On Sunday Canterbury Eagles U15's played host to Ramsgate Colts U15's. Eagles were hoping of a repeat performance, when they beat Ramsgate 1-5 earlier on in the season. That match was Eagles most convincing win so far this season. Ramsgate were without key players last time so a tougher game was certainly on the cards this time, even tho the Eagles team had improved since then. Eagles had everyone available, apart from Charlie Woolford who was away and Nicholas Tsarouchas who was still out injured with a broken finger. Eagles went with a 4-2-3-1, a formation proving popular amongst the players. Goalkeeper Kacper Bialek donned the captain's armband for this one.
Ramsgate were quick to make their mark on the game by getting a goal within the first 3 minutes. A Ramsgate player burst down the left flank in possession, cut in towards goal and squeezed his shot between the near post and the keeper. Ramsgate doubled their lead by the 9th minute, when a Ramsgate player in possession got in the 18 yard box from the left, passed the ball across the face of goal, beyond the Keeper and defenders and straight into the path of an on rushing Ramsgate team mate, who finished with ease from 6 yards out. Despite being 2 goals down Eagles didn't give up, they started to work hard and play some good football to get back in the game. After some good play by Eagles, they managed to get a goal back in the 16th minute, courtesy of Dylan Saunders. Henrique Zanlorenze played a good through ball to Saunders, who in a one on one situation finished well. Eagles hopes of a comeback were dealt a blow when Ramsgate got a 3rd goal in the 21st minute. A Ramsgate player in possession to the left of the 18 yard box, drilled a shot through the body of players In front of him and finish well in the far side of the goal. Eagles continued to play well, arguably better than Ramsgate at this point. Saunders and Zanlorenze were using their energy and determination well to press any chance they could. Graña and Manning-Press were also closing down and dispossessing well in the middle. Graña also showed good quick feet to evade oncoming threats and and keep his composure before the pass. Manning-Press showed great composure and observation to hold of threats while he spotted his team mates forward runs, putting them through numerous times, even if the passes were a bit heavy. Manning-Press eventually got his reward in the 24th minute, when he delivered a well timed and weighted through ball to earn an assist. Saunders was the scorer again, using his speed to pull away from the defenders and then his composure to finish well beyond the keeper.
Despite the 1 goal deficit, Eagles knew they were playing well. Generally defending well against a strong Ramsgate attacking force, but also quick and keen when going forward. Eagles were getting in positions to create goal scoring opportunities, but the timing and accuracy of the forward passes and player runs needed to improve. Eagles defence needed to work together in the second half to stop the Ramsgate attackers using their pace and strength to penetrate the 18 yard box, particularly down their left flank.
The second half wasn't to be for Eagles, and as their level of play gradually dipped, Ramsgate took advantage of this and raised theirs. As the game progressed, most of Eagles were slower getting back for their defensive duties, which created enough time and space for Ramsgate to play in. Only 2 more goals came in the second half, both for Ramsgate. Eagles would count themselves fortunate as Ramsgate squandered more opportunities, hitting the woodwork on a few occasions. One of Ramsgates goals came from a shot in the box, amongst a scramble, after their corner. An unwanted number of goals from the corner have been conceded this season, so defensive work on corners is certainly due in training.
Eagles hopes of 3 points for this match were lost as the better side on the day won. Eagles had shown some great form in the previous 2 drawn matches, so consistency on that level was key going forward. Next week Eagles are against Tankerton Colts, the other game they earned 3 points, in a tricky 6-5 goal thriller. Eagles can't afford to be complacent going into next week. Hardwork and quality throughout the match is a must for this one.
A number of names mentioned earlier impressed today in different areas. The parents voted for Dylan Saunders for their award. Saunders in a forward role for the second week in a row, got himself another 2 goals today, both being 1 vs 1's with the keeper. He demonstrated great timing for both these goals with his forward runs between the defence, then composed himself to finish well. Hugo Manning-Press was awarded the managers award today. He was full of energy and wanted to be involved as much as possible. He dispossessed players frequently, then took the ball up the pitch for counter attacks. He used great awareness to spot his team mates runs so he could deliver a forward pass as much as he could. Well done!