U14 vs RC Lens U14
Building upon last week was the stimulus for the U14’s exceptional efforts in Saturday’s Junior Premier League (JPL) victory.
They started slow, struggling to find their footing in their 3-4-1-2 formation as they failed to use the central players to progress forwards, as opposed to playing penetrative passes into our midfield three, instead we were playing many predictable long balls which came to no avail. It meant we trailed by two goals at half-time.
The message to the strikers going into the third quarter was for Elijah to go beyond and play on the shoulder of the last defender, and for Beckett to drop deep and help fuse with the midfield three to progress the ball forward. The tactical modification instantly made its impact: Elijah received a pass beyond the back line and tucked home neatly into the far corner. We had our much needed goal, but our hard work was instantly redacted, conceding again due to a lapse in a focus.
So, going into the fourth and final quarter we switched to a 4-3-3 to give us natural wingers, with the message being to use wide areas more and push for the game to be won…
With ten minutes left, we found ourselves levelled at 3-3 thanks to a penalty from Beckett and a goal from captain Charlie Guppy. The momentum carried us to a goal from Josh on the counter attack, along with another penalty from Beckett. An incredible comeback for the U14s not only displaying their immense hunger, but also many areas we must progress in to make these results much more flattering!
Shoutout to Elijah who when he came on was particularly impressive, aggressive and sharp, he took in information very well which bodes well for future weeks.
U7 Gold vs PFA United U7
Relentless pressure from the U7s made it simply impossible for PFA to play out and forced them to play long balls from the first third. Whilst a couple did result in chances, we reduced the opponent to limited and predictable attacks, and that’s credit to how high the team pressed and for how intense their press was.
The application of ‘defending the thirds’ was effective, all players rotated positions smoothly and understood their defensive responsibilities, whether that be to delay or deny, and comfortably secured the clean sheet.
Extremely proud of the team, how every member’s reaction and attitude to the substitutions and rotation of positions was nothing but positive, everyone collectively keen to preserve the clean sheet as well as grabbing a goal for themselves.
Shoutout to Rocco for his confidence to come up to the halfway line from goal, and then for being excellent when he came outfield properly for the second half where he capped his performance off with a goal.
U7 Gold vs Formula U8
Undoubtedly a disappointing loss for the U7s, but against older opposition we hit the woodwork twice, had two 1v1 chances miraculously rejected and had the keeper scrambling because of a couple of long range efforts.
Whilst the score-line is tough to stomach and suggests what was a difficult week in relation to the theme and topic of the week, Sean demonstrated excellent application of the ‘delay’ and even more so the ‘deny’ element of ‘1v1 defending the thirds’. It was very rare he came out second best when faced up by an opponent. Bearing in mind he was playing a team a year older than himself, his use of physicality to firstly regain possession, then secondly to retain possession, seriously impressed his coach.
U9 Black vs Crouch End Vampires U9
A comprehensive display from the U9s in their victory in the Camden Youth League (CYL), as Crouch End were restricted in their efforts on our goal courtesy of numerous excellent examples of the week’s theme and topic to ‘delay and deny’ when ‘defending the thirds’, particularly from Jacob Butragueno. The players were challenged to restrict the opposition’s shots on goals, and we successfully achieved this in the first half, defending as a compact unit, restricting Crouch End to crossing from wide areas which was early hoovered.
As well, Amir showed excellent ball control dribbling out from defence and whenever he lost the ball, he always worked hard to win it back. Yasser continues to improve as he evidenced his developing of the habit to scan before receiving, a fundamental and powerful tool that marks a top class player from the rest, allowing him more time on the ball, and this week resulted in a few goals and an assist! Very pleasing also was the engagement from the substitutes reviewing the performances of others whilst on the side-lines, analysing for positives to feedback at the interval, with Jacob particularly impressive at this, letting the coach know that the team were leaving too much space in behind.
Resoluteness, intelligence, two characteristics that personify this performance and the capacity of the U9s as a group, exactly why they’re such a special bunch.
U9 Gold vs TGFC
A quick start that produced a cool finish from Christian Gyabaah was followed by a period of struggle for the U9s, as they found it difficult to move the ball through the thirds. It was to be expected however, as the team lined up in new 1-4-1 formation for this fixture, as such, the congested central areas caused a lack of fluidity, the opposite style to which we usually play. However, after a reshuffle, the team was back to playing their best: a dominant second-half display led the boys to a comprehensive victory. The surprise of the goal scorers being Vinny Jacome, a great run into the box allowed him to be well-positioned for an easy tap in to get his first goal of the season, hoping for him to get even more as the season goes on!
