U10 Match Reports v Clifton Rangers, 28th September 2014
The Phantoms kicked off with Lucas H in goal; Jayden and Ben at the back; a midfield trio of Lucas E, Charlie and Edward; with Dom leading the line. For large parts of the first half, long range efforts were the order of the day, as Charlie, then Dominic tried their luck, but the Clifton keeper saved both shots well. Although the play was mainly in the Clifton half, the Phantoms did not turn their possession into chances, creating very little as the simple, effective passes that we saw last season were replaced by solo dribbles, crosses and shots, which unfortunately today ended either high over the bar or wide of the post. The Phantoms did manage to take the lead when a corner, taken by Charlie, was semi cleared, and fell straight to the ideally positioned Dom, who shot high into the net. Jayden and Ben had been fairly quiet in front of Lucas, with Charlie regularly dropping deep to collect the ball, looking to involve Edward and Lucas through midfield. Just before half time Clifton drew level with a scrappy goal somewhat against the run of play, but reward for their hard work and effort in the first period.
Having defended well in the first half, Clifton looked much more confident in the second half and took advantage of the Phantom’s disjointed play and pushed forward with more urgency. Lucas H pulled off a couple of good saves as the defence suddenly came under intense pressure. The Phantom’s lack of penetration continued as the Clifton defence was only fleetingly stretched as the boys mustered a series of half-chances, but couldn’t create a decisive, clear-cut chance. Lucas H was again called into action just before the end, as three times he pulled off superb saves to keep the scores level. The Phantoms showed lots of hard work and endeavour, but are yet to click into top gear so far this season, and need to work on their decision making on when to pass and when to keep the ball if they are to get back to playing the same quality of football that impressed us all last season. There were some glimpses of it today at times, but we look forward to seeing much more to come in the weeks ahead.
Full-time: OTJ Phantoms 1 v 1 Clifton Rangers A
Player of the Match: For an energetic box to box performance today, and some great communication and organisation of the team during the game, Charlie earned the nod this morning. Well done and keep it up.
The Warriors lined up this morning with James in goal, Jacob and Samuel in defence; Jamaine, Cai and Jamie across the middle; and Tyler up front. Almost a re-run of last week’s match without the goals! The opening minutes were all about Warriors, with once again some fine passing and movement on display. A lovely combination of passes between Jamaine and Jamie saw the latter play in a great ball to Tyler, whose instinctive first time effort was just wide of the goal. A scrappy period of midfield play followed as both teams looked to assert themselves. A couple of Clifton corners where well dealt with by James, whose handling and distribution was exemplary today; catching everything and always alert to look for the quick option. As the half progressed the Warriors gained the upper hand. A lovely pass from Jamaine release Tyler, who rolled his defender and bore down on goal, only to see his shot well saved by the visiting keepr. This was followed by a similar move as Jamie broke free and saw his show from a more difficult angle well saved. A trademark Jamie solo run, full of skill and guile lead to a powerful shot that just cleared the bar. Despite all of their pressure, the Warriors found themselves all-square at half-time.
The second half started with Clifton pushing forward more and created a good chance only to see James save well and then Jacob and Jamie produce some fine last ditch defending. The Warriors still looked threatening going forward, sticking to their next passing game to carve out chances. After some nice work down the right between Jamie and Jacob, there was an almighty scramble in the Clifton end only to see the ball cleared off the line and to safety. A Tyler first time volley from Jamie’s pin point corner just missed the target and a Jamaine snap shot drifted wide. Then the sucker punch as a Clifton free kick cruelly flicked off Jamie’s head as he tried to clear it and beyond James to give the visitors the lead. The Warriors pushed for what would have been a deserved equaliser, but for the second week in a row, the lads found themselves on the wrong end of a result despite playing really well.
Full Time: OTJ Warriors 0 v 1 Clitfon Rangers B
Player of the Match: Similar to last week, the boys should take confidence into their future games as they are playing very well – as they say in football – someone will be on the end of a real hiding soon…! After another fine passing performance, with much improved tackling and tracking back also on show, the POM was, as ever, a difficult choice, but Cai’s passing, movement, skill and determination was fully deserving of this week’s award. Well done Cai and keep it up!
The Harriers started with Jack in goal, Rowan and Max at the back and a midfield quartet of Archie, Calum, Tommy and Matthew (Tyler H started as sub). No recognised striker upfront today as we left it to the lads to make decisions on when to break forward from midfield. They got off to a very strong start coming close on a couple of occasions. The deadlock was broken with some neat interplay, from the back, Rowans ball into Archie found him in space in the area, he shielded the ball well and popped off a nicely weighted pass to an oncoming Tommy who finished with accuracy. 1-0 to the Harriers. Max and Rowan were looking assured at the back, Tyler H came on to give hard the working Calum a breather. The Harriers were dominating play with probing passes from Matthew and Archie working really well in tandem to try and unlock the Clifton defence. Tommy as usual was working his socks off, always tracking back and equally making some very astute passes. In fact it was Tommy (helping out in defence) who broke up a Clifton attack, the ball dropped for Max, who instinctively found Rowan, his quick reaction and vision saw Archie, who in turn made a lovely pass into Matthews feet and WHALLOP 2-0 to the Harriers at Half Time. Very little for Jack to do in the first half.
Archie gave way at half time for Calum to come back on. A quick break from the off saw Clifton pull one back. Closely followed by a second to level things up. Undeterred the lads rallied and quickly re-took the lead on the counter attack, a lovely pass from Matthew found Tyler H who finished superbly for his first ever Harriers goal (well done Tyler H). At 3-2 up the lads looked comfortable and were stroking the ball around very well, with further chances for Archie, Tommy and Calum. Alas football can be cruel, and after over committing going forwards on a couple of occasions, Clifton hit us with two sucker punches despite some brave goalkeeping (as usual) from Jack. The whistle blew with the Harriers camped in the Clifton area looking for an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be. Well played both teams for a great game.
Full Time: OTJ Harriers 3 v 4 Clifton Rangers C
Player of the Match: If the Harriers play that well every weekend then as coaches / parents we can ask for no more!! Very well done lads, very difficult to choose POM today so we gave two. Firstly to Archie for his 100% effort, movement, tracking back, lovely passing culminating in assists for the first two Harriers goals; and also to Tyler H, again for his 100% effort, tackling, tracking back, overall improvement and a cracking strike for his first ever Harriers goal. Well done to ALL the lads today, wonderful performance and a brilliant game to watch.
Another morning of fabulous football in glorious sunshine. Well done to all of the players for their fine play in such warm conditions. All the best to Clifton Rangers for the rest the season. Thanks to Phil and Mark for this week’s match reports.