2 Match 2

It seems to me that it takes our boys a game to get going as we hit the road running in this game. Archie, Alfie and Robert worked their socks off pushing forward with Charles supporting them from behind. Arjan and Robert worked well together at the back ensuring nobody got past them. Aaron played the whole game in goal and did very well indeed! Before we knew it Archie hit a low drive into the right hand corner of the goal. We kept on top with the pressure pushing forward with Aaron keeping them out at the other end. Just before the break Alfie smacked one into the top left.

Talk about a game of two halves! Flackwell were on a mission. Jacob and Arjan held the the fort magnificently until our boys were caught up field when Flackwell broke and scored a good goal. Just before the end a deflected shot looped over Aaron into the top corner. I think our boys as well as the mums and dads were a bit deflated when that went in as overall I think we deserved a win.

We were really proud of you boys yet again!

Cheers

Paul & Wayne

U8s v Prestwood Colts, Sunday 6th March 2011

10/03/2011 at 6:22 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 8s | Leave a comment

The weather was perfect for flowing football and that’s what we got in four very competitive and evenly matched games against Prestwood Colts! Despite the strong opposition, the important message before kick off was positioning. Ian came up with a simplistic demonstration of how the team would line up and this really hit a note with the boys. Just a few gentle reminders followed from the coaches over the next 40 minutes!

Top Pitch

Squad; Charlie, Alex Walker, Robert Orr, Charles, Kaushal, Rishi, Arjan, Alex Jennings and Max

Match 1
Alex Walker went in goal for the entire first match. Prestwood took an early lead from a deflected cross shot, despite Arjan’s best efforts the ball squeezed in at the near post. Westwood Park poured forward and had a few chances to equalise. Half way through the first half, a shot was blocked and the loose ball was expertly placed in the corner of the net by Charlie. Muted celebrations followed, as this was Charlie’s first goal and he needs to work on a celebration!!! Just before half time Prestwood scored a second goal.

Some time into the second half came a moment to delight the three coaches assigned to this match. Alex took a short goal kick to Max, who passed the ball to Robert Orr. Robert passed it to Kaushal who drove at the middle of the Prestwood defence, before slipping the ball to Rishi, who coolly beat the keeper. Great passing and teamwork. That’s our goal of the season so far! The game finished not long after that, but the smiles remained.

Match 2
Max took on the goal keeping duties for match 2. Again Prestwood took an early lead, before we had 2 goals in 30 seconds that decided the fate of this match. Charles beat a couple of players in midfield and then released Alex, who outpaced the defence to score. Seconds after the restart, Prestwood scored a second and final goal. Alex Walker had a late penalty saved.

These were 2 extremely even matches, that on another day Westwood Park could have won. The team brief after the match was really positive. The boys worked really hard on their positioning; we just need to work on the wide midfielders staying involved when the ball is on the other side of the pitch.

They were up against a bigger team, but showed great energy. Alex Jennings and Arjan never missed a tackle. Charlie and Robert Orr passed the ball well. Rishi and Alex held their position well upfront and were always an outlet for the midfielders. Charles and Kaushal were the midfield dynamos and both laid on goals. A special mention for Max, who was unfortunate to let in a goal that just trickled past him, but, like all good goalkeepers, a few minutes later showed what a good keeper he can be with a full length diving save.

You really impressed us today lads. Well done!

Nick, Martin & Paul

Bottom Pitch

Squad: Robert Worthington, Luke, Aaron, Christopher Parsey, Lucas, Adam, Alfie, Archie, Milan

Match 1
We lined up with Adam in goal, Robert and Luke in defence, a midfield of Milan, Alfie and Christopher with Aaron starting up front. It was obvious from the start that Prestwood were a useful outfit with 2 or 3 very strong players and that we would have to be on top of our game to compete. Goals came from Luke (2), including a fine free kick from outside the area into the top corner, Aaron, with an expertly taken shot and Alfie. Alfie’s goal was a true team effort as Luke passed the ball out from defence, through the midfield via Christopher and Milan before the final pass to Alfie who slotted home into the far corner of the net.

In reply Prestwood scored a couple of goals, including one of the best individual goals seen at Westwood Park, from a visiting team, as their left sided midfielder picked up the ball in his own penalty box, went on a mazy dribble straight through the middle of us, seeming to beat every player as he went, before driving a cross shot wide of Adam into the far corner. Lucas and Archie played the second half; Lucas slotted comfortably into defence, Archie playing wide left.

