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Academy Match Reports


7th Mar 2024

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL academy U7 gold boys 3 vs 1 TGFC

Our first formal game against a U8 team provided tough opposition due to the physical advantages of being a year older. However, our technical abilities meant that we were winners on the day.

2 goals for Djibril gave us a 2-0 lead, and Arthur finished coolly after a brilliant run from deep to give us a 3-0 lead. The limbs following this was my highlight of the match. A late goal back meant the final score was 3-1.

A game in which we could have scored a few more, if not for plenty of last ditch blocks from TGFC, who seemed to have a defender stood on the edge of their box at all times. Lots of fantastic dribbling, positive play and solid defensive work meant this was a game we dominated. Ian in goal also made some solid saves and distributed very well! Ian and Isaiah shared player of the match, as voted for by the players on the day!

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL academy U9 gold boys 4 vs 1 Camden Borough AFC

What a day for the U9 Gold boys! Tough opposition once again so knew we would be tested. Some real good chances from both teams but we looked the more comfortable team. Our ability to use our positive touch into space and our switch of play was the main factor in us coming out with the result. A good game overall with some terrible weather to accompany it.

Good goals all from Ezekial, Louis and James Gallier x2. Shout out Roka Khamis for his wonder ball into James Gallier to score his first goal. De Bruyne would be impressed! My highlight of the game. I spoke with him before this pass and asked him how he can smile in this game as I thought he was really good but wasn’t enjoying himself. He said “goals or assists” which then I encouraged him to enjoy playing the simple passes and then test his ability in pulling off a wonder pass, which resulted in a goal. The smile on his face after this had happened was brilliant to see.

James Gallier has to be my player of the match this game after having a wonder performance in goal stopping some really difficult shots. He was able to come out of goal in the second half and score a nice tidy finish across the keeper and then a wonder strike for 20 yards out into the top corner! This performance is credit to James’ work ethic in getting better and helping his teammates improve around him.

Training consisted of building and breaking, mainly looking at how we maintain possession to then chose when we break if it’s available. I wanted us to be as confident as possible when on the ball and I think we achieved that well. Next week will look into playing through the thirds breaking It down to mainly focus on the middle third of the pitch.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL academy U9 gold boys 9 vs 2 Queens Park Sharks

To begin with it took us a while to adjust to the opposition’s high press playing style allowing them to score really early with a good into the corner. However, after a while of building our possession up and breaking when necessary. The goals wouldn’t stop coming. The goals were from Oli, Louis x2, James x2, Paulo, Henry, Luca and Rocco. All of these goals had stuff in them that we have practiced this season!

My favourite moment was, after being annoyed that he would have to go in goal, Paulo played a great pass over the top to give us a chance then seconds later made a really good save with his feet. My player of the match has to be James Ssensuwa after coming back to play in the Gold game he felt he hard to leave his mark. His movement off ball and ball striking was fantastic meaning he scored two goals. Unfortunately he had to leave before the final whistle (which he wasn’t very happy about) but a dominant performance from him!

Training consisted of building and breaking, mainly looking at how we maintain possession to then choose when we break if it’s available. I wanted us to be as confident as possible when on the ball and I think we achieved that well. Next week will look into playing through the thirds breaking It down to mainly focus on the middle third of the pitch.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL academy U9 black boys 0 vs 6 PFA

The first 10 minutes of the match was quite even, with both teams creating shooting chances. The boys were able to follow the match plan and looked for passes to play from the back. But the passes disappeared when we were facing high pressure. We struggled a little bit in finding a vertical link to break the lines. Therefore, the boys tended to dribble and come closer to each other rather than trying to help each other out. This limited our chances to work the ball out into open space. The opponents were good at using that to win the ball back and quickly switch the ball to the weak side.

Although we didn’t manage to score a goal to cheer up. All of the boys worked hard and never dropped their heads during the game. They were keen to listen to  instructions and reacted positively on the pitch. As a result we had more instances of working the ball into opponent’s final third in the second half when compared to the first.

My favourite moment was when Paulo was brave and confident in working the ball out in the right corner area surrounded by 2 defenders creating a finishing chance from a small angle. Player of the match goes to Nabil. He made 2 brilliant attempts from outside of the box, which were unluckily both denied by the post.

The boys started to get used to looking up for options when having the ball at their feet and have general understanding of playing from the back. But the habit still needs time to be formed. We will keep reminding the boys about the positions when in possession, and strengthen the triangle passes to allow the ball to move smoothly.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL academy U10 girls 2 vs 3 LFS U11 Blues

The first half was difficult for us. We forgot the fundamentals, especially getting goal side and communicating, resulting in three quick goals from the other team. After discussing at half time, the team came out with good energy and focus. We scored two goals and started to catch up. The passing was much improved so was the team collaboration. The girls were excited and saw the difference between the two halves. Piper and Alex scored in the second half. Piper dribbling all the way from the back to score and Alex had a nice finish.

My highlight was seeing the momentum change between halves. The energy and focus was completely different allowing us to almost come back and tie it. Emily was our player of the match. She kept her composure and focus during the entire match. She was also doing an incredible job of getting back on defence and tackling.

