Newbury Forest 3-3 Loughton (HT 3-1)
Goals; Caleb 5, Jake 13, Arun 18
Player of the Match; Lukas
Team for the day
Starting 9; Max, Saad, Pavan, Arun, Abdullah, Jake, Casian (c), Lukas, Caleb
Subs all used; Majus, Cameron, Stanley, Ismael, Leo
We welcomed Loughton yesterday to our home ground. My Newbury teams, especially my son Max's team, always had a good rivalry against Loughton over the years seeing some hard fought great games and yesterday was another of those occasions. We started really well with the starting 9 players making the most of our dominance by scoring 3 goals in the first 20 minutes. Max launched a quick drop kick down the middle after 5 minutes to Caleb who with 2 defenders on him was able to gain control with his head and surge past them. Caleb broke towards the keeper and slotted his shot past him to open the scoring. After 13 minutes Jake blocked a clearance, set him self and struck a lovely high shot from outside the area over the keeper for two nil. We were holding firm at the back so were able to get forward at will. After 18 minutes we were awarded a free kick well outside the Loughton area on our right. Arun stepped up and hit a perfect left foot shot into the far corner of the net over the tall and very good Loughton keeper. It was a perfectly placed shot from our free kick specialist. 3-0. We had taken our chances early on but the game was more even than the scoreline suggested. Our player of the match Lukas was brilliant down the left this week. He had the beating of his strong opponent and delivered excellent left foot crosses along with pull backs and his corners. Top stuff from Lukas all game. Abdullah and Jake were solid in the middle of the park all game also. Abs again had energy to burn and is one of our top players. He is developing so well this season by adding more passing and good decision making to his undoubted strength, bravery, great attitude and competitive spirit. Jake was also at the centre of some great passing moves. We saw some of these moves involving Abs and Jake along with the left sided players Lukas and Pav. Pavan was really good positionally as he was up and down the line supporting Lukas in attack and defending so well when required. Cameron went close at the back post which almost saw us go 4-0 up. I think a bit of self belief would have seen our talented younger player score.
Loughton were not about to give up though and I could see it was going to be vital to keep them at bay before half time. Unfortunately the ref played over 3 minutes of injury time just before half time and Loughton pulled the what was to prove crucial goal back with the last kick of the half.
The second half started and before 2 minutes were up the score was 3-3. Truthfully our mistakes had gifted them both goals. Never mind. We pulled ourselves together and from then on we were the team on top. For the rest of the game we worked hard. Majus had started slowly since he was subbed on in the first half but for the rest of the game he was excellent. He contributing with strong brave tackles and good passing. We saw a great passing move in the second half which saw the ball end up with the well positioned (as usual) Stan. He just wasn't able to score before a crunching tackle took him out of the game. Caleb (I think) also hit the post. Saad after a slowish looking first period came on in the second half and was back to his best defending and going forward so well to support the attack.
In the last few minutes both teams were going for the win. We had the better of the play but with the last kick of the match a Loughton free kick grazed the top of the bar....so another 3-3 draw!
Again all players contributed. Leo, after a few weeks of illness, was able to come on and get 15 minutes under his belt. Casian fought hard as our captain yesterday on the right. Ismael also really gave his all. It would have been great to have gained all 3 points but it wasn't to be. Lots of good points from yesterday; some good passing moves, good competitive spirit. 3 great goals. Our defence was on top of their attack for all but 3 minutes of the game! hard work was seen from all players. We still need to mark better from throws and corners. We will work on this either Wednesday but more likely Saturday in training. Also another thing we need to learn is game management. As the first half was going on well past 30 minutes we should have dug in and had most players back defending. I know this goes against our attacking instinct and philosophy but if we could have gone in at half time 3-0 up I am sure we would have won. Also we need to be awake and "keep it tight" at the back just after half time. Every team coming out for the second half behind will mount a big effort to get back into the game. We must not let them back in. For both of the Loughton second half goals we had several chances to clear the ball but failed. It happens.
This was a similar game to our 4-0 victory over Bealonians. The difference was that we kept Bealonians at bay when they looked like getting a foothold and beat them because of that.
So we were disappointed. However for all but 3 minutes yesterday I thought we were brilliant.
Well done all - see you on Wednesday