MATCH REPORT - SELKENT LEAGUE 13-14 (Autumn): JR Spartans vs Phoenix Cougars 6th Oct 13
We saw our second home fixture of the Autumn season facing Phoenix Cougars, who like us had had one win and one lose to date. This meant the game had the potential of being a very close game. With George away this weekend our starting line up was as following :- Ben (Goalkeeper), Taran, Finlay (cpt), Jack, Lovell, Alfie and Callum. Fortunately our oppenents choose to swap ends which gave us the advantage on our slightly slopping pitch and also meant Ben didn't have the sun in his eyes. The boys looked well balanced in defence with Finlay, Taran and Jack keeping Phoenix at bay, meaning Ben was rarely tested. There was also good wing play from Lovell and Alfie being fed the ball from Jack. Callum also worked tirelessly up front and had an early attempt at goal blocked by the Phoenix keeper. Later a flowing passing move between Jack and Alfie down the right hand side provided another opportunity for Callum, but again their keeper made a good save. Callum went close again when the Phoenix keeper kicked the ball out, straight into the path of Callum, only for his resulting shot to go just wide of the Cougars goal. With about 15 minutes gone of the first half, we won a corner, the ball was played into the box and after a small scramble Lovell gathered the ball and fired it into the bottom right hand corner of the Cougars goal (Lovely strike Lovell). The guys were really excited to break the deadlock and almost from the kick off, the ball found it's way to Alfie who struck a terrific 20 yard shot, which was too powerful for the Cougars keeper to keep out (great strike Alfie). Taran, Finlay and Jack continued to work hard in defence, particularly keeping the Phoenix left winger in check to ensure he didn't feed their striker. With the last few minutes of the first half ticking away we won a throw in on the left hand side. Jack receied the throw in and jinked on the edge of their penalty area and then put a smashing pass across the Phoenix goal for Callum to blast the ball home for our third of the game (great goal Callum).
Half Time score: Junior Reds Spartans - 3, Phoenix Cougars - 0
Given that we were likely to be under pressure in the second half, due to the slopping pitch, changes were made not only to give everyone a chance to play but I also changed the squad into a more defensive formation with three defenders and three midfieldersm, in an attempt to prevent any threats from long balls being played. For the start of the second half William replaced Callum, Kaci replaced Alfie and Shemar replaced Lovell. Although a defensive formation we still had great opportunities and a this showed when William passed the ball back to Shemar. Shemar passed a long ball onto Jack who then set up Kaci who's shot just went wide of the Cougars goal (brilliant attempt Kaci). William also went close shortly afterwards when some terrific closing down and battling gave William a shooting chance on goal (great work William). Jack also went close with some fantastic dribbling in the box and a fearsome shot at goal, only to see his effort saved by the Cougars keeper (fantastic shot Jack). However as thought Phoenix did put more pressure on our goal and if it wasn't for great defending by Taran, Finlay, Shemar and as ever, great saves by Ben, we could have been in more trouble. With 7 minutes left a free kick was awarded to Phoenix and from the resulting scramble to clear the ball it finally fell to a Cougar player who fired a shot at our goal which took a slight deflection to beat Ben. This boosted Phoenix but it was too late, as the boys continued to battle and close down Phoenix everytime they had the ball other chances were few.
Full Time score: Junior Reds Spartans - 3, Phoenix Cougars -1
Managers Comments: Another home win, which means we remain unbeaten at our new home ground. What I really liked about this game was the way the team adapted themselves and understood what was required of each and everyone of them. I purposely looked to go defensive at half time and the boys understood that (altough we still created good opportunities to score). We still need to keep working on the passing element of our game and the awareness of other players in the squad, but all in all a great performance by everyone. Well done boys this givees us another 2 points in the league.
A big thank you goes to William for refereeing the game and John for helping to return the goals behind the barrier after the game.
Captain – Finlay
Man of the match - Jack