BAYSTON HILL JUNIORS FC FOOTBALL FESTIVAL
Played at Bayston Hill on 14 May 2016
MARKET DRAYTON TIGERS 0
SAHA COLTS 0
Following a convincing win in the league against Tigers, Colts were anticipating a gentle opening fixture. However, learning to adapt to the 7-a-side format on a large, slow, sloping surface proved a tricky challenge.
Colts started brightly with a trademark passing move as Matty, Freddie and Finn linked up well before Freddie’s shot went narrowly wide. Further Colts pressure led to a corner which Freddie zipped across the goalmouth, missing everyone before landing at the feet of Finn on the back post who put it wide.
Midway through the half, Freddie found some space in the box and was unlucky to see his snap shot rebound against the post. But despite Colts’ early pressure, they weren’t able to force home the advantage against a much more resolute Tigers side than they had faced in the league fixture.
The second half proved to be a scrappy affair. James and Ryan posed a threat down the left flank but Tigers also came into the game. Their Number 10 added pace on the right wing and broke free three times, the final one resulting in a solid, low right-footed shot that was saved well by debutant keeper, Zendon.
Colts had a point on the board but this wasn’t the banker that everyone expected.
SHREWSBURY JUNIORS COLTS 0
SAHA COLTS 4 – Cole, George (2), Ryan
After wiping away the cobwebs in the first game, Colts came out with real purpose for the following fixture. Early dominance in possession led to a lovely right-footed attempt from Freddie on the left edge of the box which curled just past the right side of the post. Not long after, Freddie had another pile driver saved by the keeper after Ryan’s pressing created the opportunity.
In the fifth minute, Colts got the goal that their play deserved. A beautiful, in-swinging left-footed corner from Ryan was met by Cole to make it 1-0. Colts were keeping it tight at the back with Matthew and Will forming a solid rear guard and Cole protected them in a defensive midfield role. Juniors Colts managed one good attempt with a powerful right-footed shot from the left but Zendon produced a great double save to foil them at an important moment in the game.
Colts went rampant in the final three minutes. George won the ball after pressing from the front and went on a jinking run before slotting into the bottom right with his left foot (2-0).
Soon after, similar pressing as Juniors Colts tried to play out from the back led to George firing home a fierce right-footed shot into the bottom left corner (3-0).
In the final minute, James won a strong challenge in defence and passed to George who dribbled forward and rode a couple of tackles before laying off to Ryan on the left wing. Ryan still had plenty to do but the result was inevitable as he got in onto his left foot. An arrowing shot into the top right corner made it 4-0 and Colts had now shown they meant business.
SAHA COLTS 1 – George
MEOLE BRACE JUNIORS 1
The pitch selected for the third fixture proved to be the biggest challenge for the Colts so far. The small playing area did not suit Colts passing game and resulted in a scrappy game that made it into a bit of a lottery.
Colts carved out one early opportunity as the ball broke out of defence to George in the left back position. He hit it over the top to Finn who broke free and hit a powerful right-footed shot just over the crossbar.
In the following minute, Freddie put his body on the line as he blocked a certain goal from point blank range.
Play was stopped for a couple of minutes after a heavy challenge on Matty. After the restart, George broke free in midfield and hit a good left-footed shot just past the post. Freddie also went close with another lovely curling right-footed shot just over the crossbar.
Colts piled on the pressure and after the keeper saved a swinging shot from George, Finn and Matty both had shots kept out from rebounds. From the goalkick, ‘route one’ tactics led to a Juniors goal completely against the run of play (0-1).
Juniors battled hard to preserve their lead but as the game entered ‘Fergie Time’, George stole the ball in midfield and dribbled past three players before slotting home with his left foot into the bottom right corner (1-1). A richly deserved point for Colts.
UP & COMERS FALCONS 2
SAHA COLTS 1 – George
The draw brought up the inevitable pairing of these two fierce rivals. This fixture was expected to decide who took the spoils in this group even though word had got back to the management team that Falcons had already suffered an unexpected defeat against Market Drayton Tigers in their previous game.
Danger man, Isaac, was back for Falcons and soon went on a powerful run before having a strong left-footed shot saved by Zendon. He was clearly charged up against his classmates, George and Zendon, and upended George three times with crunching tackles as he bore down on goal.
Cole returned the favour on Isaac as a powerful run was stopped in its tracks by Colts’ enforcer with a trademark sliding challenge.
Just before the end of an even first half, Ryan went close with an angled left-footed shot after being put in by George’s headed pass.
Early in the second half, Zendon made a fine save from Isaac’s left-footed shot which Finn did well to clear. From the resulting corner, the ball broke to Isaac, whose left-footed shot struck the post before rebounding back off Finn into the net (0-1).
Colts got themselves back in the game four minutes from the end after Ryan passed to George down the left wing. George beat his man before steadying himself and firing a low shot into the corner of the net past the keeper (1-1).
Falcons responded quickly with their big number 10, Caster, firing a shot just wide from the kick off. From the goal kick, Colts played the ball out from the back with James finding George with a long pass down the right wing. The ball was passed to Finn who was unlucky to have his shot turned round the post by the keeper.
Colts were unlucky to find themselves 1-2 down with two minutes left after Caster’s shot from the right wing found the bottom corner.
Colts tried their hardest to restore parity. George broke free down the left but was stopped in his tracks by the keeper who handled outside the box. Nothing came of the resulting free-kick. Further crosses pinged in from the left – one after a nasty two-footed challenge by Caster on George – but Falcons kept Colts at bay until the final whistle.
Colts had been the better side but were unlucky to come out second best.