The first half it was difficult to see how the things we worked on in training came into the game, but the second half the learnings were clearer — supporting each other on defence, attacking the ball, and communicating. We will work on things like throw-ins and striking so that we can equalize the next game. If we play how we did the second half all game, we would’ve won the game.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL academy U10 girls 6 vs 0 HGS Soccer School Raiders

It was a great match overall. The girls had to communicate because the coaches were not allowed to speak. Goals were scored by Alex, Maisie, Piper, Aniera, and Ettie. There were a few bad habits showing like passing it to the middle or dribbling across the back line which, if we played a stronger team, could have resulted in several goals against us. Overall the mood was really high and the girls did great!

Seeing the girls work together, learn how to communicate and celebrate each other when we scored was my highlight of the match. Aniera for working very hard on not pulling back when she drives forward. This resulted in more great passes across the goal and teammates scoring. We worked a lot on communicating, driving up the pitch and finding the open player which happened a lot during this game. To improve we need to work on tactics like throw-ins and positioning to speed up the play.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL academy U10 Gold boys 3 vs 0 London Soccer Stars Blue 

A very inspired performance from our boys especially with the adverse weather conditions we still put up a performance to be proud of. We started off the game pretty well with our persistence being rewarded through a goal from Kingsley to put us 1-0 up but had some difficulty of extending our lead as the half ended. Our second half started with us having more directness to our game being able to carve out much more chances which led to our second with some nice pressing from Teo to win the ball back and allowing Kingsley to score his second.

Then soon after with some good combination play as Teo was able to seal the game with the third putting the icing on a very solid performance. My favourite moments was each time we pressed especially in the second half as we did not give the opponent any time on the ball and winning the ball high up the pitch. My player of the match was Vlad as his commitment to winning the ball and exhibiting the Bloomsbury values with his performance being exemplary.

This week we continued our topic of attacking movement which I felt could be seen in how we approached the game with us being much more intelligent in our off-ball movement going forward. I think we can be better in transition moments as we want to take advantage of these situations on a regular basis and will put this at the forefront of our training in order for us to get to the next level.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL academy U11 black boys 4 vs 3 Benfica

With the U11 Black Team there is a proud record at stake. With only one draw and the rest wins there’s an extra incentive to get a positive result. Only having 7 players and one U10 Sub the team were focused on getting the win. The game started off in a frantic fashion with the play going forward and backwards. We were then sloppy from the corner kick and conceded an easy goal. Heads didn’t go down – instead we went up the other end straight away with Marlei finishing into the bottom left corner. A new formation was trialled and it started working a treat – Amir was linking up well with our two strikers Marlei and Fallon and there were some excellent exchanges of one touch football. We soon went 2-1 up with Fallon pressing well at the front from a goal kick, winning the ball back and then firing into the bottom corner.

The team continued to play their football and pressed Benfica into making mistakes. In a similar goal to his first Marlei was able to cut instead and curl a cultured left footed shot into the corner. The boys were cooking and it looked like they would continue to score more and more goals. However, they forgot they still needed to defend. Caught going for more goals we were left exposed at the back and the opposition were able to get a shot away into the corner to bring the score back to 3-2.

At half time we discussed how well we were doing attacking – building on what we were focusing on in training. But how we were unhappy at the lack of concentration or lack of effort tracking back when we were 3-1 up. Of course we want more goals but we still have to be disciplined in our positions.

The second half started with Bloomsbury dominating – Amir and Moaz having some chances at goal but couldn’t quite put the finishing touch for a goal. Then Benfica picked up the intensity and we were again back to the wall defending. Ilyas and Flav putting in some big blocks and Rex making some big saves. From that pressure Flavio was able to play out and play Marlei through on the left hand side. This time he was able to let the ball come across his body, touch with his left foot and drive a shot into the corner on the goal to complete his hat trick.

Again though we couldn’t hold on to our two goal advantage and conceded quickly after. Sloppiness when holding onto the ball for too long when they could counter on us again and score. Making it 4-3 and a nervy finish. But the team did not give up, and battled and battled showing effort and determination to get the win! Another win for the U11 Black Team – can they keep up this unbeaten season?

Even though the shot was saved, my highlight of the game was the interchange of one touch passing from Fallon setting it to Amir, whose first time pass to Marlei allowed him to shoot. No goal but all the qualities shown from our training. Marlei was also our player of the match. Hat trick hero, three great finishes and created multiple chances throughout the game as well. In training we worked on trying to release the ball earlier, trying to keep it to three touches before playing the pass. We need be able to defend better when we go ahead in games – we forgot our shape and defensive positions, which almost cost us.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL foundation U11 black boys 1 vs 0 Active

An incredibly hard fought game where Blooms scored early, and battled to hold the game till the final whistle. Daniel sealing the win with the only goal of the game. My favourite moment was the passion the team showcased at the final whistle, you could tell how much it meant to the boys, and it was an incredibly deserved result!

