by wayneholt · 17/05/2021
A tough defeat for the boys who were punished 3 times in the first few minutes for giving away a little too much space. Once we switched on we competed more at both ends and were unlucky that a couple of attacks only ended in the side netting. The Phantoms kept the pressure up though and went in at half time 5 nil up.
Shortly after the break they scored again but this allowed us to bring on an extra man which swung the balance. The next 15 minutes were spent more in their half, peppering the goal, hitting the post and watching them repeatedly scramble it to safety. Eventually LJ burst from midfield to slot a well deserved consolation goal in the bottom corner. Unfortunately the boys were flagging from the effort and our opponents scored a couple more on the break before the final whistle.
Goals: LJ (1)
PoM: Joel - stalwart defending and some quality through balls to set attacks away, before a solid half in goal.
No, it's not a typo. Hawks faced an impressive younger side in a friendly at Hardy Farm. The diminutive Pumas keeper proved that good things come in small packages with an impressive display that kept Hawks at bay. Noah's close range finish put Hawks ahead but a speculative long range effort levelled things. Hawks played some good football but couldn't put their chances away. A contender for Almost Goal of the Season came as Bertie's Frank Worthington-esque overhead flick and volley smacked against the post.
Spring Cup Final
It could have been the stuff that dreams were made of but unfortunately dreams don’t always come true and this time the Harriers lost out in a close and nervy final to the Jackals. The first goal came to the Harriers from left back Ollie later voted player of the match by the opposition for his performance carrying the ball into dangerous positions up the left wing. Our defence looked solid throughout and credit for that also has to go to Luke with a mature performance. But after the first goal the Jackals showed their class to get through the Harrier’s steadfast defence twice. You could see some brilliant football forming in the imagination of the Harriers; Jacob imagined lifting some bouncing balls over their defence to run onto, Lucas imagined he could ghost in at the back post, Tyler that he’d curl one from an angle, Digby that he’d hit one of his piledrivers, Vaughn that he’d skittle through the defence and Max H that he’d pounce on a lose ball in the box, but for some reason the imagination didn’t quite turn into reality when, in other matches, it has. Credit for that has to go to the Jackals – they looked solid and as hard to break down as our own defence and their pressing made it difficult for Max P, Vaughn, Kayne, Lucas, Theo, Tyler and Digby (through rolling substitutions) to get any proper handle in midfield leaving us restricted to half-chances in the second half. The Harriers did ratchet up the pressure leading up in the last minute to goalkeeper Digby being encouraged to advance up the pitch for a corner in the dying seconds but, in the end, we couldn’t find the last minute equalizer to take us to penalties. It’s never good to lose but on reflection there is a lot to celebrate – what a run to get to the final and with only a handful of goals it showed how difficult both teams have become to break down. And, when you’re the under tens, there’s always next year and then quite a few more even after that.
Goals: Ollie (1)
Geese in the goalmouth at a waterlogged Hardy Farm meant our home fixture was moved to Chorlton Park for what felt like the first time in ages. Kick off was preceded by a minute’s silence for a young lad Jordan who lost his life playing football. A poignant reminder of how privileged we are to enjoy these Saturday mornings.
Egerton started the stronger, physically and literally and went a goal up with less than 5 minutes on the clock. But then the time swiftly changed to five past Tatton with a flurry of Kestrel goals. My favourite was a picture book corner, clipped into the middle by FS and directed perfectly into the top corner by LH’s soaring header. It could have been a few more but for some questionable offsides. EP being flagged off when clean through, despite replays suggesting he was just on. EP justifiably livid with the linesman who was in fact his dad.
Second half and we shuffled the pack. Egerton got a few back and their Tatton tails were up. Kestrels scored another couple at just the right time so bums didn’t need to get squeaky.
Goals: EP (3), LH (2), BH (1), o.g.
PoM: EP - Another hat-trick to add to his collection of over 50 Kestrel goals. And for giving their defenders, and the linesman, a torrid time throughout.
