U13 Boys Football v Chantry

25th September 2014

by Mr Hopper

This was to be the U13 boys first fixture of the season against opponents who always proved to be tricky, especially away from home.  After 4 or 5 successful training sessions with the Y7 and 8 boys, having the opportunity to look at almost 30 players, the squad were ready for their first game. 

The pitch looked in good condition, but the wind had started to pick up some what, which would provide for some difficult conditions.  Coates lost the toss and it was Chantry to get the game underway.  The opening five minutes were cagey, with both teams giving the ball away with consumate ease.  Coates seemed to take longer to come to terms with the physical presence of the away side.  However, after the opening exchanges, Coates did settle into the game and began to create chances.  Miles, Dom, Will and Jack each had opportunities,  which would have easily beaten lesser keepers, well saved by Chantry's MOM.  Throughout the game he was able to spring cat lke to thwart any Coates advances.

However, it was from a series of setplays that Coates were able to find the back of the net.  On three separate occasions from corner kicks.  Dom first on 11 minutes, produced a beautiful corner which was met by Miles on the half volley from 4 yards to give the Coates boys the lead.  Then immediately, in the second half, another good delivery saw an unlikley fumble this time by the away keeper.  The ball dropped to Ryan's feet for a side foot finish.  Coates were oozing confidence.  Just a minute later another Coates attack led to a corner.  Again it was Dom's pinpoint centre, finding the head of Jack to guide the ball into the top left hand corner of the net.  3-0 and Coates looked to be coasting to victory in their opening game.

Manager/groundsman/kitman/coach/referee Mr Hopper was now feeling a little sorry for the visitors, and wanting to see the rest of the squad, rang some changes.  This resulted in going from a 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-1-1.  Naively, Mr Hopper underestimated a traditionally strong opponent.  This change in formation, which had not be worked on in training brought about confusion and unrest in the Coates backline.  Chantry pounced as they desperately looked for a way back into the game. 9 minutes into the second half, a quick break down the left, with the defenders out of position, the away 15 drove towards the byline slamming the ball ferociously through the hands of Josh in the Coates goal.  Just a minute later, sloppy play in the midfield led to a similar goal from the same player.  Coates were now in utter confusion and clinging to a one goal lead.  Something needed to change.

Nevertheless a good tackle by Ethan and a long ball down field saw the ball break to captain Miles who almost shot first time.  However, a little composure saw Miles take a touch across his body and from the centre on the goal around 25yards out, he smashed the ball over the keeper into the roof of the net.

Chantry were not down beat and again reduced the deficit to one.  Only four minutes later another break away goal meant with 7 minutes to play  Coates needed to hang on to a 4-3 lead.  Mr Hopper, aware of this, reverted back to the 4-4-2 system.  Luke came back on to square up the defence. Miles, Reece and Dom were flying into tackles in the midfield to keep the blues away from the Coates goal.

With only two minutes left however, Chantry sprang the offside trap and the number 7 headed across the byline.  A last ditch tackle by Ryan had hearts in mouths as Chantry screamed for a penalty.  However, semi professioanl referee Hopper stood firm and was in a great position at the edge of the penalty box to see Ryan toe the ball out for a corner as the Chantry forward went tumbling, hoping for a last gasp penalty.  Caretaker Danny would comment later that on another day and from a different angle the penalty may well have been given.

Coates stood firm and relief was evident at the final whistle.  From coasting to almost wasting.  Clealy lessons had to be learned from this eventual hard fought victory.  A sound start for the team who look forward to their next fixture TBC next Thursday.