SAHA COLTS 1 – Ryan
CHURCH STRETTON MAGPIES 0
Colts knew they had to win this one to keep their hopes alive in the tournament. Magpies had been soundly beaten by Falcons in an earlier game but came out fighting in this game and their physically big players made it difficult on another small pitch for Colts in the first half.
Colts gained the initiative in the second half as Magpies kept six men behind the ball but always remained a threat on the counter attack as Colts piled forward. Colts' reward came as Will played a lovely low cross from the right into the path of Ryan who turned it in comfortably to make it 1-0.
Colts were now firmly on the front foot and Ryan went close with another left-footed shot after being found by George with a good pass from the left wing.
Colts lined up like 100m runners at the start of a race as they pressed from goal kicks and created chance after chance in the final few minutes. Matty had a swivelling left-footed volley saved by the keeper at close range. Will was causing chaos down the right wing and fed Cole on the edge of the box, whose low right-footed shot was saved by the keeper.
The sucker punch almost came thirty seconds before the end as Magpies’ number 7 was left to run forward into space but only managed to scoop his shot wide.
Colts had got the win that they needed and now had to wait to find out if they had made it through to the semis. Coach Mark gathered the players to let them know the outcome after visiting the scorer’s tent. A big whoop went up after he announced that Colts had topped the group. A great effort by the lads!
SAHA COLTS 1 – George
SHREWSBURY JUNIORS 1
(SAHA COLTS WON ON PENATIES)
Preparations for Colts’ first meeting with Shrewsbury Juniors didn’t go well after Zendon bumped his head badly in a training ground incident. Lots of TLC from Mark and Jo ensured that he was able to take his place between the sticks for this big game.
Juniors came out of the blocks quickly though and had scored within fifteen seconds after their number 10 turned on a cross from the left and struck a low, accurate shot into the bottom right corner (0-1).
Colts fought their way back into the game and could have been in with a good chance to equalise minutes later after George broke down the left but was unable to get the ball across to Ryan and Finn who waited unmarked in the box.
Colts started the second half with some great passing football right from the kick off. The final shot from Ryan was saved well by the keeper.
Cole was keeping things tight at the back as Colts drove forward. A free kick from the right by Finn led to a corner, which Freddie took short to Ryan. Ryan’s unplayable cross found George on the back post and he nodded in to equalise as the Colts’ fans erupted! (1-1)
A nerve-racking penalty shoot-out ensued. The referee’s insistence on penalties being retaken if the whistle hadn’t been blown added to the tension. Ryan and Matty both put their penalties away to maintain parity with Juniors. Zendon made a great save to give Colts the advantage and, to the delight of the Colts’ fans, James and Cole both tucked away their pens to win the shoot-out 4-2 to reach the final.
MEOLE BRACE COLTS 1
SAHA COLTS 1 – Finn
(MEOLE BRACE COLTS WON ON PENATIES FOLLOWING EXTRA TIME)
Colts were to renew their rivalry with Meole Brace Colts after the impressive side had beaten Up & Comers Falcons on penalties in the other semi. Early in the season Colts had suffered two heavy defeats against them but had made significant progress when they clashed again in a friendly in February so this was a chance to show just how far they had come.
Meole had clearly been instructed to shoot on sight and tested Zendon with several long range efforts in the opening exchanges. Cole and Matthew battled hard at the back and cleared their lines on a number of occasions.
Colts weren’t lying down though and George was just unable to get on the end of Jack’s nice pass. A minute before half time, Ryan broke down the left wing and hit the upright with a fine shot.
Colts camped in Meole’s penalty area for the last few minutes with corner after corner from Ryan causing havoc in the box. However, a counter attack in the last minute from Zane down the right wing looked likely to result in a winner for Meole were it not for James’ great run back to put him off his shot.
A goal mouth scramble in the first minute of extra time looked certain to give Meole the lead but a block from Cole followed by a double save at point blank range from Zendon stopped Ethan scoring.
Colts fought back and a deft pass from Will in midfield put in Ryan whose shot went agonisingly past the post.
Colts began to get on top in the second period of extra time and George had a golden chance on his left foot that was saved well by the keeper.
Further pressure from Colts led to a breakthrough. Freddie played the ball down the left wing for George to cross in and Finn raced in at the back post to tuck it away. Colts’ fans celebrated wildly and the players rushed to the technical area hug their team mates further demonstrating their great team spirit (1-0).
Unfortunately, Colts went to sleep from the kick-off and Ethan skipped past two players before curling a right-footed shot into the top corner (1-1).
Colts forged another good chance as Matty’s shot was saved and Finn’s follow-up went over the bar. Thirty seconds from the end, Ethan broke free and hit the post as the crowd held their breath. The final whistle went and it would all go down to penalties.
It turned out to be an anti-climax as Colts missed their first three pens while Meole slotted theirs away effortlessly to win the shoot-out 3-0.
Colts had finally arrived and can be very confident going forward. They had finished runners-up in the tournament but made everyone very proud and drew praise from the Meole coach who could not believe how much they had improved from their early season clashes.
Finn showing a predator’s instinct to nip in and finish against Meole.
Freddie making things tick in midfield and winning some strong tackles.
Matthew forming a great defensive partnership with Cole.
Cole completely dependable at the back as he has been all season.
Jack battling hard against some very physical opposition.
Matty being a menace up front and picking himself up after some heavy challenges on him.
George jinking through the Meole Juniors defence to snatch a vital last minute equaliser.
Ryan proving to be a constant attacking threat with his amazing left-footed crosses and his thunderbolt finish against Shrewsbury Juniors Colts.
Will showing his versatility with equally impressive performances in defence and right midfield.
James making strong runs down the left wing and having a great engine to get back and help in defence.
Zendon making a great debut in goal and bravely coming back from his head injury.