Daniel was our player of the match, a fantastic performance from the midfield man, controlling the play at all times, and proving very difficult to dispossess! He worked hard for his goal, despite its scrappiness he never gave up and found a way to get the ball to the back of the net.

We have been working on defending as a team, and we fought hard to win our 1v1 battles, ensuring the clean sheet for the team! We can look to take more of the chances that we create, allowing us to score a few more goals and make the result a more comfortable score line.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL foundation U12 gold boys 1 vs 0 London Eagles

Very positive showing from Bloomsbury playing some good football and defending well in a very tough fixture. The game was end to end with both teams having chances to score. It took a last minute winner to separate the teams giving Blooms all 3 points.

Wood’s screamer in the last minute was my highlights of the match. Woods was also our player of the match. Solid all over the pitch, defended well, getting stuck in to challenges, moving the ball well and finally getting the goal that won the game.

Our communication improves every week, defending was superb and we are creating different angles to receive the ball. To improve we need to keep working on playing out from the back to retain possession.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL academy U12 gold boys 0 vs 2 Belsize Park Rangers

A tale as old as time. Bloomsbury alive and kicking first half with a top display against one of the WFL’s top sides. Seemingly able to kick on to deliver that big KO blow before… tragedy.

In terms of our effort, application and intensity, that first-half was up there with any of the football we played. Employing a new tactic of starting the match going long and looking to play in the opposition’s half, we rose to the occasion with combative and battling football. Archie-Blu and Eduardo continued their formidable partnership. But it was the counter-press led by the likes of Elijah, Maxi and Zizou that stood out. Moreover, our ability to exploit the weak-side of their defence by utilising depth and turning away from pressure was evident.

Unfortunately, as the match went on it became a more cagey affair, playing right into the hands of Belsize’s 6’3 monsters. Bloomsbury were unable to redial in their passing football and too often allowed Belsize through their centre. After a slaloming run from their incredibly talented #10 was deflected into the open path of their striker (also 6’4), the stuffing was visibly knocked out of Bloomsbury and our standards started to drop. We were no longer making angles or pressing with the same intensity, although there were also some good moments.

Maxi played with the confidence and assuredness we all know he’s capable of, piercing lines with his passing and starting to exhibit much better decision-making. Kez at right wing-back had an exceptional run around their defence, changing his speeds when dribbling before delivering a peach of a delivery only for Eduardo to join him in the ‘open-goals missed’ club. However, after his confidence at centre-back and ability to change the build up picture alongside a terrific out of possession display, Eduardo takes the player of the match award home. This comes after probably his best run of form and attitude in training – keep up the good work, fella. You’re actually almost bearable to coach these days.

All in all, some bits good, some bad. If we want to achieve the type of results we want and know we’re capable of, maintaining high standards at all times is imperative – both within training to maximise the time we have together, but also when playing to condition ourselves for the toughest of challenges. We’re a good team – to have limited to them to just a few chances and been competitive for the vast majority of the match proves that – but there’s work to do. Let’s make sure we put it in and finish the season strongly.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U13 girls 0 vs 2 Lymore

The girls all worked extremely hard, but a couple of lapses in concentration when following  runners allowed Lymore to get past and grab 2 goals. There was some solid build up play from the entire team with what we have worked on in training coming out in parts. Throughout the games there were some strong individual performances from every player. O’Miya had some amazing strength to hold of some players who were rather physical. Emily was a super team player and went in goal at the very end for a second time for the team after a good outfield performance as well. Jet had some superb attempts on goal especially after coming back from a fractured finger and was so unlucky not to score. BFA’s defence was strong and made some vital tackles to prevent Lymore attacking further.

My highlight was the determination and commitment from every single player on the team to keep going and keep fighting for every ball after conceding. Coaches player of the match was  Emma for an incredible defensive display. Players players of the match were  O’Miya and Kitty for all there non stop running, dribbling and passing that helped the team advance up the pitch.

This week we worked on our first touch, passing and dribbling which aided BFA in securing the ball and moving forward up the pitch. Next week we need to make sure we stay with our players and follow their runs.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U13 girls 0 vs 4 Camden Youth

A rainy Friday night match at Market Road against top of the league. You would think the team would be in low spirits from the off. But not Bloomsbury. Everyone was raring to go albeit a little cold. Our goal going into this match was a realistic one, not to be beaten by more than 4 goals. So for us at the end of the game it felt like a strange win, with a hugely impressive performance. We shocked Camden. We pressed them in the first few seconds of the game and could have been 2-0 up in the first 3 minutes. Unfortunately Ella and Emily’s shots were saved and one Camden player drove down the other end to score.

We spoke about shielding them away from the middle and running along with them in the second half and they had much less joy! At 2-0 to Camden we were still playing great football. Ella held the midfield well and Annabel made some good stops in goal. Ela, playing as our striker, initiated some brilliant pressing and forcing the ball to be won in midfield by Bloomsbury. At 7 minutes the Camden goalkeeper passed the ball out and Emily pressed to win the ball and take a shot which the goalkeeper tapped just wide. Kitty subbed on at 12 minutes and held strong in defence. Unfortunately the score was 4-0 at half time but we were confident we could even get back into the game.

