The team took everything on board from our pre-match talk and started strong from the first minute of this game!
Kaya scored two goals in 10 minutes linking up well with O’Miya, Jet and Kitty in midfield. Frankie did not let anyone pass her in defence and Eleanor had great composure to player forward passes from defence. At 12 and a half minutes, we made 5 changes and with fresh legs and the opposition tired, it completely threw Regents Park off their game.
Muzique, who could play any position, took to her defending role excellently and Salima came straight in with a goal as striker to make it 3-0. O’Miya came out with fire in the second half and bagged a 4th goal for the team at 32 minutes. Very well deserved and a testament to a great season from her. Regent’s Park did fight back and get 2 goals late on, but this was just due to us putting in such a big effort and tiring a little. Janet and Tara made some excellent runs, and both came very close to scoring.
Everyone is player of the match! Massive team effort and an amazing way to win the double at Market Road! Shout out to Lauryn who kept us on the game in goal and threw some brilliant balls out to start counterattacks. We have been working on 1v1 attacking and it showed as we were brave to try and beat players on the wing!
The team knew that a strong start was needed, and this was provided a minute into the game.
A brilliant team effort finished off by Imraan opening the scoring goal & setting the tone for the rest of the match! Labren had a fantastic game up top, regularly finding himself in the right positions, and scoring some important goals. Imraan once again proved how lethal he can be on the counter and in one-on-one situations, finishing his chances with precision. Beau was a huge issue for the opposition, never giving them a rest, and incredibly solid both defensively and offensively. Ryan defended like his life depended on it, making multiple last-ditch challenges and he utilised his strength in brilliant ways to keep the opposition away from the ball. Elias’s long-range passing set up a few strong counterattacks, whilst also using his size and tackling ability to dispossess the opposition before playing it out to his teammates. Joseph gave defenders something to think about any time he got on the ball with his clever dribbling and passing, never allowing himself to become predictable and greatly aiding the team. Aadam threw himself into challenges, timing them well to ensure he won the ball at all times, never letting his size impact the effort he put into winning the ball, and battling the entire time he was on the pitch. Ahmed defended well, getting himself between the man and the ball to dispossess his opposition. His ball striking and love for a long shot caused issues for the defenders and goalkeeper, constantly keeping them on edge.
A decisive moment in the match came after the opposition scored to make the score 3-1, from here the opposition may have taken the momentum and completed the comeback, but the boys dug deep, shutting down opposition attacks, and, in turn, found themselves on the counter, which they calmly finished to put the game to bed.
A joint player of the match was given for the first time! This was awarded to Beau and Labren for their fantastic performances, constantly causing issues for the opposition, never giving them time on the ball, and relentlessly pressing and winning the ball back! By utilising the passing techniques and decision-making we have been working on, the team was able to break down the opposition with ease. A very strong performance from the team! Very deserving of the win, and ultimately the trophy that came with the victory!
Winning 1-0 with 10 minutes to go, Mathias saved the team from suffering a goal, sliding and making an amazing save on the line of the goal after a counterattack from the opposition. Tommy was incredible making huge saves and helping the team brilliantly playing from the back.
At the beginning of the game we had a team talk where the players were asked how they were feeling. Some were nervous, some were exited. They were already champions just to reach this final, and the focus was on enjoying the match. The boys were asked to focus and to do what they know and follow their roles, but most importantly, to have fun!
Some poor decision were made in the first half – keeping the ball instead of sharing, no first touch to control the ball, and some unlucky finishes just touching the bar and posts. At half time, the players were reminded to play as a team and to not let their negative feelings come in and effect their skills and understanding of the game. In the second half they started to play as we have been playing for the past couple of months, freely and happily. The team was strong and focused. When the referee blew the final whistle the boys celebrated, and it was very well deserved!
Player of the match goes to Marco. By the end of the game we were winning 1-0 and Marco was asked to make the effort for the team to stay in the midfield, blocking and intercepting the space and using his strong body to create difficulty for the opinion to decide. Marco did that amazingly! We have been focusing on interception for the last couple of months and we are now progressing in our learning and understanding, not only how to do it but when to do it. We will keep focusing on this and add time and space to that.
Throughout the tournament the boys used the tactics that we did in training to get goals. This helped them win the games and get shots off.
All through each game they battled hard, not giving up even when goals were going in against them and talking to each other positively to keep everyone’s spirits up. One thing that this team was struggling with last week was knowing when to pass and when to dribble, and in this tournament the boys performed this perfectly. They scanned, kept their head up and knew when to pass and when to dribble.
Everyone is proud of these boys for what they have achieved, and they have showed that they can do it and they can trust each other.
One of the best moments was Zakarya’s goal in the first game. He received the ball from Louay who was in defence, took on a couple players and shot outside the ball with power and accuracy, dipping in over the goal keepers head. Another moment was against AFC. Despite a few players being quite tall and aggressive, we always tried to match up with them, even Nico who is a bit smaller showed that with confidence he could win the ball off these players.
Zakarya and Ayan were player of the tournament. Zakarya displayed brilliant dribbling skills and play up to goals and even when it got tough due to the weather being quite hot, he started to pass the ball more than he dribbled to save energy which is a great quality to have as a football player! Ayan has improved massively on his behaviour and stayed positive the whole tournament. He also displayed great skill and accuracy with his passing, even getting a few goals! One component that we talked about for Ayan is not running into trouble on the field by trying to run through the whole team by himself and to start passing. He demonstrated this greatly and it was amazing to see, and it showed a real difference of who he is as a player in a great way!
In training, we worked on playing from the back and using the pitches size to our advantage and after the first game, they got used to the space and started using that to their advantage. This was successfully done when they demonstrated when they played from the back! Something we need to work on is our communication. The pitch was very quiet, so it was hard for the players to seek out other players who were in a good space. We will also be focusing on giving each other help by alerting others if players are nearby!
A hard loss to take but we know what to work on for next time. MLS were a tough opposition, but we didn’t stop running. The goals were conceded purely through not checking our shoulders for runners behind and not coming out to the player to delay and stop the shot. We will be working on this in training.
Lauryn made some amazing fingertip saves and Esther put in excellent tackles! Annabel also played some great through balls to Emily and she was unlucky not to score. Ilvir was voted player of the match for great shot stopping in goal and always finding a way out of trouble out field!
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