Approaching today’s game we knew that only 7 were available for the match in what ‘soccer mums’ described as terrible monsoon conditions. I feared for our sugar coated kids especially since every game without subs this year we had lost despite showing fantastic character in all those matches but we had won 3 of our last 4 games so we’re in good form. James started in goal due to a foot injury and performed well without conceding a goal then recovered enough to bravely play out in his usual central role second half along side Ben in midfield. Joel replaced James in goal and was the busier of the two keepers even if that was due to chasing the ball across the field in the wind. Joel had worked hard in defence and contributed to us finishing with a clean sheet in the first half. Ollie grabbed his usual goal from a trademark powerful run down the centre of the pitch from defence and Will out score many strikers when his left foot starts to improve. Thomas was superb running with the ball in the first half, running past the opposition time and again and it was no surprise he tired in the second half after the level of effort he’d put in. Finley, on the left, chased every lose ball in search of goals, forcing a great save from their goalkeeper but that only delayed him claiming a hat-trick and on another day he could have been on double figures, it was one of those games. Narrowly grabbing MotM award for several runs back to help team mates at the back, it was a good day for Finley. Nick played throughout on the right wing and by his recent standards had a relatively quiet game but that didn’t stop team mates running to him to celebrate scoring a goal. Both Nick and Finley are learning that playing wide sometimes means stretches of a match can go by without you directly being involved but holding their position can affect what’s happening elsewhere on the pitch. Ben sat nicely in his usual central midfield role and showed some excellent touches and control. When his 2nd touch matches his technical ability, Bens passing and shooting will trouble teams over the next few year.
None of the kids blew away, which was good, they kept the ball down and tried to play the way football should be played, prompting the opposition coach to approach me to express his appreciation of how our team was trying to play as a ‘proper team’. First time this has happened and I couldn’t agree more. As for playing with just 7 players, did we tire? Absolutely. 10 minutes to go and the opposition got back into the game but we hung on for the victory.Exciting finish, great game, again.