The second half was goalless, which again felt like a great win with most of the chances coming from us. Eleanor made some excellent stops playing the whole second half in goal. The team stayed so positive throughout. Emily and Abi were working the wings brilliantly but still coming back to defend when needed.

Our favourite moment of the game was in the second half when Eleanor played a ball to Ella who played a little one-two to get a shot away which was unfortunately saved. Players player of the match was Kitty for great play and coaches player of the match goes to Emma for incredible tackles, especially at the end of the game to deny a big chance from a very strong player! We’ve been working on communication, which was really working in our press. We will be practicing shooting to make sure we can get our goals up this season!

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U13 girls 1 vs 1 Omonia white

On silent weekend the Bloomsbury girls really stepped up and took charge of the on field communication and encouragement. BFA played a very good game with some brilliant wing play with Jet and O’miya linking up brilliantly. However the opposition set up quick at the start of the game and grabbed an early goal but the BFA girls responded brilliantly and worked hard for each other and played some amazing football, the opposition keeper kept them in the game with some incredible saves however our girls kept pushing and kept encouraging each other which was brilliant to see.

Eleanor was an amazing team player and went in goal for a big periods of the game and made some super saves. Tara made an amazing run from halfway that was sealed with a bottom corner finish to take the score to 1-1. The unity of the entire team on silent weekend to boost each other and lead the communication especially from Emma was my highlight of the game.

Players player of the match was Tara for her incredible dribbling and equalising goal in the last 5 mins. Coaches player of the match was Ella for her non-stop running and amazing performance in midfield with super passes and turns to beat the opposition. This weeks training we worked on shooting technique and communication in anticipation for silent weekend. Next week we can be better by ensuring we always follow our runners.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U13 black boys 1 vs 2 Borehamwood

A beautiful sunny Sunday against Borehamwood Crusaders. We faced them twice before (drew one and lost one) so we know what type of team they are. The kick off was supposed to be at 12:30pm but due to another match going on before ours, we had to delay it for about 20-30 minutes.

The match started off well for us. We played in a 3-5-2 formation and for the first five minutes we were playing great football and tried to create chances. The opposition were playing from behind and kept possession most of the time after the 10th minute of the game but our defending was brilliant. Most of the threats were eliminated and any shots that went through our defenders our goalkeeper was always there to block it.

We faced some issues which forced us to change our formation to 4-3-3. When we did this we saw an improvement around our midfield and defending area. Around the 25th minute of the match our left centre-back, Linus, received the ball from our goalkeeper Kyan, and with a great ball he found Elliot who was playing up top. Elliot then stepped into the opposition’s box and with an amazing finish on the top right corner put us in front. The moment of the match. The opposition did not threaten us for rest of the first-half. Our job was easy and our work rate was excellent. HT score 1-0.

During half-time the players were praised for their efforts and their performance. Also, they were reminded that they need to be aware of any opponents so they can intercept in time.
At the start of the second half we came in strong. The opposition resorted to taking long shots. Around the 10th minute of the second-half, Linus, in order to clear the ball passed it back to our goalie who unfortunately missed it and so the ball went in the net. That affected us a bit but we were able to recover later on.

We were playing great football and we were keeping the ball much longer than usual. Our play-style was superb but 20 minutes into the second-half we made another mistake. This time on the left side of our defence with the opposition taking advantage of the space and scoring to take the lead.

After the final whistle the boys seemed displeased but once again they were reminded that they should be proud and happy because their work-rate, performance and attitude were one of the best we’ve seen all season. We are really proud of our team and we will keep on going. Up the Blooms!

In my opinion there is no man of the match from our side. All players did their job brilliantly and they did what they were asked for. Overall, training was had a positive impact on our performance as it helped us realise better our roles and positions when playing from the back. Also, we were able to build confidence when moving the ball and having possession. As always there is room for improvement. The boys did great and we should focus on the positives. We will reflect on our performance and see what areas need to change and/or improve.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL foundation U13 black boys 2 vs 5 Camden Elite

Despite harshly trailing 4-0 at half time, we turned it around for a second half 2-1 win thanks to 2 goals from Abel. Silas’s injury meant we had to rotate goalkeepers, meaning our ability to prevent goals was minimised. That being said, an increasingly solid defensive structure meant we conceded few chances, which has to be seen as a positive.

Second half was full of positives: link up play higher up the pitch was good, we conceded very very few chances, and two great finishes from Abel capped a solid half. We saw a team showcasing what we can expect moving forward. A sign of things to come when all of our new signings are used to playing together!

In training we worked on forming diamond structures around the ball which meant we had options for progression. To improve positional discipline – not jumping out of position to press ‘randomly’, will mean we are tougher to play through.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U14 girls 0 vs 1 PSA

Let’s just say PSA were not expecting such a close game with underdogs Bloomsbury! Kayla peppered the keeper with shots all game and was unlucky not to score and our defence, including debut star Mimi, blocked many shots from their attack. Both players received coaches player of the match for their efforts. Shola was called into action in goal many times making some flying saves. Shola and Muzique received players player of the match from their teammates for excellent play and encouragement of others.

