Sat 30
U11 Team
Hackney District
Stevenage Progress In Cup

Stevenage Progress In Cup

By Steve Cook
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Hackney hit for six

Today was the beginning of a very tough Southern Counties Cup campaign, where we were drawn in the preliminary round against Hackney and the ‘reward’ for the winners of this tie would be a first-round fixture against high-flying Dacorum.

We had a disrupted week of planning and training, with seven boys missing training during this half term week, so we started with John in goal and a back-three of Emmanuel, Tommy and Thomas – who all worked really hard during some defensive drills that we worked on during midweek. Ollie and Elvis would play centrally in midfield with Zach and Lennon in wide positions leaving Orest up front. This left us with a bench of George, Coby and Jacob.

The boys did some good work in the warm-up, which finished with a competitive keep-ball, and they looked sharp on a very miserable morning. Unfortunately, our match official let us down today, so we are thankful for Tom at Martins Wood for offering his services, especially as he was, erm, a little tired.

The boys started the game how they finished the warm-up, after just two minutes the impressive Lennon was away on the left and he sent in a bullet of a shot which to be fair the keeper did well to get to, pushing it onto the crossbar, but as it dropped (and I have no idea if it was over the line) Orest was on hand to make sure it ended up in the net.

Three minutes later, a good corner from Lennon found Ollie Hayes free in the box and he volleyed home for 2-0 and an impressive start to the game. Then with only 8 minutes on the clock the ball fell nicely to Thomas Matthews, who was wide left, and we encouraged him to have a go – boy did he have a go! The ball flew in the net from distance and we were three up.

At this stage we have to give credit to Hackney, who were a bit shell-shocked. They rallied after this and managed to pull a goal back before half-time following a free kick just outside the area and their striker was on hand to follow in. And it could have been closer if not for a wonderful save from John shortly before the goal.

At the break we said that the next goal would be crucial, we knew that Hackney would come out all guns blazing so we had to be prepared to match that enthusiasm in the opening minutes. But the visitors had a couple of dangerous attacks and again we had John to thank for maintaining the lead. Midway through the second half Orest did well to force an excellent save from the Hackney keeper and from the resulting corner Coby sent in a lovely delivery that George converted to give us some breathing space at 4-1.

George then fed a through-ball to Orest and he took his chance well from distance, the ball flying in the top corner, despite the efforts of the keeper, to make it 5-1. Another well-delivered corner from Coby was met by the head of Tommy Stephenson for 6-1, and although the game was won at that stage Hackney never gave up.

They fought until the final whistle and managed to score two late goals to leave the game at 6-3 to Stevenage. A good all round team performance from everybody, we still have things we can work on, but we’re into the quarter-finals!

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Match date

Sat 30, Oct 2021