Luke and Robert were a very effective defensive partnership, with Robert’s Tony Adams-like interventions complemented by Luke driving forward at every opportunity and when they were beaten, Adam made 2 or 3 excellent saves. Milan, Christopher and Archie played the wide areas well and Alfie, in centre midfield and Aaron up front worked tirelessly.

Match 2
Another closely contested match followed, with Prestwood this time the slightly stronger outfit. We conceded a penalty for hand ball, expertly belted into the roof of the net, and 2 further goals while we were trying to reorganise after injuries to Luke and Robert. We scored through Christopher, his first goal for the club in league matches. This was just reward for his unselfish running and passing throughout both games.

Overall, all the boys played well in 2 very close matches. We try and give all the boys a chance to play in every position, so at times we can be a bit disjointed as players settle into sometimes unfamiliar roles. However, I’m sure we will reap the benefits in later years when all the boys should understand, and be comfortable in, any position on the pitch.

Thank you to Tony and Nilesh, who were the referees on the top pitch today, and Matt and James who helped set up the pitches beforehand. Without volunteers to referee and help set up the pitches, there would be no football for the boys.

Ian and Wayne

U8s v Downley Dynamoes Sunday 13th February 2011

17/02/2011 at 11:12 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 8s | Leave a comment

This fixture was played on a cold, wet and windy Sunday morning on 2 pitches in poor condition, one with a severe goal to goal slope. Given these difficult conditions, generally the football was of a good standard but we came up against two physically strong Downley teams.

Pitch 1

Squad: Christian, Jude, Kian, Matthew, Andreas, Alex W, Christopher, Luke,

Match 1:
We kicked off defending the goal at the top of the slope but conceded 2 goals in the first couple of minutes. We were very slow to get started which wasn’t surprising in the conditions and we were punished for too many players drifting through the game.It was obvious early on that the opposition were a strong and physical side and that we’d need to play our best football to equal them. On numerous occasions, Downley had 3-4 players in good attacking positions while we were ball watching and out of position. Without an excellent performance by Jude in goal in the second half we would surely have conceded more goals. Late on Luke scored and then missed a penalty but this was all too little too late.

Match 2:
The players responded excellently to the team talk between matches and matched Downley in a strong and evenly contested first half. To their credit, both teams tried to play positive football on a very sticky pitch. Chances came and went at both ends, but on balance Kian had the quieter time of it in our goal. Towards the end of the half, Luke scored from the edge of the box to give us the lead.

Second half, we defended heroically against Downley’s attacks. Jude, Luke and Christian defended stoutly; Jude in particular covering every inch of ground in midfield, supporting the defence at every opportunity. Although Downley deserved an equaliser after several fine saves from Alex W in goal, we were a little unlucky to concede the goal as Alex seemed to have the shot covered before it was deflected inside the near post.

The first game was a battle against strong opposition but we really knuckled down in the second game to secure a good result. All credit to the boys who learnt from their mistakes in the first game to play much better in the second game.

Ian & Nick

Pitch 2

Squad: Aaron, Charles, Joe D, Joe H, Jacob, Arjan, Milan, Kaushal

Match 1:
Ever had a bad day at the office? Well I think we did today in both our matches! We were up against a strong team whose players seemed twice the size of ours. We held our own for a while until a corner hit off Aaron and went in. Joe H and Jacob worked well together at the back holding the fort. Charles and Kaushal worked hard in midfield trying to get the ball through to Milan who battled hard against their big defenders. Unfortunately another lucky goal was conceded just before the break. In 2nd half we were against the wind and with the pitch cut up it was proving a tough test for the boys. Another couple goals were conceded but credit to the team as they never let their heads drop.

Match 2:
Kaushal went in goal for the first half and made a couple of fine saves. I think the team talk we gave the boys worked as Jake and Arjan were strong in defence, communicating well and not giving the opposition an inch. Milan, Joe H and Aaron worked well together in midfield supplying a hardworking Joe D up front. Again, just like the first game we conceded a couple of goals before the break. The second half saw much of the same with Charles now on and making surging runs, Milan and Aaron battling in midfield and Kaushal and Arjan strong in defence. Unfortunately although testing their goalkeeper a couple of times we couldn’t score.

I think this was a good test for the boys. It showed them how and why they need to work as a team and support each other. I think the boys showed true grit in what were tough games in bad conditions against a good team.

We were really proud of you today boys so chin up and soldier on. Well done!

Paul & Wayne

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