As usual, many U13s players stepped up. Esther and Emily held strong in the rest of our defence with O’Miya, Ela and Tara tearing it up in attack. Marwa and captain Laura, our U14 wingers, were playing great balls into Kayla and even creating some 1-2s. We built up play very well and had incredible individual performances, sometimes it’s just not our day and we were unlucky not to take a point from this game.

Our favourite moment was when it looked like PSA we’re about to score another goal when Mimi sprinted back to block the shot and came away with the ball! Very well done. In training we worked on positioning last week and our shape looked exponentially better! The goal came from PSA taking a corner quickly and we weren’t set up. So we will make sure we are switched on even when the ball is out of play.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U14 girls 5 vs 1 Hendon

The Bloomsbury girls really stepped up during silent weekend and led the on field communication and encouragement. BFA started strong with Mimi scoring 2 minutes in to her second game for Bloomsbury after a brilliant ball across the box from Muzique. Bloomsbury kept up the pressure and played some really good football in the middle of the pitch and 6 minutes in, Tara took a super shot from just inside the attacking third that deflected in by the keeper.

Bloomsbury became slightly complacent and Hendon attacked as a result, but their shot was slowed down by a Shola save before it was cleared of the line by O’miya. Tara then found the net for the second time 11 minutes in with another super long shot. Not long after Tara’s amazing goal O’miya scores a super finish into the bottom corner making it 4-0 to the Blooms. Not long before half time Hendon managed to find a ball over our defence and score past shola.

Bloomsbury played the second half with 8 players due to a player needing to leave early.  However, Bloomsbury dealt with this brilliantly and worked hard for each other on the pitch and continued to pass well in midfield. This hard work was rewarded when O’miya grabbed her second goal of the game 38 minutes in to take he score to 5-1. My highlight of the match was the constant encouragement from everyone on the pitch.

Players player of the match was Mimi for her incredible performance on the wing. Coaches player of the match was Eleanor for her relentless running, defending and her pure commitment to blooms. This weeks training we worked on shooting technique and communication in anticipation for silent weekend. Next week we need to keep being this positive and keep our communication high.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U15 girls 3 vs 1 Barnet Panthers

After last week’s dramatic draw, the U15’s had a point to prove; to go one step further and leave the pitch with all three points. Yet another week with a full starting team was a promising sign, and despite some key players being unavailable for the match, the girls were confident and excited before kick off. Shola played in goal, a trio of Nina, Elliott and Zoe formed the defence, with a midfield four of our stand-in captain Emily, alongside Laura, Tessa and Yas, and a return to action was Tabs up top.

We took part in the FA’s Silent Support initiative, which aimed to cut down on unnecessary distractions from the side lines. Whilst the match was occurring, spectators, including the coaches, were to encourage players with applause only, giving players freedom to learn for themselves and providing an opportunity for leaders to emerge on the pitch. Our approach before the game was very positive; the players were in the right mindset, the warmup was sharp, and there was a real sense of belief that we would win.

Despite this we were slow to start; we were losing our duels and misplacing passes which resulted in us conceding a few early chances. It didn’t help that we couldn’t coach from the side lines, as we were missing a bit of direction and discipline in defence. However, we managed to weather the storm, and began to find our form. Emily took her newfound responsibility of captain to heart. A true woman on a mission, she was constantly tracking back and supporting the defence, as well as getting on the ball and helping to drive forward the attack.

Nina donned her firefighter jacket and snuffed out the flames left, right and centre, proving a real problem to get past. There was a lot more communication from us as we grew in confidence, and a big shout out to Shola who was constantly commanding and effectively organising the defence from goal. Our first goal came from a corner which was whipped in perfectly from Yas, and after being dealt with poorly by the defence, was poked home by Tabs who was in the right place at the right time.

At half time we spoke about three things: tracking back and providing defensive cover, being confident and taking more shots at goal, and lastly being more aggressive in duels. I told them that the team that wants it more will win this game, and it’s down to themselves to prove it.

After coming out firing in the second half, we took our foot off the gas and began to invite pressure once more, resulting in a good equaliser which squeezed through a blockade of defenders and into the net. However, this reignited our spark; no more than five minutes later, Yas picked up the ball about 30 metres from goal, danced past two defenders as if they were mannequins, and coolly slotted it into the bottom right corner with her weak foot.

After pulling ahead once more we were determined to keep it that way. Laura put in a fantastic second half performance as she was absolutely everywhere, making tackles and interceptions, driving forward with the ball and making some brilliant passes to start attack after attack. Resolute defending from Nina, Zoe and Elliott limited the amount of chances they had, and the few that did slip through the defence were expertly quelled by Shola coming quickly off her line.

With 10 minutes to go we got a freekick outside the box, and just like last week Yas struck it wonderfully. Despite the keeper getting her fingertips to it, it wasn’t enough to stop the ball going over the line (despite the oppositions best attempts to tell us otherwise), and with the goal given the girls comfortably saw the game out for a momentous victory, the first of many I hope.