The proficiency of the team in their usual formation is of course always greatly encouraging, but for the coach it was exactly how the saying goes: ‘there’s beauty in the struggle’, as he commented on how intriguing it was to see the boys somewhat struggle, as they’re much more used to dominating matches, so this was a welcome change that will only improve them. George Thompson’s comments on the struggles stating that it was “harder to play in midfield because of the smaller pitch and the 1-4-1 formation caused a lot of layers to be in the middle” echoed the team’s assessment as whole, as they recognised that that the size of the pitch played against them as the central areas were more congested than usual, identifying that players had to stay wide in order to have more time on the ball.
This week the boys were working on ‘delaying and denying in a 1v1’, with a big focus on developing a very important life skill: patience. The players showed a great deal of patience, resulting in a number of tackles being made and won across all the thirds, which allowed our second-half dominance to flourish.
U9 Gold vs Westway U9
A much more assured performance for the U9 Golds in their second game of day, dominant for the full 40 minutes despite being unable to score in the second half.
The football in this game, much more extravagant with the passages of play far more fluid, our intricate one-twos sliced through the opposition press. Thoroughly impressive were the energy levels, despite playing the game earlier on, and emphasises the application, willingness, professionalism, maturity and hunger of this group of players.
The team often struggles against physical teams but the aggression in which the boys competed for tackles and their dominance in the physical battle was great to see.
A first-half onslaught secured the win for the boys, with the team extremely unfortunate to add to their goal tally despite producing a number of goal-scoring chances in the second half.
Playing the 1-4-1 formation comes with it many risks as it leaves a great deal of space occupied solely by one defender, and yet it was a much improved showing this time round from the team as the players looked so much more comfortable playing what is a tough formation, so was a great sight to behold. The new formation posed many challenges to the team, and their superb answer adds another level of flexibility and versatility to the team’s weaponry. Kurt Mcdermott was incredible playing as the last defender, winning every tackle, stopping a number of counterattacks. Biggest surprise of the day was Alex Dearing, more known for his excellent defending, but instead reacted like a seasoned striker to pounce on the loose ball that dropped into the box, after a great corner from George Thompson.
U9/10 Girls vs MLS U10
Two for Kaya, four for Niyah and five for Ilya is not just a rhyme scheme we’re happy to poem, but ensured Bloomsbury’s girls romped their way to victory in the Girls Super League (GSL).
The team’s effort, against very good opposition, was very impressive. The confidence on display, both in and out of possession was brilliant, we were clinical when we needed to be and were defensively solid when needed to be as well. As always, regardless of the score-line, there are still some elements to work on, which is a great situation to have considering the margin of victory. A fantastic foundation to build from.
Hopefully Frankie can build on from her imperious defensive display too, she understood the role and executed it wonderfully. Carrying the week’s theme of ‘delaying the 1v1 when defending the thirds’ expertly, recognising to not over commit and leave us short at the back, instead she waited for the triggers and won her individual battles superbly. When she had the ball at her feet, she always looked for a pass forward to a teammate, vital to team’s success on the day.
U10 Gold vs PFA United U11
The loss definitely is not what we wanted, but the team looked solid defensively and created a variety of chances in the final third and were unlucky not to score in the first half. Some good elements of pressing were seen in the first half and at times in the second, where players quickly closed down the opposition after being dispossessed. This often lead to mistakes from the opposition under pressure or resulted in Bloomsbury winning the ball back in good positions. The end result of this game should not be one the U10s spend too much time dwelling over, it was a very tough game against an older age group where the opposition’s superior physicality ultimately overwhelmed. There were many instances of effective implementation of the weeks theme of ‘high press and recovery runs’ when ‘defending the thirds’, and many moments that showed this team will be able to consistently utilise these skills in their game.
Despite the result, there were a number of strong performances: Jorge Camacho in goal made multiple stops in both halves, superbly preventing the opposition scoring on a number of occasions. Zac Levan-Harris brilliantly applied this week’s theme whilst defending, integrating pressing, covering and cutting the passing lanes in several different defensive scenarios. Excellent footwork and skill on the ball was shown from Jacob Dos Santos, beating the opposition down the wings on a variety of occasions, often leading to a chance on goal for the team. Also impressive was Adam Ismail who had had clearly taken on board the feedback from the previous week, positioning himself in ways in which the defender was forced to drop back out of position, stretching the pitch and creating space for teammates to attack into. Good physicality was shown by Sammy Kohansky who used his body to beat others off the ball, and making sure that his tackles were felt by the opposition, dispossessing them. Archie-Blu Christou showed great tenacity throughout the game, taking a few hard hits over the course of the match, but kept playing for as long as he could.
