Team(4-4-2): James Nicholas, Freddie Meaden, Edward Ford, Charlie Tomassi, Owen Shaw, Bradley Ashton, Ryan Levein, Okasha Mumed, Luke Pilkington, Destiny Iduozee, Joseph Wright
Subs: Lawrence Iduozee, Jacob Myddelton
On a fine but chilly Sunday morning I went down to TOAN to check out our Under 13s side. The team are struggling in their division sitting next to bottom with only 1 win in 9 matches that being as long ago as early September. Their opponents, Brendon Bees U13s sit in the top four.
With a slight breeze in their faces, Santos made an encouraging start. A first minute corner resulted in an early chance with the ball just going wide of the target. They made several promising breaks during the half, creating chances, but failing to punish the visiting Bees side. The visitors for their part had their own fair share of chances however the defence were well drilled and made sure James Nicholas in goal was rarely troubled. There was no score as the half time whistle blew. An encouraging opening half for the hosts
In the second half Santos played with the wind. In the first few minutes the through ball was regularly over hit resulting in possession being wasted. However the scoring was opened after 8 mins, Luke Pilkington found space on the left wing, he drove into the box and his pass was met by Okasha Mumed who made no mistake from 10 yards out. This spurred Santos on and they started to gain full control of the match. On 15 mins, a strong run by Bradley Ashton and his fine cross evaded both strikers eventually going agonisingly wide of the far post. The lead was doubled after 20 mins when a poor goal kick was collected by Bradley Ashton, he managed to compose himself before slotting the ball home. Not long after the Bees post was rattled with the goalkeeper well beat. After 26 mins the Bees managed to get back into the game. A long ball over the top, deceived the Santos defence and a Bees striker managed to slip the ball past James Nicholas. By now Bees believed that they could go on and get something out of the game, there were a few anxious moments in the Santos area, with the defence working overtime to preserve the lead. The result was finally assured when after some fine passing around the area the ball came to Bradley Ashton and the midfielder made no mistake with a first time shot, with only a minute to go.
There was no hiding the delight, at the final whistle, of head coach Danny Levein and his assistants Shaun Ford & Kelvin Shaw. They were rightly proud of all the squad this morning and I hope all the squad will be happy with their own performances today. It was a different scene at the post match team talk of Brendon Bees, their vociferous coach was shouting out instructions and criticism all match as well as afterwards.
It was a pleasant match to watch, both teams showed remarkable enthusiasm throughout the whole match, (junior 11 v 11 matches are of 35 mins each half), not easy playing on a full size pitch and I was equally as proud of every member of Dannys squad. Hopefully some of these lads may eventually become part of the open age team.