Loudwater colts tournament, Sunday 24th June

30/06/2012 at 2:16 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 9s | Leave a comment

Colts U9s: Antonio, Kaushal, Matthew, Gabriel, Joss, Joe, Alex Walker, & Guy

Getting to the tournament was one thing, parking was another! The tournament was delayed by some 40 minutes as cars struggled to get into the farmers field that was the car park. Conditions were awful with heavy rain and driving wind. Parents were clearly thinking more of how they would get their cars out than the tournament ahead. Fortunately, the weather changed and we managed to play some football.

With the problems that we had, the warm up was impossible. We only had 4 players at the designated starting time. Finally, we started a series of 5 ten minute matches. All matches were 6-a-side and the goalies could only throw the ball out (including all goal kicks).

This was a really tough tournament for our boys as most of the teams weren’t really colts. To their credit, the boys put in a lot of effort and it was great to see that they wanted to play in a variety of positions. Kaushal usually is one of our attacking players, but he played a fair part of the game as one of the defenders and looked very solid. Antonio has hardly played in a tournament, but asked to play (and played) in goal in our last game.

Despite our best efforts, we managed two draws and three losses. Our only goal was a well taken strike by Alex Walker, who had a rare excursion out of goal.

Joss was a revelation as a left midfielder. He played like a certain Mr Bale for Tottenham. He constantly beat his defender and on the other side of the pitch Gabriel was launching rare sorties into our opponents half with great pace and was unlucky not to score. Matthew was great at closing down the opponents and his control is improving as his confidence grows. Antonio was strong in the tackle and showed he has a good pass on him. Guy and Joe performed well in a number of rolls and kept battling until the end. Kaushal was a revelation in defence.

With our opponents being so strong, Alex Walker played a lot in goal. He was his usual assured self and produced one unbelievable save, which had the touchline on their feet. He got up with a big grin on his face!

Well done to the boys who all performed really well. Thanks also to the parents who helped me on the day and cheered the boys until the end!

Nick

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.

Colts tournament; Bourne End, Saturday 9th June

19/06/2012 at 11:31 am | Posted in Match Reports, Under 9s | Leave a comment

We took a team to the Bourne End for the first time on Saturday 9th June. On a fine, if windy, day we would have 6 matches against 3 teams from Seer Green, 2 from Bourne End and 1 from Downley Dynamoes.

Squad: Arjan, Archie, Charlie, Chris P, Joe, Joss, Kian

We rotated the players throughout the day, Kian, Joss and Archie shared goalkeeping duties and all proved to be very good goalkeepers, and everyone had a go up front at some point in the afternoon.

Our 3 games against Seer Green ended 1-2, 0-0 and 0-0. In the first game we took the lead with what proved to be our only goal of the tournament, finished by Joss from a pass by Archie after a fine passing move from back to front. By this time, Kian had already made several excellent saves to keep the score at 0-0 so it was no surprise when Seer Green put us under more pressure and scored twice quickly just before the end to win the game. Arjan and Joe had been solid in defence but Seer Green had flooded players forward in a bid to equalise and the extra numbers proved decisive. We played 2 other teams from Seer Green, matches 4 and 5 and came away with creditable 0-0 draws, although in both games, with a little more composure and luck in front of goal, we could easily have won.

The second and third matches were against sides from the host club, Bourne End. After a tight 0-0 draw, we lost the next match 1-0 to a great shot, leaving Joss in goal with no chance. Kian was in defence (having played the first match in goal and the second up front) with Arjan and gave everything, making last ditch tackles as well as trying to prompt attacks from defence. Joe and Charlie tried to supply Chris P up front but despite these best efforts we couldn’t score the equaliser.

Our final game, against Downley Dynamoes, was probably our best in terms of football played. Chris P and Joe linked up really well, with Joe in particular enjoying several strong runs at the Downley defence but we just couldn’t score the goal we needed to win.

Well done boys, with a little more luck in front of goal we could easily have won a couple of games and made the semi finals.

Chesham United tournament, U9s; Saturday 19th May

21/05/2012 at 9:55 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 9s | Leave a comment

We took one team of under 9s for our first visit to the Chesham United tournament on Saturday. Our squad was Charles, Chris M, Guy, Luke B, Luke S, Milan, Robert W and Sachin.

We were in a group of 5 teams so were guaranteed 4 matches in the group stages. First up were Loudwater, in a 6-a-side match, and we went into a 2-0 lead in the first few minutes of the first half with goals from Luke, playing up front, and Charles, from midfield. Robert & Guy were solid in defence, giving good protection to Chris who had very little to do in the first half. After half time, Loudwater carried the game to us a bit more and were rewarded with a goal of their own, a great strike from outside the box, but we closed the game out comfortably for a 2-1 win.

Against Ruislip Rangers, we agreed to play 7-a-side, which allowed Robert to take up his customary role in defensive midfield, with Charles and Milan at the back, Luke S in midfield (with Guy and Luke B playing a half each also in midfield) and Sachin given a chance as striker. Charles, overlapping superbly at times, and Luke S linked together really well down the right, and this combination produced the two goals which secured a 2-0 win, Luke’s goal being an unstoppable right foot shot into the top far corner of the net.