These performances, plus the engagement on the side-lines from Yili Krasniqi who briefly spoke about the role of the wingbacks whilst on the bench, discussing how they can be used to push up the wings to join the attack, whilst also being vital to the defence when the opposition has the ball, and Otto Lenssen who also offered input on how he thought then midfielders needed to be more central before he came on, and then proceeded to position himself accordingly, is evidence as to the capacity of this group and the willingness achieve great results.
U11 Black vs East End Lions U11
In the U11s well-fought Camden Youth League victory, it was particularly impressive to see a number of players confidently working in pairs defensively to ensure that Morgan and our goal was protected. The communication was excellent, particularly considering the team featured a number of U10 players and the group hadn’t played together before. It was also pleasing to see Morgan leading from the goalkeeper position, helping others positionally. Linus also deserves credit for clever footwork to beat the opposition defenders, and for a strong defensive performance.
A special mention has to go to Morgan Summerhayes who put in an outstanding display! One particular save, diving backwards to incredibly tip the ball over the crossbar. This was one of many saves that ensured that Bloomsbury retained their lead and won the game convincingly. Morgan was also voted man of the match and received a round of applause from his team mates after the game!
Girls U12 vs Kick Action U12
In this game we had the opportunity to face Kick Action once again, but unfortunately the result ended in another defeat.
This week, the girls focused on ‘delaying in a 1v1’ as their topic in training. The four P’s were a major objective, learning to master positioning; being ready, on their toes and in the right angle to defend, pressure; judging when to apply high enabling to deny the play, pace; the speed at which to defend and patience; knowing up to execute the delay before they deny.
Kitty and Cecile were especially impressive in respect to these objectives, showing particular understanding of patience and positioning. Janet approached each challenge with confidence, mastering the pace at which to defend, particularly when she dropped back and played as a left-back for the last ten minutes. Millie was also excellent in winning her 1v1 challenges, allowing no shots to be taken outside the box and driving the ball forward when she had the opportunity. Phoebe had another incredible day, keeping us in the game. Her drop kicks have improved massively, and this allows our play to begin further up the pitch, and in a transition, allows players to come back and support. Her decision making and vision of the game is growing enormously.
Janet and Eleonore put their critical thinking hat on this week while on the side-lines. They agreed that communication was lacking, which would have enabled us to fix a few mistakes and maybe not conceded, but that the 1v1 challenges were good, and we were allowing time for players to drop back and support the play.
Protec Youth U12 vs Bloomsbury U12
Seb’s assessment of our 2-0 loss away from home in JPL as a “very unfortunate result” where “we deserved a lot more” was a sentiment echoed by the rest of the squad.
Indeed a game where we most certainly should have got a lot more from. Many chances were created and the theme and topic of ‘defending in pairs’ was translated superbly, pressing and covering when appropriate, denying centrally to delay opposition possession out wide. Conditions were difficult to play on the floor, but the boys were encouraged to do so and continued to play cute and effectively in the final third. A great game to watch and most importantly, a step in the right direction.
Massive shoutout to those who stepped up from the year below, Archie Noah, Alex Rabah, Mohammed and Luke being some of those who looked right at home. Ruben in his first game for the U12s also proved to be a great addition to the squad, quick and dynamic, gut-wrenchingly hitting the woodwork a couple times.
U13 vs 360 Talent U13
Bloomsbury in their Super League victory on Sunday started fantastically with two early goals and many chances created in the opening exchanges. Despite losing possession frequently, the boys were hungry to win the ball back, with Joel Goodgame and Archie Gould industriously breaking up play in the middle of the pitch. The chances that were created by 360 Talent were thwarted either by the strength of Dante and composure of Joe Barron, or by the superb Sami who, when called upon, stopped all shots on goal elastically. In fact, the defensive display in the first half was very impressive as the team came up against two very clever attacking players but nullified the threat superbly.
Following a team talk in which the boys were critical of themselves and their performance, the second half started in the same manner as the first, with Goncalo providing a perfect cross for Joel to finish. However, the joy was short lived when a lapse in concentration cost Sami his clean sheet, the opposition to their credit used this momentum and managed to pull back two further goals in the following seven minutes, making the score 4-3 with a quarter of an hour left to play.
Despite the high press of 360, Bloomsbury’s U13s excellently remained clam, maintained their composure and played through the thirds by effectively using their wide players to create further opportunities that resulted in Ebenezer’s well deserved goal from close range. The boys then dominated the final stages and ultimately warranted the 5-3 win, despite this being far from their best performance – which speaks volumes to the standard and quality of this group of players.
