It’s been a few weeks since I’ve put pen to paper (figuratively, of course) to give a match report for the U13.1s, and for pretty good reason. There hasn’t been a lot of good stuff to talk about since the video montage of the game V Albion Park. If things went to plan that was suppose to be the launch pad for an assault on the semi’s.
But then we were hit with a couple of set-backs. Jack broke his collar bone playing Football at School and Jai copped a kick to the head playing Futsal for his school. This has ruled Jack out for the season and Jai missed two games as a precaution for concussion.
We were due to play two teams below us on the table, Bally White and Highlands and we had expected to pick up the points and retain 4th spot, if not challenge for 3rd or even 2nd if other results went our way. Unfortunately we struggled without the boys and managed a draw v Bally White and a 1-0 loss up in the highlands.
Fortunately for us the quirk with our comp is that as there are 11 teams in the division and a 6 team final series. This gave us a shot at the Semi Final, coming in fifth, against second placed Bally Black. The boys had shown right throughout the year that they were very competitive and didn’t fear playing anyone. Even with a draw against the second Bally Team they would always be in shot against the first Bally side. We had a good record against them, a draw in the first round and a convincing win in the second.
Jai was back after his two week sabbatical and the boys were up for a big game. It didn’t all go to plan, though. The nerves must have got the better of them and they were pretty rusty in the first 30 minutes. The passes just weren’t sticking and they struggled to get out of their half, even with the assistance of a fairly strong wind. After a quick half time recalibration the boys launched themselves into the second half. As was the case against Dapto the boys passing game was actually more suited to playing into the wind, even with the ball being belted back over the heads in the second half.
Regulation time finished 0-0, as did a pulsating 20 min extra time.
We kept the 4-3-3 structure right through the game, resisting the temptation to drop back in defence, or go all-out attack. Jacob, Lochlan, TK, and SamL held the strong back line. Ruben camped in front of them as the holding midfielder, leaving Matty D, Jai, and Mark to battle to create opportunities in midfield. Wilson, SamM, Dean and Ryan played up front. SamM was away on a couple of occasions, only to be called back for offside (once VERY unlucky). Wilson let loose a bomb from the right but the ball caught up in the wind and drifted wide. Ryan had the best chance of the game and was unlucky with an awkward bounce. Bally had a couple of good chances and put the ball in the back of the net, only to be called offside PHEW!
The team doesn’t have a good record in penalty shoot outs. Losing every one they have played in. 10.3 Major Semi, 10.3 Grand Final, U11.2 Major Semi. The scars still run deep.
Our penalty takers, Ruben, Jacob, Wilson & SamL all slotted their chances and Braeden made two great saves to give the boys their win (4-3) and a chance to play off in the final next weekend. We’ll be playing Shellharbour who beat Albion Park. The game was played in a great spirit and fortunately Bally will get another chance against Figtree next weekend and we wish them well. No one deserves to go out of a competition on Penalties.
So, well done boys, the Grand Final is certainly within reach and is there for the taking. It all starts this week with application at training.
TAKE CARE. NO MORE INJURIES!