SHREWSBURY JUNIORS FC FOOTBALL FESTIVAL
Played at SCAT on 22 May 2016
GREENLEAS JFC 3
SAHA COLTS 1 - George
After last week’s heroic performance at Bayston Hill, Colts were hoping to go one better at the Shrewsbury Juniors Football Festival. However, the first round draw had placed Colts in the ‘Group of Death’ in amongst Shrewsbury Juniors, TNS - an academy side - and Greenleas JFC – a team from Merseyside who, having defeated everyone in their local area, had travelled to Shropshire in the hope that someone could give them a competitive game!
Colts certainly did that in their first fixture. Greenleas started brightly with every player looking comfortable on the ball and looking to pass. Colts pressed hard and soon began to create chances. Freddie, who was working tirelessly in midfield, won the ball for George. His through ball played in Matty who was just unable to get it under control before Greenleas giant defender got back to clear the danger.
Another spell of pressure led to a opportunist looping shot from Freddie which just cleared the crossbar.
Greenleas didn’t panic though and continued to pass the ball, which was a great lesson for the Colts boys. In the eighth minute, a right-sided corner was played to the edge of the box where their giant number seven curled it into goal after the ball took a deflection off one of the Colts defenders. (0-1)
Straight from the kick-off Colts came back with their own sequence of passing involving Jack, Ryan and James, which led to a good save from George’s left-footed shot. The subsequent corner was curved in wickedly from Ryan and resulted in another great save at point blank range from George’s shot.
Greenleas doubled the lead in the tenth minute after a speculative looping shot from the left bounced in off the top right corner of the goalpost. (0-2)
Colts struck back in the twelfth minute. Will played a lovely pass forward from the left side of defence, which Ryan rolled off the outside of his left foot into the path of George. George still had plenty to do but dribbled past a man to the left side of the box before finding a gap between two defenders and slotting home calmly with his right foot. (1-2)
A minute before the end Greenleas broke down the right wing and delivered a cross into the box. The initial shot was parried by Matthew but the rebound was tucked away to make it 1-3.
Colts had their chances and could quite easily have earned a point against the eventual winners of the tournament.
SAHA COLTS 1 – George
The second fixture put Colts up against the academy side for Welsh Premier League winners, TNS.
The first positive attacking play came from Colts. George played a nice reverse pass from left midfield into the path of James who steamed down the line and whipped in a cross that the keeper just managed to collect as Ryan waited to pounce at the back post.
Colts made the breakthrough in the fourth minute. Matty played the ball out to Ryan at right midfield. He switched the ball to his left foot before playing a searching pass through the middle for George to take in his stride. A couple of touches, followed by a low, left footed shot into the bottom right corner gave Colts a 1-0 lead.
A couple of minutes later Colts almost doubled their lead. George won the ball on the right side of midfield and put James clean through only to be denied by the feet of the keeper. The rebound came to Ryan on the right wing, whose bending left-footed shot was turned round the post by the keeper.
TNS snatched an equaliser in the seventh minute as the ball broke free on the right edge of the box and was struck into the left side of the net. (1-1)
Straight from the kick-off TNS put pressure on Colts and the same player who scored the first tucked the ball away after being presented with an easy chance. (1-2)
Colts didn’t give up and came close in the eleventh minute after Ryan had a long range effort saved after being put in by Cole.
Colts were unfortunate to go 1-3 down after a hopeful shot from the left wing crept into the right corner.
In the final minute, another scrappy segment of play led to the ball breaking free on the right edge of the box and TNS’ ginger-haired danger man, Ollie, slotted home for his hatrick to make it 1-4.
Colts had been unlucky in this game. The Welsh side may have the benefit of being able to handpick their players individually through their academy system but their general team play wasn’t superior to that of Colts. All of their goals were speculative efforts or arose from individual mistakes rather than through dominance in their play.
SHREWSBURY JUNIORS 0
SAHA COLTS 1 – Ryan
After a tough battle with Shrewsbury Juniors that ended in a penalty shoot-out at Bayston Hill last week, Colts were expecting another tough battle in this final group game.
The early signs were good as Colts put together an impressive sequence of passes starting with Freddie in goal, moving through Will, Finn, Ryan and Matty before finding George who was tackled well as he turned in the penalty area. This was the sort of stuff played by Colts’ earlier opponents, Greenslea JFC, that led to them eventually winning the tournament.
Colts took the lead in the fifth minutes after George passed to Cole, who played it to Ryan on the edge of the box with his back to goal. Ryan turned, took it past the defender with the outside of his foot and curled a lovely shot with his left foot into the left corner.
A minute later, George was fouled on the right edge of the box. His left-footed free kick dipped and just went past the top right corner.
Juniors came back into the game during the last few minutes but solid defending from Matthew and Finn with accomplished goalkeeping from Freddie helped Colts achieve a 1-0 victory.
2ND ROUND (LAST 16)
SAHA COLTS 2 – Ryan, James
MERESIDERS MENACES 2
(MERESIDERS MENACES WON 4-1 ON PENATIES)
Colts finished third in a tough group and were faced with a knock-out match against Meresiders Menaces who Colts had beaten convincingly in League and Futsal fixtures earlier in the season.
This looked a different Menaces side though and they immediately began to pass the ball well from the kick-off. Within the first minute, Menaces took the lead after Colts had tried to pass the ball across their own goalmouth while failing to pick up a runner from midfield. The result was inevitable as the left-footed shot was struck well into the corner. (0-1)
Menaces continued to apply pressure and in the following minute scored again when a cross from the left wing was unluckily diverted into the net by a Colts defender. (0-2)
This wasn’t the Colts side that had progressed so much over the last few months. They looked heavy legged and started to chase the ball rather than keeping their positions. Perhaps the break that lasted over an hour had contributed to their performance?
In the fifth minute, a good near post save from Finn stopped Menaces going further ahead.
Lack of alertness from a short corner in the eight minute gave Menaces another opportunity but luckily the shot went wide.
A minute later, it was Menaces who fell asleep as Freddie’s powerful long throw into the penalty area was pounced upon by Ryan who toe-poked it home. (1-2)
Menaces passed the ball forward well from the kick-off and Jack had to be alert to make a good tackle inside the box.
Three minutes from the end Colts won a corner on the right. Ryan’s great delivery was glanced down by George and James tucked it away on the back post. (2-2)
In the final thirty seconds Menaces had another golden chance to win the game but the shot rebounded off the post.
This hadn’t been Colts’ best performance but they had demonstrated good fighting spirit to take the game to penalties. However, it wasn’t to be Colts’ day. They missed their first two while Menaces put their first four away to go through to the next round.
Back down to earth for Colts after the high of last week but they can be proud about their performances in the group stage against excellent opponents.
Finn pressing hard and forming part of a lively midfield three in the early games.
Freddie producing a great box-to box display in the game against Greenleas FC and producing a solid performance in goal against Shrewsbury Juniors.
Matthew making some vital interceptions in dangerous positions.
Cole getting forward from defence to contribute to some good passing moves.
Jack winning a vital challenge in the box against Meresiders.
Matty linking up passing moves with the midfield and smashing his penalty into the corner of the net during the shoot-out.
George producing strong performances in the first two games with good goals and through balls.
Ryan scoring a sublime goal to win against Shrewsbury Juniors and being instrumental in the comeback against Meresiders.
Will passing the ball out of defence like Alan Hansen.
James making strong runs down the left wing and grabbing a late equaliser against Meresiders.