Another local derby loomed for the CTYFC U15 Rebels with a visit to Bracknell Town for our second SYL Premier Elite league game of the season. Conditions were perfect and the scene was set for what promised to be a hotly contested fixture.
The Rebels welcomed new signing Joe Mather in goal who we have drafted in as cover for the injured Dom.
We made the perfect start and took the lead on 8 minutes when Chi found Mikey who had come short looking for the ball – his touch and turn saw him find a pass to Erim, who’s clever forward run took him into space and in turn slid a good ball to put Oli through. His initial shot was saved but Oli neatly tucked away the rebound. Just 2 minutes later Mikey made it 2-0. Hayden found himself with space down the right and found Mikey down to inside right channel – he rounded the keeper only to turn down the right footed shot – but coolly came back onto his left and finished into the far corner.
At this point Isaac, Chi and Freddie were working fantastically as a defensive unit and nullifying any attacking threat with Joe in goal communicating well and commanding his box.
It was further good defensive work from Erim, and in particular Kris that foiled another Bracknell attack that led to a lighting counter attack of our own. Having won possession Kris did well to find Lewis who was playing on the left and his good touch and vision released Mikey down the left – his pace was too much for the defender and his sublime square ball found Oli lurking at the back post for a tap-in, and in the blink of an eye it was 3-0. With the midfield now dominating it was Josh E this time that battled well and slipped in Oli who decided to shoot from range. His well struck shot was saved but the rebound came back into a central area. A brief scramble saw the ball fall kindly back to Oli who placed a lovely side footed curler into the far corner past the outstretched keeper for his hat-trick and 4-0 after just 16 minutes.
For the remainder of the half, we were dominant and should have added to the tally with Hayden and Mikey forcing good saves from the keeper and Lewis going close with a header being the pick of a host of good chances we created.
We were able to make a host of changes at half time and into the first quarter of the 2nd half – Ben, James, Josh DK, JJ and Luke all coming on, bringing good energy, commitment and enthusiasm in their play.
We kept probing whilst keeping full control and eventually managed to add a 5th on 58 minutes. Chi and Freddie linked up well and recycled play to find Mikey down the left – he whipped in a delicious cross (with his right foot too!) to find Ben with a stooping header which he buried into the bottom corner. Ben doubled his tally just 2 minutes later to make it 6-0 – another cross in from the left - this time by the tireless Josh E - found him at the back post again for a simple finish. Amazingly, Ben completed his hat-trick on 66 minutes – Mikey again with a driving run that finished with another left sided cross that found Ben at the back post for another tap-in.
An excellent all round squad performance with every single player doing their job excellently and not giving an inch anywhere on the pitch against a battling Bracknell side who never gave in and fought to the end. The Rebels though were absolutely committed and it was very pleasing they remained focused right up until the final whistle when it could have been easy to get complacent – keeping a clean sheet which Joe on debut in goal I’m sure was also very pleased with!
MoM - we say this often but we could have chosen most of the boys this week as no-one put a foot wrong. However, Oli and Ben both scored 8 minute hat-tricks each and were clinical with their finishing whilst Mikey scoring and contributing with 3 assists all get the award this week. Well done boys.
Always things to improve on and we will continue to work on certain areas – but a great start to the season for the Rebels - well done lads.