So, the day finally arrived… The big yellow orb in the sky was visible on matchday!
Oh, and also the final game of our inaugural season.
Our final game was saved for our first outing against the league’s newest team – Keighley Shamrocks – who had been one the many victims of snow-based postponements during our terrible winter.
Our convoy arrived to a packed Marley Stadium, the Whites were just about under way and there were several other matches being played around us. I love that feeling, grass roots football, loads of matches going on at the same time, cheers, arguments, referees copping loads (I don’t agree with that 😉 and the expectation of goals and great games.
The first thing – the pitch – it was massive. It could easily of accomodated adult 7-a-side.
Second – the surface – despite all the snow it was rock hard, bobbly and made for a tough time controlling the ball.
I accepted Keighley’s request for six a side, even though we were two players down, as fives on that pitch would have been detrimental to the game. Each of our guys stood up really well to the extra effort and stamina required to complete 40 minutes.
The game itself was pretty good. Some of our control and shooting was off, but understandable given the surface. We started well, if a little disjointed, and bagged an early lead through a close range Charlie strike. Keighley had some good players, notably a tiny, mohawk wearing number 10 who was excellent. The two girls in their side were two of their stronger players, both having great engines, strength and football brains.
Niall began to take control of the open spaces and we slipped into a comfortable lead, before conceding our customary goal to a lack of concentration. That we only ever do this once is a testament to the boys being able to re-focus and put the error behind them. Niall is unplayable when on-song, which is pretty much every week, and his speed, close control and finishing are a joy to watch. He provided some lovely, clinical through balls today which led to goals which capped another great performance and handful of goals.
Oliver was once again excellent patrolling our defence. When he gets his head up and distrbutes the ball properly he really makes a huge impact on our performances. He also bagged a goal; put clear by one of Niall’s defence splitting passes, he went through one on one to finished powerfully for a deserved goal.
Joe and Harvey worked hard as usual, both desperate to get forward and try get a goal – this can leave us a bit exposed at times, but after some advice and a jig around of positions, this was rectified and the remainder of the game we were more solid. Harvey has added some nice dribbling technique to his game which is great to see – he will be much stronger and a great asset next season. Joe is such a strong boy (when he’s not replicating Premier League footballers over-reactions!) and he’s now added some lovely turns to his repertoire.
Charlie continues to make great strides from midfield – on his day, and game, he terrorises this age group, his height, strength and dribbling through midfield make it hard for opposition to stop him. I thought he’d end up a defender, as I was for most of the time, and he may yet be, but I see a bit of a Gerrard type role in him. He bagged a nice double today, but for good goalkeeping and poor finishing (bouncy, bobbly pitch takes some of the blame) he’d have had a hatful.
So to Max. Once again he put in a M.O.M. performance. His tireless work in midfield is becoming a major plus point for us. He rarely misses tackles when he’s ‘on it’ and he now has the confidence, and technical dribbling ability, to make little 5 yard bursts past opponents with the ball after winning posession. He was clean through a number of times and had the crowd urging him to get the goal his performance deserved. His little legs must have been very tired by the time he reached the oppositions area!
So, that’s it for this season. It has truly flown. I’ve loved every minute.
Onwards to the spring/summer tournaments!
Man Of the Match – Max B
I didn’t think he could top his performance from our last match. But he did. And against stronger opposition. If football is about taking your own performance to the next level (which it is at this level/age) then Max has done it in spades since Christmas. Great to see.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Week ending Sunday 7th April
Player of the Week – Niall H
The reason Niall stands out in our team is not just his ability, which is second to none. It’s his concentration levels, dedication to improve every time he trains or plays and his desire to make a positive impact every game. I’ve yet to see Niall misbehave, drop his concentration or fail to be attentive or take advice during matches or training. Another outstanding week and matchday peformance.