After the atrocious weather conditions over the past two monmtyhs the League are finding it very difficult to get the Cup Competition up and running. So much so that ONLY 2 games have been played since the start of November !!!!
Weve managed to play a couple of hastily arranged friendlies prior to Xmas against Altrincham, the current Champions, whom we beat 1-0 earlier in the season, they inflicted our first reverse of the year 3-1, dont like excuses, but they turned up like hungry wolves having not played for 5 weeks and we had injuries to key players Thomas Higgins, Ryan Hill and Max Phillips when the score was 0-0 and 1-1, which left us unable to make changes. The following week we played superbly (after the wake up call) against a strong Wilmslow Town team (4 of their squad currently in the Stoke City U10 shadow squad) and at one point we led 6-1 before eventually winning 7-3.
So yet again our Cup match away at Altrincham was called off so we arranged a friendly against a good Ashton team who play in Group B. Phil Davenport kindly offeredf to referee and he did a fantastic job !! Thanks Phil !!!!
So to the game, on a heavy pitch, our U9s had played on it prior to us in the pouring rain and the pitch right down the middle resembled a throw back from the 1970s, it was imperative we got the ball out wide and used the grassy areas. This we did from the first whistle, the three boys in midfield, Nathan, Ryan and the Captain, Thomas Higgins set bthe tempo with their excellent pressing and superb 2/3 touch football which created several chances for Flynn with his superb movement off the ball and it was a surprise that it took us 10mins to take the lead through a lovely move and finish by Flynn. If the first goal was a good team goal, the second was even better, 6 wonderful passes from back to front and a screamer of a left foot strike from Ryan that smashed against the bar and fell for our ace goal poacher Flynn to make it 2-0 on 16mins.
A couple of changes were made on 20mins and this together with our fantastic back 3 of Daniel, Thomas Mitchell and Thomas Dykes having their most difficult 30mins of the season allowed Ashton back into the game and they scored a good goal to make it 2-1. We had become tentative, passive and second best and were very fortunate to still be in front before Flynn gave us some breathing space when he completed his hat-trick just before half time to give us a more respectable 3-1 lead.
Several words were spoken at half time, particularly with the boys at the back, who by common knowledge are the best in the League and set the tempo for us to play our pressing game, but it wasnt happening today. We were more than happy with the front 4 and the boys who came off the bench, as they pressed when we didnt have the ball and played quick 2/3 touch football when we had the ball. So more of the same in the secondf half.
The second half started as a more even contest as the muddy pitch made it difficult for our boys to continue to press for long periods, however, the boys at the back, stood up to the plate, and became more proactive and positive in their approach, Daniel's starting position was excellent which allowed both Thomas's to compete for balls in areas they should have been doing all the game. This allowed our midfield to play passes in their half and the movement of the boys was superb and the only surprise is that it took a while for us to go 4-1 up when after a superb move and great strike from Nathan, which their keeper did well to save, Thomas Davenport was on hand to stroke it home.
Unfortunately a mix up by the boys at the back, after them playing so well in the second half, led to Ashton's second goal as Daniel was given no chance when their forward raced clear one on one to make it 4-2. We still had time to extend our lead when Pearse, after a fine team move, lobbed the keeper, only for the ace goal poacher Flynn, to make sure it went in and claim his fourth goal of the day just before the end to make the final score 5-2.
Ashton kept going and competing all over the park, but as their manager said afterwards, "You are a very good side who are a well organised bunch of strong boys, who are all comfortable on the ball and can compete all over the park, your passing and finishing is of the highest level for this age group". High praise indeed !!
It was a good run out for our boys, with some excellent positives and certainly some things to work on. Rather than give one player the MOM, it was decided that especially for the opening 20mins when the tempo of the game was set the Midfield 3 of Nathan, Ryan and Thomas Higgins would collectively receive the award.
We are at home to Fletcher Moss in the Cup next Saturday, weather permitting, and the pitch hopefully recovering from 2 games in 3 hours !!!!