My favourite moment was seeing how much the girls wanted this win, especially after our second goal. They were cheering and praising each other for good tackles, good passes, good saves from Shola, and anything that was generally positive. Furthermore they proved to themselves that they wanted the win more than the opposition and demonstrated this with their performance on the day.

Emily was our player of the match, not only for her leadership as captain, but for her continued efforts both on and off the ball. She works hard to support the defence as well as the attack, takes instructions on board and does her best to implement them during the match. Emily’s training attendance in 2024 is one of the highest in the team, and it shows by how much she’s improved as a player and grown in confidence in her abilities.

We didn’t have training as usual on Monday, as we joined the U16’s for a taster session and tour of Haverstock school, and because not many are able to make Wednesday’s training, it left us with only one day of real practice as a team to prepare for the game. Despite this I must say I was impressed with the focus at training, particularly Laura and Nina, who unsurprisingly both had great games and were the two closest behind Emily in the running for player of the match.

Despite the win we know that we could have been better, as we started both halves very slowly. In order to continue improving, attendance at training is vital, as we must continue to learn and grow as a team rather than individuals. It’s not fair to our teammates to miss training all week (without good reason) and then turn up for matches, because you won’t understand how we are trying to play as a team and this can be counterproductive. We must remember the standard we set for ourselves the week before, and aim go above and beyond at every training session, as this will directly affect our performances positively.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U15 boys 1 vs 2 Whetstone Wanderers Leopards

Last minute heartbreak would be the medicine for the BFA U15 Boys Academy once again against league leaders Whetstone Wanderers Leopards in BFA’s final Spring Cup match up.
Some would consider this game, upon reflection, as a dull affair compared to the 2 previous match-ups between these teams. However, it would prove to be a game in which both defences came on top in a tense affair. Lines were barely broken by either team, with the recycling of possession very much a consistent theme from both teams in conditions that can only be described as perfect for football with the Wembley arch pictured in the background.

The away side would take the lead midway through the first half via a set-piece, bundling the ball over the line at the back post from a corner kick to go into the break 1-0 to the good. The message at half-time was clear: PULL.THE.TRIGGER. Ange-ball, tiki-taka or scoring the perfect goal would not win this match for BFA. We had to start taking attempts at goal when presented to them, and this game to fruition when Goncalo took aim a full 25 yards from goal on 53 minutes that squirmed under the keepers late dive.

BFA were suddenly very much in the ascendancy, playing the rest of the game in the Whetstone half, causing panic in their back 4. But it wasn’t to be as a last minute counter attack ended with the conceding of an unfortunate penalty that was duly dispatched down the middle of the onion bag. A defensively robust performance from BFA that lacked the usual attacking threats, but one to be proud of and take into next season’s Spring Cup endeavour with positivity.

Short goal kicks were in abundance this week, and seeing the boys calmly and comfortably playing out from the back, even under pressure was a joy to watch. Leo Duran put in a superb performance as a makeshift centre-back, communicating throughout with his back line and looking to receive the ball short at every opportunity. A very mature performance from the captain. With a lack of fixtures being a regular occurrence as we come to the close of the season, match-play has been a focus to keep the boys sharp for the very few remaining fixtures left.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL foundation U15 BFF 3 Vs 2 Whetstone Wanderers Youth Jaguars

This was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best performance this season. It was a privilege to watch this game on the touchline. All the hard work the boys put in has paid off over the months. I was really pleased how we kept the ball and recycled it. Our decision making on the ball has significantly improved. We played with confidence, recycled the ball really well and even passed it to the goalkeeper to play from the back. This is a hallmark of a technically developed team that wants to play football the right way. The video recording really has helped the boys understand how to play and how to look after the ball. I was really pleased with John, Luca, Anis, Rion, Roka, Sammy And Daniel.

This was a cup game. So it was a must win and we did just that. Still, we need to win our next game with a big margin and hope that results go our ways in the other games.

Whatever happens this has been a really good season so far and we have one more league game to go. I want the boys to build on the work they’ve been doing. We have healthy competition for places for match days. This will help the boys to be more focused and committed.

My favourite moment was Oliwier’s finish. The way he struck the ball with his outside of the boot and it curled to the bottom corner with finesse was astonishing. It was a class goal. For his decision making and commitment and effort and communication, I’m going to choose Nizar as our player of the match. He really took on board the feedback I gave him and he clearly watched the recording of last game of his own performance. He kept things simple and looked for the simple out ball to players in space.

Will be working on our first touch and finishing in the final third next week. We were a bit rusty and slow in this area. Hopefully a good week on this should improve the team. We will also build on a recycling and penetrating through balls.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U16 girls 1 vs 1 CAmden Youth

When I say that the conditions for our game were wonderful, I’m lying. They were as miserable as they get. Raining, windy and low temperatures to boot made it challenging for the girls to concentrate on the task at hand; versing the team sat 1 point behind us on the table in Camden Youth. Still, we had an excellent turn out. Too excellent in fact. 14 players for a 7-a-side game is not something I’ve had to deal with in my time as a coach. Yet it was something which I was tasked with regardless. I would be using a hockey style approach to substitutions which was both a blessing and a curse. More on that later.

