U14s Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Coach Perspective

Toby offered an enthusiastic plan pre match, considered the formation and personnel.

During first quarter the ball was turned over in possession with both sides looking to threaten the opposition final third.

Overall the smurfs more creative and showed better combination play. Better 1v1’ers with and without the ball.

Q1: The smurfs began to settle and enjoyed the majority of possession in the BIC half, out-passing and registering more shots.

BWBs shot straight at the keeper or without enough full-English behind them. A couple of fantastic through balls went into the box, however the ball unsighted to Keegan meant no end product – subsequently told pulled a muscle, but chose not mentioned at the time so may explain it.

Lex and Joel were lively down the channels but didn’t offer the full width of the pitch so the home side defence weren’t stretched.

Q2 the midfield began to click, Isaac combative, did a great job winning most 1v1s and second balls. Harry offered customary composure under pressure protecting the ball well. The first goal to BWB eventually came after a superb midfield combination, Isaac and Toby (I think) passed out wide to Henry allowing the ball to cross his body and a feint to disguise his move beat his man and within a touch or two slotted home deftly – a very silky team goal thanks to the quick passing in and around the D. Isaac almost made it 2 with an excellent free kick which smashed the post – see the hands on heads above. This was a very good period for the smurfs, despite lacking goals. BIC put some big lads on looking to counter given 40 – 50 yards to exploit, though whenever the ball was launched long Alex / Mani / Jake and Luke anticipated well and defended on the front foot, timed tackles well and never really looked stressed – some very tidy composure on display. Charlie in goal played out well, with one touch accurate well weighted passes with just the one ‘moment’ …. that made the blue boys gasp but got on top of the situation reacting quickly. The boys found Owen who caused a load of problems to the oppo back four – attempts a bit straight down the middle or skewed wide.

Q3: BIC reacted well but didn’t have much quality and end product and as we were thinking this is going well, one lad dug one out of his feet to level the scoreline – cracking finish.

I’m not a massive fan of the high press – with a 24’x8’ goal at your mercy on an error reduces the amount of football played i.e.: win it shoot score = a bit poo-poo to my mind. BIC began to assert themselves, bigger lads were on the pitch looking to put Arlo under maximum stress and pressure and it worked. Lex found the net with a trademark left peg wallop cutting in from the right – keeper couldn’t cope with it, this is

well practiced and no accident. The boys put their bodies on the line to protect Arlo and the goal – some hairy moments!

Q4: Our legs gradually ran out of steam, and the team deeper, sunk deeper which the boys had chosen to do – eventually more goals went in as 2 (big lads) v 1 aerially they found the way to goal.

More pressure, BIC celebrated their goals vociferously … and at 4-2 the game was slipping away, Owen continued to wriggle and find a way through U14 mountains …

Joel showed great energy and desire down the left (got cleaned out for his troubles with a reckless x-rated challenge) until some magic from Luis, several offside shouts later merked-off a big lad with a squeeze- turn-to-nutmeg leaving the big lad with his metaphorical pants well and truly down the right channel … and he thumps one high, speculative cross/shot – though I’d suggest it was always a shot having seen this once before – 4 – 3 and the smurfs battled on, losing Jake and Isaac to injuries made a weakened team change positions (some odd choices but why not) – very pleasing was the effort to the final whistle and the continuing drive to find the equaliser ‘go for it’ was the shout from the benchers and Charlie was slung on for a last ditch throw of the dice as we know he’s good in the air, free kick after free kick came our way, Toby from an acute angle and Isaac coming close from range. The snow made the surface difficult. The final quarter a bit frantic which

is understandable … the boys will rue missed chances and could easily have scored 4 or 5 more if a little more clinical in the final third. Not a bad afternoon at all given the lack of opportunities – well done smurfs and thanks to all parents who had to forfeit the game due to the restrictions, though a few would have caught a glimpse of the dying moments as the games over-ran the schedule…

The boys made all the decisions, on and off the pitch – took responsibility 🙂

Mani Post Match reflection

I think we could of played better if we had took less shot from outside the box and took one more touch to make it more secure finish inside the box and the defense had more help from the midfielders so the other team couldn’t of took as many shots as they did.