Special mention to Che, he continues to improve each week, scoring consistently but also creating chances for others, this game another perfect example of just that.
RC Lens London U13 vs Bloomsbury U13
Aside from a sloppy goal conceded early, the team executed the game plan based on the week’s theme and topic; ‘defending in pairs when defending the thirds’, superbly. Defending as a unit and working in twos to press the side of the ball and suffocate the opponent’s time to make decisions.
Some fantastic counter attacks, another penalty to make it two scored in as many weeks, and an incredible individual run by Dante to finish was the icing on the cake, although he’ll be gutted he didn’t add a second to his name having dribbled out all the way from centre-back, successfully, for a second time.
An excellent display to add to the momentum that charges up week on week, as we make it six points in two weeks in the JPL.
The man who could’ve and should’ve had two led the line superbly, showing exceptional composure on the ball as well as steel in crucial challenges, Mahdi looked assured next to Aymen in midfield and Joel who’ll also be gutted to miss out on the scoresheet had a dominant display.
RC Lens U15 vs Bloomsbury U15
Dylan’s double secured for Bloomsbury a solid away victory in the JPL.
Although we couldn’t hold out for the clean sheet, the defending from the team in a week where training’s theme and topic was ‘defending in pairs when defending the thirds’, was very impressive. The team played a high line and pressed with the fullbacks joining the midfield to create an overload in the middle of the park. Since attack is the best form of the defence, the boys wonderfully maintained the high intensity and nullified the attacks effectively.
To pick up the three points away from home in a game where, unlike us especially compared to previous weeks, the attacks weren’t as direct as we found ourselves playing a lot around the opposition’s box instead of creating shooting opportunities switching the ball from side to side, even missing two sitters as well, only stresses how good a team this group is overall, as they were somewhat blunt in attack so instead, displayed their quality and resoluteness in the other aspect, defence.
EFA U15 vs Bloomsbury U15
The boys started extremely brightly, managing to score the goal to give them the lead, but the light fizzled out and at half time the coach urged the team to re-ignite that spark, start brightly again at the restart by defending higher up the pitch to win the ball closer to the opposition’s goal. The boys did exactly that in the second half and cruised their way to victory.
Tom Haering’s reflection of the game epitomised exactly that: “really happy with team’s whole performance. We had a moment in the first half where we didn’t have control of the game. We changed that in the second half, and we killed the game early. We’re really looking forward for the match in two weeks time”.
Shoutout to Saul De Botton for his performance, a huge presence on the pitch. Not only did he bag, but he won all his individual battles and combined effectively in our final third. Totally deserving to score the first goal of the game, in actuality he should have had more.
U16 Black vs Clissold Rangers U16
Friday’s fight night between first versus second saw the U16s battle Clissold Rangers in the top of the table clash, and it was Bloomsbury who showed exactly why they’re primed to become Champions of the Camden and Islington Youth Football League, as the whole team executed the game plan to perfection to win the game and go nine points clear at the summit. Playing long from the first third into the final, creating overloads quickly, the players categorically deserve the credit as they quickly recognised which movements and fuses were required in the situations they faced.
Two of our goal scorers were particularly on song: the brick wall that was Seyi held his position fantastically, attacked, headed and intercepted every long ball the opposition persisted to play and was always, in every, single situation, ready to play forward quickly, whilst Luke von Herkomer’s rendition of the target-man role was simply perfect: holding play beautifully, using fuses to bring others into play but also able to receive, turn and penetrate. Out of possession his relentless defending from the front, though outnumbered four versus one at times, slowed down the opposition building the attack.
Massive shoutout also to Alex Pourfar whose performance at the very least should earn him validation from the Duracell Bunny! The boy did, not, stop, running. Attacking quickly on the transition, but also just as quickly dropping in deep when needed, he never pulled out from a challenge and won every single of his ariel duels. A performance demonstrating the grit and determination required to wear the ball and crown on your chest!
U16 vs RC Lens U16
As the final whistle blew at St James’ Catholic High School, a collective sigh of relief was breathed by the Bloomsbury boys. They were made to work for it in a competitive game, but it capped an excellent weekend for the U16s as they beat RC Lens and made it two out of two.
Another game, another perfect execution of the game plan: out of possession the team defended in a half-way block. Allowing the opposition centre-back to have possession required patience and immense discipline, but they did this with aplomb, effectively counter-attacking quickly through long wide passes.