My challenge to the girls was to do 10 bounce passes in the game. I promised them that this would lead us to victory. They seemed to agree to that, at least to my eye. Perhaps their scrunched up faces in response to the pounding rain and howling wind should have been an indicator that they wanted to be anywhere else.

And so the game started – in a fashion which is becoming all too familiar for us: poorly. We were slow to react, sloppy with our passes and unable to create space for each other when we had the ball. A number of times throughout Camden were able to play balls in behind us which would have been problematic if Kitty wasn’t in goal. Once again, I will reiterate that Kitty is the most coachable player I have ever worked with. She just listens to what I ask her to do. After the first ball through, I asked here to be our last defender by stepping up with us. These balls in behind were no longer a problem after this moment.

The upside of having seven substitutes on the side line was that I could get their thoughts on what was going well/poorly for us. They all had good ideas including ball retention, finding space and communication, which I asked them to execute on when they were to enter the pitch. The downside of having so many players is that the flow of things is affected when we so many changes are made. We were mostly dominated in the first half without conceding a clear chance.

After a scrappy sequence of events which resulted in the ball falling to Kitty, she struggled to get grip on it in the slippery conditions and forced the ball out for a corner. Our team, naively thinking that the referee had seen this, stopped playing. This allowed for a Camden forward to sneak in and tuck the ball into the goal. A very low level goal to concede and a lesson that I hope will stick in the memory of our players for the rest of their footballing careers: PLAY THE WHISTLE. The half ended 1-0 to Camden.

For the second week running I didn’t hold back. I told the girls exactly what their performance had been: awful. They tended to agree with that and to light their fire, I mentioned that they were making us look like children (for context, they had some very small players who looked to be at most 12). The team that had started the match was to go back on, with Kitty swapping with Mia who would be going in goal. (If this game was on match of the day, this moment would be highlighted as foreshadowing for events that would follow).

I’m not particularly sure what exactly I said that was the catalyst for change, but in the second half we were electric! We had Camden pinned down in their own half winning the ball back immediately after losing it and created chance after chance. A few things I clocked that were key to this. Firstly the effect that Karina had on the game. She was everywhere. Taking people on spreading the ball and just being an absolute menace. Very clearly our player of the match. Secondly, Tori’s impact off the bench was outstanding. Her ability to understand when to dive in and when to hold when defending was exceptional. She would not let Camden out of their half.

Lastly, and I would say most importantly, the players on the bench starting the second half were exactly what I want from anyone on the team who is not on the pitch: energetic. They cheered every pass, every cross, every tackle with such aplomb. My highlight of the game. I caught myself thinking and saying out loud “How fun is this?”. Even Toni, our centre back asked them to be a little bit more quiet so she could hear the referee. Spare a thought for what Camden must have been going through. Our pressure would prove to be too much for Camden as a corner, taken by Karina, would be lost by Camden’s keeper and go in off her head. 1-1 with everything to play for. Exactly what we deserved.

Now to some rather poor coaching from me. After this run of solid pressure, Toni played a pass back to goal keeper Mia. A very smart decision to recycle the ball with no options to go forward. Mia, unbeknownst to me, was unaware that she could not pick up the ball after a team mate passed it to her with their feet. It was my fault for not educating Mia on this rule.  Cue the chaos. The referee initially blew for a penalty, which was Malaika took massive offence to, as a referee herself. She would be so outraged by this incompetence that she would almost knock over the camera recording the match. I’m a fan of her intensity. (She even went up to the referee after the game to continue letting him know of her displeasure. Top stuff from her). The ball was finally placed on the correct spot, about 30cm away from goal, and the indirect free kick was taken and then blocked by our wonderful defence.

The hockey changes followed as the substitutes were tasked with keeping up the intensity they brought on the side lines on to the pitch. This would prove to be a boost for the opposition. They would gain a foothold in the game again and put us under some severe pressure to end the game involving multiple goal mouth scrambles. It would end 1-1 with us feeling aggrieved about not getting the win after such a strong second half.

I spoke to the girls afterwards about how proud I was of them for the energy and enthusiasm they brought to that second half. I want us to hype each other up outside of goals and assists as that is what will make us feel like we are part off something more than just a football team.

In training last week we worked on receiving the ball on the half turn which was seen sparingly in the game but something that the girls have repeated multiple times in the following sessions. This week in training we are working on recycling the ball as we  always looked to go forward which was causing us to turn it over too often.  We grow together day by day!

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U16 boys 4 vs 3 Omonia Gold

Wow. Last minute limbs, on-pitch argy-bargy, off-pitch exchanging of words, woodwork crashing. You name it and this game had it. Tensions were already high with the return fixture fiasco very much in the minds of the BFA boys. However, a superb second half performance from each and every one of the 15 selected meant BFA got sweet revenge over top of the table Omonia.