Starting Line-up: Alfie (GK), Cameron, Jacob, Louis, Kenta, Kofi, Isaac, Tom, Frankie, William, George. Subs: Ted, Zach, Billy Mark
West U13s stormed to an excellent win against high-flying Ashton in an entertaining clash at a sun-kissed Hardy Farm. Goals from Cameron, Mark, Isaac and George 2 saw West defy the form book and clinch a deserved victory against an Ashton side that is sitting comfortably in second spot in the league. It could easily have been 10-5 with a host of chances missed by either team.
West started brightly and but for some excellent saves by the Ashton keeper William could have had a hat-trick in the opening 10 minutes. The Ashton defence couldn’t cope with his pace and time and again he found himself racing through one-on-one. Ashton’s attacking play was limited and Cameron, Jacob and Louis were strong in defence. It was no surprise when West took the lead – the only surprise was it wasn’t William who scored. A corner by Frankie, who had been playing brilliantly down the wing, bounced through to the back post and an unmarked Cameron bundled the ball home. It was 2-0 shortly afterwards when Ted raced onto a ball that looped over the defence and when his effort was brilliantly saved by the Ashton keeper with his foot, Mark was there to follow up and tap into the empty net. Ashton were coming more into the game, and but for an incredibly brave block by Cameron – I think his nose will still be stinging – they could have pulled one back before half time.
The second half saw Ashton rejuvenated. They started with four up front as they went all out to get back into the game and West found themselves under the cosh. Ted made one excellent last-ditch block, but when he had to do the same again seconds later the ball broke to an Ashton striker to make it 2-1. Ashton then hit the bar as the onslaught continued. But gradually West started to fight back with Zach in particular doing brilliant work breaking up attack after attack. Cameron, who was back on after taking the ball full in the face, launched a great throw in that released Tom and he cut the ball back for George who showed composure to take his time and curl the ball over the Ashton keeper. West were suddenly on top again and Tom had two glorious opportunities as he twice danced his way into the box, but his first effort hit the bar, while his second went over. The fourth goal wasn’t long in coming, although the hugely impressive Ashton keeper won’t want to see it again as he let Isaac’s speculative shot bounce off his foot into the net. George made it five as he battled his way through two challenges in the box before slotting the ball home. With the win secured West could be forgiven for taking their foot off the pedal and the last five minutes saw relentless pressure from Ashton with Alfie making some excellent saves and other good chances being missed. But there was no way back and West secured an excellent win to stay in the fight for third place with two league games left.
Goals: Cameron (1), Mark (1), George (2), Isaac (1)
In an attempt to rediscover the pre lockdown form of 2020, a friendly against local rivals St John's was put before the sinking ship of HMS Magpie. In a week that saw our goalkeeper take his gloves home for good and our only recent attacking threat also fly the nest, Magpie confidence was fragile at best.
Our rhythm and passing tempo mostly purred to a samba style beat for most of the first half. Unfortunately, as we neared their box, we couldn't find our dance partners. Composure, and decision making let us down in the final third. Not surprising given the recent drubbing and goal shy games. But a step in the right direction albeit against a team less sharp than our current division 3 rivals.
St John's relied heavily on their pacey striker and long ball combo. A brace from such tactics saw us 0-2 @ HT. A frustrating score line given how much of the ball we had and how much better we were with it. But it's a game where you have to put the ball in the net, and we have lost the knack.
A decent 3rd from St John's put any hope we had beyond us. We tinkered with different combinations in midfield and up front to no avail. There was time at least for Zeno to chime in with a trademark classic for the collectors reel. His goal tally is creeping up from wide on the left. Perhaps a more central role beckons..
Final score 1-3. The Saints polish their halo whilst the scholars, despite playing the better brand of football, must go back to the books for more revision.
Goals: Zeno (1)
PoM: Jack W for a really solid and dependable shift.