Leeds Maccabi returned to fortress Shaw Lane and it felt a bit like Spring was finally in the air, but for the first quarter the boys were missing a spring in their step.
We started unusually lethargically and went behind to an early goal from an improved Maccabi team. This gave us a little jolt into action and we replied with a goal from Max B, who was as surprised as his dad when it crossed the line! Well done Max.
We didn’t really hit our stride until the second quarter, when Oliver, Niall and Charlie got into their groove a little. A really nicely taken goal from Ollie, a powerful finish after a run from halfway, and two super-clinical strikes from Niall had the confidence flowing through the veins.
To their credit, Maccabi came back during the match with a couple more goals, but the writing was on the wall as the boys began to play with more of their usual pace and power. Harvey scored his second goal of the season which capped a good display – I asked him to play without fear, and whilst there were a few buttock-clenching moments as he passed across his own area, his passing from defence was really good. This, for me, was very satisfying as only 3 months ago he would not have had the technique to hit the passes that he did.
Charlie got better and better as the game went on. After the referee cruelly disallowed a goal from a great run and stinging finish from the half way line, he then scored an almost carbon-copy goal (dribbling down the right, cutting in onto his left foot) before rattling the crossbar after a run through Maccabi from his own corner flag. His tackling and tracking back was also excellent today.
Niall matched this with two more long runs and cool finishes to take his tally to the season to 112 (haha, joking, I’ve lost count!) and once again his electric pace kept most counter-attacks at bay.
I wanted to give Joe the full 40 in goals today, to see how his concentration levels would be towards the end of the game. Barring one slight lapse he was excellent. The bravery he put on show was absolutely amazing for a 7 year old ‘keeper. He ‘took several’ for the team, when throwing himself at the feet of strikers and with extra ‘keeper coaching I think he could be a revelation in that position for us.
All in all, a good performance. And good determination after going behind early on.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Charlie. Back to his old self a bit this week, strong in defence and excellent in the final third.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Week ending Sunday 17th Feb
Player of the Week – Charlie
Very good in training on Wednesday, his focus was there when there was a bit of messing about going on around him, and a confident performance matchday.