The first half was littered with errors, a lack of team cohesion, and a willingness to make the game scrappy. However, a Benny strike on 9 minutes, 5 minutes after Omonia’s opener gave BFA a fighting opportunity going into the second half with the deficit only at 1 after the away side took the lead on 24 minutes.

Effort, positivity, and teamwork were the buzzwords at half-time, and all three were on show with aplomb, even after the deficit increased to 2 after only 5 minutes of the second half. Cue the comeback.

Some may say the stand-in coach played a tactical masterclass by brining on Zak as a striker 10 minutes after the break, with this being duly awarded with a smart finish (and questionable celebration). However, full credit must go to each and every one of the boys for the part they played in pushing on for the 3 points. Elisha made some crucial saves to keep BFA very much in with a shot of turning round the score line, with his brother Elijah levelling the game with only seconds left of normal time via a combination of brute strength and cool composure, as he bundled his way through the Omonia back line and goalkeeper.

There was still work to do though, as Omonia cranked up the pressure in added time. Sonny, Ellis, James, and Josh stood firm at the back with some well-timed blocks and tackles as well as breaking the high press well to find the talismanic midfield consisting of Marc, Jack, and Beckett. With the last kick of the game, it was to be Ellis who slotted calmly home after a fantastic counter attack to cause pandemonium in the home end. Scenes. Final kick limbs can’t be topped.

Jack kept things simple throughout and sometimes it takes simple actions to catalyse further actions. Very impressive after coming in midway through the first half. To improve we need to start better. There seems to be a naivety and overconfidence which was duly paid for. Do the basic things right and work together as a team.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U17 boys 1 vs 2 Fusion

We returned to Market road action this week, after last weeks game got cancelled due to power failure. We faced off against Fusion, who are a very good ball playing team. We started off well with Bilal seeing an early goal bound shot blocked by the defender. Fusion were really trying to press us high up the pitch, but we were doing well to keep the ball. Oscar played  a good ball to Bilal, who beat 3 players and scores into bottom corner!! 1-0 Blooms. Its a well deserved goal after all our early pressure.

The game started to settle and fusion began to take control. They enjoy playing out from the back and making passing triangles. But we stuck to our tasks diligently and defended well. Midway through the first half fusion played a good one two, their no 10 is through, but the shot is saved by Lior! We respond to Fusions pressure and are now winning the ball and countering them. Oscar finds Markus who races down the wing, he attempts to cross but the shot is blocked for a corner. Bilal takes the resulting corner but its cleared to safety by fusion. Saul receives the ball from Oscar, he’s caught on the ball by their no 10 who shoots and scores!! We go in level at halftime.

The second half begins and Fusion seem to be in the ascendency. Their no.7 sees a shot go just wide of the post. Our games with Fusion are always close, they are a really good battle. We start to warm back into the game. Flint finds Ritchie, he shoots but his shot is blocked. Fusion combine well in midfield, the ball falls to their no 11 who fires over the bar. This game can literally go either way.

Oscar receives the ball, plays through Markus who’s 1 vs 1 with the goalkeeper but hits the post. Fusion launch the ball upfield, their no 7 finds their no.11 who shoots bottom corner and scores 2-1 Fusion. They win a close game.

Last week in training we worked on combinations and it was great to see them in the game. We need to work on composure in our finishing.

BLOOMSBURY FOOTBALL Academy U17 boys 6 vs 0 Chapel Youth

BFA went into this crucial league encounter completely fired up, knowing that victory might be enough to secure the title! We settled quickly and set the tempo right from the offset. Our one and two touch passing combined with fast, effective movement off the ball, allowed for beautiful attacking combinations to unfold.

A quick fire double from captain Tristan helped BFA race into a 2-0 lead at half time. The first was well worked down the right hand side with Tristan and Luke combining almost telepathically! The second was a carbon copy finish of the first, this time Tristan quickest to react to a loose ball just outside the box.

BFA maintained control through our substitutions and began to kill the game off in the second half. A well taken strike by Jayden Irish for the third was followed up by a couple of goals for Alexey- the second In particular was something to admire as we built the attack from the back resulting in a tap in at the other end as Chapel Youth were left chasing shadows.

Yotam rounded off a fine individual performance, adding a superb solo goal to his earlier assist, beating a couple of defenders with some silky skills before slotting the ball through the goalkeepers legs for 6-0.

As the game drew to a close, news started to filter in that the under 17s were losing their match, which meant, if results stayed as they were – WE WERE CHAMPIONS!!!

Full credit must be given to George and his u17 team – true competitors in every sense of the word that pushed us right to the wire! Huge congratulations to them and we look forward to many more epic battles with you over the remainder of the season!

The teams celebrations at the end at the realisation of what the lads had achieved was my highlight of the match. Every player put the team first and it really showed in our performance. The driving factor behind our victory! In training we focused on reactions to transitions from attack to defence. This allowed us to control the play in possession whilst being able to recover quickly, stay compact and deny the opposition space to play.

A lot of our team are writing mocks exams for their A Levels! We wish them all the best of luck! We keep our standards high no matter what and the hard work continues!