Manager: Richard Bruce
U10′s Championship League
Match Result: Met Police Youth Reds 1; KPR Reds 3
Team: Pip (GK), Sacha; Jack; Alex; Eddie; Ben; Joe; Jackson; Henryk; Tarun
Scorers: Jackson (2), Ben
At last, the rain had stopped long enough for a pitch to be available for matchday, albeit courtesy of a borrowed pitch at Tiffin’s Girl School, and the Reds were back in action looking to continue their fine season against Met Police Youth Reds. Met Police had been in good form of late moving into the top half of the league, and a tough encounter was anticipated – though hopefully without the heart stopping Fergie time of the last match!
KPR were looking sharp straight from the kick off, with some snappy passing and fast movement putting the Reds on the front foot and dominating the early play. Good Henryk and Joe interplay created the first chance with Met Police just scrambling Henryk’s pass into the box away from the fast arriving Ben. Next, Tarun broke free down the left and put in a dangerous cross which Met Police did well to clear. KPR pressure continued to mount, with probing passes from Joe and Jackson leading to more last ditch Met Police defending, and then a super move through midfield freed Henryk who dribbled past his defender and hit a powerful shot from the edge of the area, only for it to strike the left post.
The Reds pressure continued; Jack released Ben with a perfectly weighted pass down the line resulting in a Reds corner, which Met Police again defended well. The boys by now were playing some super flowing football; a Joe and Ben one-two, and then some sharp Joe and Tarun link play led to another corner for the boys. From the corner, Jackson controlled and turned sharply in the area, but the goalbound shot was deflected behind for another corner by a diving block. Would the goal come!?
Another super Jack pass released Tarun, who side stepped the defender and shot low at goal, only for the shot this time to hit the right hand post! Would the misses come back to haunt the Reds?
While the Reds were playing some fantastic attacking football, Met Police were defending stoically and putting everything on the line to keep the score 0-0. And that second post rattling seemed to fire Met Police into action, who started to show some attacking threat themselves. A physically strong team, Met Police were combining long throw ins, longer balls and some sharp forward play to create problems for the Reds.
The game was becoming a little end-end, with long Met Police balls starting to put more pressure on the Reds, and the Reds looking to counter quickly. Sure enough the Reds broke quickly through some sharp thinking and passing releasing Tarun high up the pitch, who had the run on the last Met Police defender, only to be shoved to the ground from behind as he looked to strike inside the box. A cast iron penalty, but unfortunately not in the eyes of the referee!
The Reds could easily have been two or three goals to the good by this point in the game, playing some of their best football, but Met Police were starting to impose themselves with strong physical play, and another long ball created danger which Pip on his toes was very sharp and brave to snub out, making an outstanding double save at the feet of the Met Police attacker clearing the initial danger, and then Alex reacting the quickest for an excellent goal line saving header off the line.
Having been in control, the Reds could easily have been a goal down!
A super Reds break was next with Jackson and Joe combining sharply releasing Eddie, who hit a fierce shot from the right edge of the area from Joe’s pass which was very well saved by the Met Police keeper, leading to another Reds corner. More Reds pressure this time down the left led to yet another corner…. Would the goal come???
Joe stood up and whipped in a dangerous ball which Met Police failed to clear properly with the ball reaching Jackson just inside the area – and Jackson hit a super strike on the half volley high into the roof of the net giving the keeper no chance. The breakthrough at last, and 0-1 KPR.
The goal was fair reward for the Reds play, but Met Police kept the pressure up and Sacha and Alex were showing some real strength and control dealing with some difficult long balls, with the midfield also tracking back well providing support.
The boys good play continued, with Joe neatly sidestepping Met Police midfielders pressing forward, creating space for a Reds attack and feeding Eddie down the right flank. The move had outflanked Met Police – Eddie ran on before releasing a super ball down the line to Ben, who took the perfectly weighted pass in his stride running into the area before striking a fierce shot into the right corner of the net. 0-2 KPR, and a great goal.
The Reds were looking fully on top now, linking passes throughout the team and looking dangerous with almost every attack. Some great Jackson, Alex and Joe interplay fed Eddie whose shot was well struck but rose over the bar. Next, Jackson sprinted forward onto an Alex through ball keeping the ball in play at the corner, with a drag back to beat the defender and cross in which was just cleared by the last man as Ben was running in to head home. More good link play then released Joe, who burst through and hit a powerful shot from just outside the area looking every inch goal bound, but just rising over the bar.
As the half drew to a close, the Reds were looking in control, with Sacha again reading the game well and standing strong against Met Police forward play. However, on the stroke of half time, the boys failed to deal with a long ball forward first time, and some good play from Met Police saw the loose ball passed to an unmarked player who hit a first time shot from the edge of the area with Pip unsighted. 1-2 KPR as the half time whistle went – and despite some really super play in the first half, the boys were only ahead by one goal and it was clear Met Police were still very much in the game.
The second half got underway with Met Police seeking to get an equaliser, showing some really good intensity in the first minutes and putting the Reds under significant pressure from a number of balls into their forwards which the boys had to be sharp to deal with.
The Reds however began to play their way back into the half, and as they weathered the early storm, the flowing play of the first half surfaced again, with some great interlinking play and pressure mounting back on Met Police through a number of corners. The Reds also upped their intensity and were looking strong in combatting some pacey Met Police midfield and forward play.
And the chances started to come again. A quick ball out of defence found Jackson out running the Met Police feeding in the area to Tarun, whose close range shot was just smothered out by the excellent Met Police keeper. So close!!
While the Reds were back in control, with only one goal in the game the boys were clearly keen to get the third. And here coach Rich really earned his money, as another Reds corner was about to be taken we heard the shout “Jackson, this one’s got your name on it”… and sure enough, Eddie, who had been delivering some fantastic passes all game, floated a peach of a corner bang on to the penalty spot, and Jackson lost his marker and headed in powerfully from close range into the top of the net. In the words of Jasper, “gooooaaaaalllllll!!” And 1-3 KPR.
With a few minute remaining, Met Police were still trying to press forward to their credit, but Alex and Jack were getting the better of the forward play and pressing forward with good control and accurate passing. And Joe was driving the Reds forward in the final moments with the boys continuing to look the more likely to score with both Henryk and Ben looking threatening. The full time whistle went, and 1-3 KPR was the final score.
This was a really good team performance against a strong team in the league, with the Reds moving the ball about quickly for significant periods of play and creating a number of good chances, as well as having intensity and strength required against a determined opponent.
Congratulations to the boys on a good win – but sure there will be no resting of laurels as the league competition intensifies!
Man of the match: Congrats to Jackson for MotM with an all round box to box performance and two super goals.