On Sunday Canterbury Eagles U15's travelled to Garlinge to play their 2nd away game of the season, to league leaders Thanet Colts U15's. These 2 sides have a bit of history together, meeting in a couple of tournaments and a few friendlies through the years, but never in the same league. Eagles always triumphed quite convincingly against them. Judging by Thanet Colts recent results, and place in the table, a tough game was definitely on the cards. In fact their Manager (who I work with) told me he was after some long awaited (friendly) revenge. All players selected were in attendance apart from Cristhian Grist who was unable to make this one. Eagles went with a 4-1-4-1 formation again. Lucien Eske made a start today in central midfield. Keeper Kacper Bialek was on Captaincy duty.
The start of the first half was probably an even affair, neither team really taking charge or controlling the game. The deadlock was broken by Eagles in the 24th minute. Keeper Kacper Bialek took a goal kick which went high up the pitch, the ball bounced and found Ellis Reid, who went on a little run and finished well. The lead only lasted 4 minutes tho as Thanet Colts equalised. The 2 Eagles centre backs mistimed the bounce from a long ball by Colts. Their striker ran passed the defenders, collected the ball then finished well after a 1 vs 1 with the keeper. A costly mistake which was unfortunately repeated in pretty much the same way, 3 minutes later to give Thanet the lead. Eagles had some more brief spells going forward in the first half, most memorable of them was the 6 yard scramble which saw Eagles hit the woodwork and see the Colts keeper pull off a good save, all in seconds.
The lack of central midfield presence in the air and on the ground from Eagles needed to be addressed, as Thanet was playing the long ball game which would go straight to their midfielders most of the time. In general Eagles were not showing enough movement or commitment which they showed they could do in the last 2 matches. Gifting goals and chances to the opposition through Eagles mistakes also needed to be rectified. If Eagles wanted to take any points from this match, which was definitely doable, then they needed to dig deep and fight for it. The formation stayed the same but a personnel shuffle took place, with Dylan Saunders dropping into a central midfield role to add strength.
More of the same scrappy play from both teams continued into the second half, with Thanet possibly looking more hungry to increase their lead. In the 47th minute an equaliser came for Eagles. Ellis Reid was fouled just outside and to the left of the 18 yard box. Dylan Saunders stepped up to take the free kick. He hit it hard across the box towards the far post where the fast on rushing Alejandro Cobena timed his jump and head well to put the ball in the back of the net. The game had very much turned aerial, with both sides sending long ball after long ball which wasn't doing Eagles any good. Thanet Colts took the lead again in the 59th minute, when a scrappy attempt on goal from Colts lofted up into the air and dipped in behind the back peddling Eagles keeper. Eagles levelled the game up again in the 67th minute, when a moment of good passing in the final third of the pitch, ended with Reid scoring, assisted by Zanlorenze. In the final moments of the match a draw was looking on the cards for the two teams, which would have probably been a fair result. However In the final minute of the match colts were awarded a corner which probably shouldn't have stood. The referee failed to see the linesman waving his flag for offside for the move Colts played before. Colts took the corner which was hit deep into the box, their player rose well near the back post to knock it into the back of the net to steal the win and all 3 points.
Eagles felt gutted to lose in such a way right at the end, but to compete quite equally against the league leaders was the positive food for thought to take away from this match.
Parents man of the match deservedly went to Alejandro Cobena, who had another great performance in the defensive midfield role again. He also got on the scoresheet with a great goal. Managers man of the match went to Charlie Woolford. A weekly consistent performer, this award was always finding it's way to him sooner or later. He won most of his defensive battles using his strength brilliantly with such ease. He also looked very comfortable knocking the ball past a player or two until he picked out the right pass going forward.
Well done lads!