Another 7-a-side game, this time against Chesham Athletic, and probably our easiest win was secured with goals from Charles, Luke and Sachin. Sachin’s goal was just reward for a couple of fine forward performances. Luke’s goal came direct from a corner while Charles’ was a poacher’s goal who just beat their keeper to a through ball from Luke to toe the ball home. This result secured top position in the group and a place in the semi finals with one game to play

Our last match was against one of the host’s two teams, Chesham United. A 0-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of the game. Despite the best efforts of Guy and Luke B in particular we were unable to break through and although we created a few chances, we needed a fine save from Robert near the end to prevent a certain goal.

For the semi final, we reverted to 7-a-side for this game and rolled our substitutions to make sure everyone got equal time on the pitch. We got into our stride quickly, and a good finish from Charles,put us 1-0 up in the 2nd minute. Luke and Charles again added further goals before half time. Chesham started the second half much better than the first and after creating a couple of half chances, got a goal back with a fantastic shot from 15 yard which flew just inside the post leaving Chris with no chance in goal. The boys coped admirably with the challenge of regular substitutions and throroughly deserved to make the final.

The final was against the other unbeaten side in the tournament, Belmont United, from North London. The final was a tight affair with both teams trying to play passing football. We tried to pass the ball from the back; sometimes it worked and sometimes we were quickly put under pressure and chances were few and far between. The game was won with another great strike from outside the box, the ball going in off the left hand post in the first half. In the second half, half chances fell to Sachin, Charles, Robert and Luke but a slight lack of composure meant that we couldn’t take them.

Well done to all the boys on reaching their first tournament final. We lost narrowly to a good team and more than matched them in the final, losing only to an excellent strike. Over the 6 games Charles was excellent as he has started to add some astute passing to his tricky footwork and he was also rewarded with 5 goals.

Paul and I are very proud of the way the boys played. Well done!

P&TG U9 Colts tournament, Sunday 6th May 2012

11/05/2012 at 10:50 pm | Posted in Match Reports, Under 9s | Leave a comment

Squad; Alex Walker, Akshay, Milan, Gabriel, Aakash, Guy, Matthew and Alex Lee

This is always a tough tournament and as usual we started slowly. The boys
looked a little caught up in everything that was going on around them and hardly
made a decent pass or a tackle in 10 minutes of football. Luckily, neither did
their opponents. 0-0 was a fair result!

The second match was a huge improvement. The boys really got into the game and
let fly with a few shots. Alex Lee marked his tournament debut with a strong
midfield performance and one or two accurate shots. Milan showed that he can be
strong runner with the ball and constantly attacked the right side of their
defence. Despite the improvement, we couldn’t find a winner and the game
finished 0-0.

Game three was against Hughenden who eventually topped the league. Alex Walker
had a rare half a game out on pitch and showed some neat link up play. Guy took
his turn in defence and instantly showed me why he needed to stay there! He
didn’t dive into tackles, but held up the play and then made his tackle. A real
Bobby Moore style of play. The move of the game, came from a ball from the back
and Gabriel outpaced the defence before unleashing a strong shot that their
goalie did well to keep out. The follow up fell to Matthew, whose shot
unfortunately struck the post and came back out. Our bad luck was then
completed as Hughenden then ran down the pitch and a ferocious shot from one of
their forwards was nearly saved by Aakash. That would have been a fantastic
save if it had stayed out. The game finished 0-1.

So here we are two draws and a narrow defeat. Not bad, but the boys wanted to
push on and our next game was against Penn who had looked the best team to date.
After an even start, we started to dominate the match. The axis of Milan,
Gabriel and Aakash were creating all sorts of chances. Their defence could not
cope with Aakash’s wonderful turns and close control. The parents were
fantastic at cheering on the boys and willing them forward. Despite all this, a
third draw looked likely and then up stepped Gabriel!!! He made a trade mark
drive forward and just as it looked like he had overrun the ball, he neatly
passed it into the back of the net. I think they heard the cheer back in Little
Chalfont and the players jumped for joy and the parents hi-fived the coach as he
ran back to the half way line. Then the final whistle went. Great tactics to
score with the last kick of the game! A 1-0 win.

Now at this moment, Mark (Guy’s dad) became the statistician for the club! He
calculated a win in the last game would get us through to the semis. So off we
went. Attacking from the start, we scored an early goal from Milan. Back came
Sarratt and only a fantastic save from Alex Walker kept us in the lead. After
that scare, we poured forward and just before the end, Aakash scored a well
deserved goal to make it 2-0. To be fair, it could have been 5-0 by then. What
a performance!

Nick and Stato (Mark) headed off to the results tent and awaited the final
table. The boys were nearby and pacing nervously!!! Out came the table and we
had finished second and were through to the semis. Not much time, and we were
out playing 10 minutes against Bovingdon who had won their group. The match
flew by and there were few chances, most of which fell to us. Akshay pushed
into midfield and tried several neat breaks down the right side. The game
finished 0-0 and was followed by 3 minutes extra time. That couldn’t separate
the teams and we moved to penalties.

Both teams scored two penalties (Guy and Aakash) and then it went to sudden
death. Bovingdon scored their penalty and unfortunately, we missed ours. The
boys shook hands and that finished a tremendous day’s footy.

A wonderful team performance, great defence (only 1 goal conceded in 6.5
matches), lots of good energy, passing and communication. Finished off by 3
great goals. The easiest final team talk I’ve ever done!

Thanks to Ian, Paul and Martin for helping out with coaching. Mark for the
stats and to the parents for keeping the boys going with such great support. I
enjoyed the day and I know everyone else did as well.

Nick

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