On Sunday Canterbury Eagles U15's travelled to Ramsgate to play Ramsgate U15's Colts, for their first away game of the season. The two teams had never met eachother before so nothing could be taken or used from previous knowledge. The only factor to go on was that both teams were in a similar boat, with neither team earning any points yet this season. Eagles were without Hugo Manning-Press and Lucien Eske, but included was new player Thomas Hayes. Eagles went with a 4-1-4-1 formation. Goalkeeper Kacper Bialek was keen to be captain, so he donned the armband for this one.
Eagles started very strong and were quick to take charge. With some calm disciplined passing and moving up the pitch Eagles were looking good. It only took 10 minutes for Eagles to get their first goal of the match courtesy of Left Midfielder Ellis Reid. Alfie Graña who was playing right midfield for this one, found himself in possession down the right side, he crossed the ball high across the goal where the on rushing Ellis Reid headed the ball down to his feet and finished well just past the keeper. Eagles confidence grew and it took just another 2 minutes before they doubled their lead, this time the roles were reversed. Reid played through Graña who made a forward run in the box, with pressure from the defenders Graña took his shot quickly which found the bottom right corner. Eagles were looking good all round but the link up play in the centre of the pitch from Hayes, Saunders and Grist made for good viewing. Eagles added a third goal which came from Reid again. Thomas Hayes in the defensive midfield position slotted a ball through to Ellis Reid who took a touch or two then struck a powerful shot from distance, which flew in high to the keepers left. There was no stopping that one!
Eagles were full of high Hope's and confidence at halftime and knew that if they maintained or improved on their first half performance then they could get their first win of the season. Although they were the dominant side at this stage there were still areas to improve on. Eagles needed to get more players making them forward diagonal runs into the box to receive the ball, instead of opting to pass the ball to the feet of static players around the outside of the 18 yard box.
For the first 25 minutes of the second half it was clear to see that Eagles had taken their foot off the gas a bit and allowed Ramsgate to play a bit and try their luck. There were moments in the first half where Ramsgate threatened the Eagles defence, but not as much as this period in the second half. Eagles defence were back to form with centre backs Gourlay and Crowley making some great tackles. It was left back Charlie Woolford who was stealing the defensive show, with his strength, great tackles, calmness on the ball and vision passing forward. Eagles scored their 4th goal in the 64th minute, with Reid completing his hat trick. He picked up the ball and burst up the pitch taking on whoever was in front of him. Reid clearly had one thing on his mind and was showing the skill and confidence to pull it off. He made his way deep into the box and shot from the left at a tight angle, beating the keeper. The last minute of the match saw 2 goals, one at either end. The first was extremely unfortunate for Eagles. As a Ramsgate striker was bearing down on Crowley in possession, he decided it would be safer to pass back to goalkeeper Bialek. As Bialek came out to kick it upfield first time, he miss timed the kick and the ball rolled under his foot and into the goal. Obviously this disappointed the Eagles players, but their reaction was the best one, go get another goal. Reid turned provider again by getting down the left flank, crossing the ball low and hard across the face of goal, where Graña and a Ramsgate defender were sliding in. Graña got there first and put the ball in the back of the net.
A great performance today by Eagles and a much deserved 3 points. A tough one today for Managers man of the match, with Charlie Woolford almost faultless in defence and improving every game. The Managers award however went to Ellis Reid who played a part in every goal. Not only did he get 3 goals and 2 assists, he showed the quality and confidence to make them attacking runs at the opposition when on the ball and make it count. Even off the ball he showed good runs in behind the defence. Reid was also awarded the Parents player award aswell. Well done!