So, off we go to our customary weekly match report for the under 11's - take it away DC, sounds like a dramatic match....
Saturday 18th January 2014 : Under 11s Quarter finals Plate Match: Inkberrow 1 - Sheppey Swifts 1, aet 2-2, Sheppey won on penalties 0-1
Against a side that had beaten us 7-1 we played a strong confident team. From the start they passed the ball well and put us under early pressure with a goal in the first five minutes. From then on they attacked and we defended and harried for most of the first half. Duncan made many finger tip saves and Lewis and Ben worked hard to clear the
ball. At half time we went in still at 1-0. More pressure in the second half and they were rewarded with a penalty. Duncan saves and we breath again. Sheppey tire and we have more runs at their defence. Greg tears them apart with
his running - takes out two defenders a neat pass to Harry who taps it in and its 1-1. Now the game can go either way and like prize fighters both teams slug it out but no winner. The whistle goes and it goes to extra time. In a much more even game we continue to split their defence and Harry scores a great goal 2-1 to us. However they immediately equalise soon after and the whistle blows for half time. In the final half we continue to hassle and play
down the line but neither team can find a winner. Whistle blows again and we are down to the dreaded penalty shot out. All our team are eager to take a penalty, but in the shoot out 1 goal decides it and they win with a great
penalty shot in the top right hand corner. We had taken Sheppey all the way and nearly beat them - a far cry from a team that lost 7-1 to them before. This was a team that knew their positions, covered for each other, hassled and harried for the ball and showed excellent skill across the pitch; from finger tip saves to last ditch clearances to hard solid goals. Well done to every single player. So difficult to chose man of the match but Duncan gets it for some great saves and great confident keeping.
And now to Mr S and the Under 10's, fresh and ready after a holiday period of Turkey and Xmas Pud....
Saturday 18th January 2014 : Friendly : Inkberrow Eagles 1-1 Welford
First match back in 2014, and it was a friendly - against the team top of our League. Partly due to the previous weekends match being postponed and partly because the league rescheduled the fixture for 3rd May….no matter. Game time is match time, and all the players were keen and eager before kick-off. The surface was going to be a challenge – if no one has noticed, there has been a fair amount of rain about recently, and this has had an impact on the pitch. So to kick-off…Inkberrow were almost instantly on the attack, Jack harrying, back to his terrier like self. And it continued, with the pressure paying off within 10 minutes with a beautiful shot from Harry S going in to the top left corner of the goal. With that the match evened out, with a constant threat of a Welford break away being strongly repelled by Tom and Harry N. The passing flowed, there was some great movement from Luca stepping over, pirouetting and bamboozling the Welford defence with his creativity. One moment of real worry in the first half for the Inkberrow faithful was managed expertly by Ed in goal, palming over a strong shot from Welford’s talented forward. And there it was – at half time, Inkberrow were 1-0 to the good. As aside, this was against a backdrop of Harry S being ill, Hadley taking a bang to his shoulder and Harry N on his arm. The walking wounded stood tall, with all reinforcements filling in and ensuring no alarms or panic.
The second half started similar to the first. Within the first 10 minutes there were 2 clear chances to extend the lead, both of which Ed swung low and hard at, the first hitting the post, and the second dribbling agonisingly wide after the keeper had got his fingertips on it. But then the tide started to change. Welford pushed harder and started to grow in confidence. Several great stops from Luca with his legs, and some shots whistling either side of the posts. But during this, the colossus that is Tom once again calmed things down, and repelled all comers with admiral help from Harry N, Ben, Alex and Brendan at different points. In fact it was a scrappy goal, a moment of opportunism and frustration rolled into one, which lead to Welford’s equaliser, in off the post. But that was it. There was no panic on
the pitch and with Tom (man of the match) leading from the back, the team saw out the match for a well earned and deserved draw. The walking wounded at the end had increased, but what a performance – what a great team effort. Let’s ensure the positives of this game are taken into the next – the energy, the teamwork, the passing, the challenging….all great. But for me at the end, the acknowledgement that the team really is growing and enjoying this progression. Well done boys – next weekend sees the visit of Broadway United - come on you Eagles, lets keep this moving forward!