The number of special individual performances in this game tells you all you need to know about the way the team played and their quality as a group: Alex Pourfar seemingly has the same lungs as Forest Gump as he put in another relentless performance, working tirelessly as a centre-midfielder and then as a forward, defending deep out of possession, Ridon Trnava’s calmness in between the sticks and comfortability on the ball transfused through the rest of his outfield colleagues and Patrick Beard’s diagonal long balls was instrumental in establishing our attacks and breaking the opposition’s back line. Our wingmen too were class, Luke Ouarderer dominated the left-hand side, stopping every opposition attack and injected the drive into our counters and Kamran Narvani who played out of his position on the right-hand side of midfield, solved all of the problems the opposition posed and very nearly added himself to the scoresheet.
HMH Wanderers U16 vs Bloomsbury U16
With no substitutions and having to play the majority of the game with ten men, Sunday’s cup fixture away at Chase Lodge was a difficult game for the U16s.
Despite the hardships the boys deserve immense credit for the way they stuck together and worked for each other, never once complaining, never giving up, always fighting and pushing with hunger.
The boys took the lead early in the first half thanks to Elliot slotting it past the keeper, but shortly after the home-side equalised. At this point the game was all to play for as both sides couldn’t quite manage to grasp control, with both struggling to tie any combinations together. We tried the long balls over the top to create chances, but none were clear enough to put away. HMH would get lucky with a long ball of their own, as it bounced and skidded past Artee and gave them the lead. Bloomsbury fought for the leveller, but Tristan unfortunately had to come off because of injury which of course made the rest of the game a huge challenge and much more difficult, a massive shame and blow as he was having a great game, showing off his skills and passing ability at full-back.
Thanks to Arteen’s crucial saves in tricky conditions, the score-line stayed low. It was a frustrating game to lose, especially due to the circumstances, but the performance from the boys is something they should be proud of. The centre-backs in front of him were solid, defending in pairs the whole game, they rarely made any mistakes and kept us organised. Saul and Luke, who played the full game despite carrying a knock, in the full-back positions were also great. Didier and Dylan in midfield battled hard and produced some good moments to put us on the front foot, taking players on with fast dribbling. Our wingers Alexey and Elliot showed their endurance to get up and down whilst always trying to create for Hyseni, who looked great on the ball.
U16 Gold vs Regent’s Park U17
Consequences of complacency in football can be calamitous and catastrophic, the U16s did very well to avoid the potential corollaries of their spiky start. The game lacked intensity and fluidity, but eventually the boys found their footing and combined well.
Artee had a solid game in net, having minimal work to do but when called upon came through with great saves. Our exquisite duo Cameron and Carter ran the show from the back – with tons of time on the ball they picked out the attackers with a variation of pinpoint passes. They translated the theme and topic from training about ‘defending in pairs’ superbly, being switched on to cover for each other and making crucial blocks, as did Laurent who in the first half put his body on the line for the team. Skipper Didier had a massive job on his hands in the middle of the park facing immense pressure through the game, and yet dealt with the problem with ease, finding the pockets when he could to keep us ticking, recognising when to press and communicated with the wingers excellently to press and catch the opposition out. Massive shoutout to Alexey who terrified the opposition every time he was on the ball, unstoppably strong, skilful and resilient, fighting until the end chasing down players and defending when needed. His first touch to bring down the ball from Carter’s raking passes were masterful. The exact same can be said for Freddie who does this week in, week out, in this game he made some ridiculously hard chest controls, while holding off the defender, look a minor inconvenience.
He crucially levelled the game at 1-1 and bought us back into the game, and Alexey went and added the second not too long after, meaning we went in at half-time 2-1. Tristan came on and produced a solid cameo on the wing, looking a threat every time. Patrick with ten minutes to go also came on and made a difference with quality touches and passes splitting their defence several times. He kept pushing and earned himself a goal in the final minutes of the game, at which point we were able to see the game out and defended collectively till the final whistle.
At half-time Cam and Carter expressed they wanted to press and push up more because of the time and space they were receiving at the back, Didier in true captain’s form realised the performance was flat and urged more tenacity from everyone, as Alexey and Freddie demanded more of the ball and wanted more combinations of passes. Patrick as sub even gave the coach feedback of what he was seeing, suggesting a potential change, though the Coach didn’t follow through, it’s incredibly positive that our team, especially those on the bench, are engaged, switched on thinking about how we can improve. The group’s intelligence and capacity to quickly acknowledge and then react to the opposition setting up defensively, dropping deep wanting to hurt us on the counter, is a great sign of the maturity and development of the team.
It wasn’t pretty at times, but the boys persevered and deservingly earnt themselves the win, fantastic character to not only come back from behind but to grind out the ugly win.