It was a real case of Deja Vu for the CTYFC U15 Rebels on Sunday - seeing a repeat of the previous weeks' encounter with Badshot Lea Colts. The luck of the draw in the Surrey Youth League - League Cup saw us lock horns again - this time with a place in the final at stake.
Venue. KO, pitch and conditions were identical - and we knew that we would be in for yet another tough game with our local rivals given last week's battle.
It was a cagey opening from both sides - neither defence wanting to give any early ground. We were having some good periods of possession and probing down each flank but for some reason seemed reluctant to test the keeper when a shot looked the best option.
Erim and Kris were working together well to ensure we controlled the midfield - allowing Isaac, Freddie and JJ to defend on the front foot. In the 16th minutes another attack was launched having won the ball in midfield which led to Josh E delivering a quality cross having beat his man on the right wing. The cross was met by Oli who got across his defender and guided a first-time volley into the far corner to make it 1-0.
Hayden came on shortly after to replace JJ who was struggling with a knock and was immediately impressive - winning a number of tackles and using the ball well.
Lewis on the left was also looking a threat and was linking up well with Ben and Zahir as we pushed for a second goal. At the other end Dom was relatively un-troubled but remained focused when required.
Luke replaced Ben at half time as a precaution following a clash of heads and James replaced Zahir shortly after the resumption. Oli and Josh E were slowly beginning to stamp some authority on proceedings - continually probing down the right flank and looking dangerous. Isaac and Freddie were dominant in defence and along with Hayden looked comfortable.
We had to wait until the 60th minute to find the crucial 2nd goal - and it came down the right again. Oli peeled out wide and was found by Erim - Josh E making an excellent run to get ahead of Oli. Oli's ball was perfect - Josh reaching the ball in front of the keeper who brought him down as he tried to go round him. Oli buried the penalty to make it 2-0 and grab his 2nd of the game.
The ever-reliable Josh DK replaced Lewis on the hour mark - with Lewis having put in a great shift. We knew the game was not safe though and so it proved when against the run of play - Badshot pulled one back in the 62nd minute.
Our response to this was excellent though as we kept to our game plan and pushed forward. Erim this time released Oli down the right channel who held the ball up well and found himself 1v1 - he beat the defender and delivered a wicked near post cross which found Luke's excellent near post run and he deflected the ball past the keeper to restore our 2 goals cushion in the 65th minute.
Luca B then came on for Erim to bring fresh legs - adding strength and stability - with Erim having not given an inch and battled for everything in the midfield. We made sure of no more silly mistakes and rung the changes to keep it fresh and to see us through to full time.
Another epic local derby between friends and rivals for which both sides deserve plaudits for their effort and commitment.
MoM - This week was a very difficult choice with everyone stepping up to the plate and doing their jobs excellently. But the award this week first goes to Erim - who often goes under the radar but did a lot of things very well today and distributed possession very effectively. Also getting the award is Oli - for his leadership and leading the line really well, as well as bagging 2 goals and an assist to see the boys over the line.
Well done lads...