U12s snatch victory from the jaws of defeat
By Martin Mochan
Boys come back from a 4 goal deficit against strong Cheadle Team
Following last week’s cup defeat at Timperley, the hope was that the boys would be able to bounce back quickly. However, if we could have chosen any game to rebuild our confidence, an away fixture on an extremely muddy pitch at Cheadle probably wouldn’t have been the game of choice.
It was immediately clear after the whistle blew that we were in for a tough game, as a well organised Cheadle side went toe-to-toe against us. We broke the early deadlock when coach John shouted for Sammy Chalmers to take on the Cheadle defence, instructions he followed implicitly to take the lead. Cheadle quickly came back at us to level-up, before James Kennedy netted, following a good pass from Miles Plant, to make it 1-2.
Any feeling that the boys were regaining their confidence quickly drained away as Cheadle then dominated the next quarter and a half, scoring five unanswered goals to lead at quarter-time 3-2 and 6-2 at half time.
With Robbie Wilson missing from our defence and Ollie Bielecki coming off in the first quarter, having valiantly tried to overcome a week of illness, we were frequently exposed at the back and staring down the barrel of back-to-back defeats. However, what has been apparent this season is that this team has goals aplenty within it, so, even at four goals down, there was still a glimmer of hope and John kept the boy upbeat and motivated in his halftime pep-talk.
From the break, the boys came out fighting and following a strong run from Ellis Booy, he passed on to Miles P who slotted home. Was there still a chance to turn this game around? When Finn Howie scored a fine individual goal to take the score to 6-4, there was an added spring in the boys’ steps.
This was becoming a very attrictional game, not least because of the conditions, which led to a lot of scrappy ground-ball. Cheadle were also playing an aggressive game, which kept ‘Nurse Simon’ busy on the touchline, with his calming bed-side manner assisting with a near constant stream of injuries (“look into my eyes, not around my eyes...”); Miles Q, Sammy, James Smith, Ellis and Finn all spending time off with knocks.
Fredrick Jenkins in goal began to pluck the ball out of the air with ease, thwarting many a second-half attack from Cheadle; a contrast to the first half when Cheadle were finding the net consistently. A goal from Cheadle and a quick response from Miles P saw the score move to 7-5, before Eddie Liles drove through the opposition defence to bring us within one the end of the 3rd quarter.
At this point, the tension on the touchline had raised to fever pitch. The away support was willing the boys to find a way to win the game. They were also willing that the peculiar cries of “water, water, water” from an on-field member of the opposition coaching staff would go away!
The final quarter was a time to step up to the plate and none did this more than Eddie, who scored three further goals to take us into the lead. Ollie also showed what this game meant to the boys, climbing once again out of his sick bed, to help shore up our defence through the final 15 minutes.
Cheadle, under pressure like never before in this game, saw their discipline waiver and as a consequence, saw their penalty count climb, resulting in playing much of the quarter a man-down. But this should take nothing away from the boys who battled to the end. Miles P scored the last goal of the game to spark jubilant scenes having secured the 8-10 victory.
Special mention must go to John Howie who navigated a masterful path through tough opposition, brittle confidence, a heavy pitch and lots of injuries, to get us over the line. Top work John!
This game reminded all of us on the touchline of what a great team our under 12s are. It would have been easy to have rolled over at half-time and seen this game go away from us. But the boys should be incredibly proud of the way they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat!
Man of the match goes to Eddie for his excellent second half performance.