The Autumn tournaments continued last weekend with the penultimate games and they were very entertaining with some well deserved results, once again we get to read about the Thunder and Lightning in the u11 age groups, enjoy!
SNODLAND TOWN U11s 0 HOLLANDS AND BLAIR THUNDER 1
It seems wrong to use the term ‘revenge mission’ when talking about children’s football – but nobody present at Thunder’s narrow home defeat to Snodland less than a month ago was in any doubt that that’s what this match was.
A competitive game at Brompton on October 28 between these two ended in a 2-1 win for Snodland and it is fair to say the visitors that day were less than gracious in their victory.
So Thunder players, coaches and parents can perhaps be forgiven for their jubilant celebrations when Leo Pickett’s sublime 57th minute lob sailed over the Snodland keeper and into the net, the only goal of this blood and thunder contest.
Leo’s goal capped a tremendous effort from each and every one of the boys, who all played their part in a magnificent show of effort, skill and determination.
The game started comparatively slowly as the teams felt each other out, a great solo run from Oscar Colyer the highlight of a tense first five minutes. Snodland started to edge possession and territory but Ben Phillips, Max Barwick and Franki Hillier stood firm, with Ben memorably winning three great defensive headers in the space of five minutes.
Harry Lawrence kept Thunder in it with a point blank save after a marauding Snodland attack and Oscar again went close on the 15 minute mark.
The game found its edge shortly afterwards when Joe Watling was almost chopped in half by an unpunished vicious late challenge in front of the fuming Blair parents. Their reaction gained one of them a telling-off from a ref seemingly more interested in lecturing the parents than either safeguarding a clearly injured Joe or speaking to the fouler.
Charlie Firth replaced Joe and was solid in midfield as a tense half came to an end.
The second half was very even, both teams looking to press forward but defending firmly. The stand-outs were Oscar, whose effort and desire for the ball never let up, and Max, who coped admirably with everything thrown his way at left back.
Zach Tydeman put in his customary hard-working display and both Fred Bullivant and a chest-infection-afflicted Archie Rutherford played their part, looking lively and getting back when they had to.
Things got fractious after Leo’s goal when some big challenges left Joe, who was back firing on all cylinders, and a Snodland player injured on the floor. But Thunder were never going to give their lead up. As manager Lee said at the end, if even one of the boys had let their performance slip then Snodland would have capitalised – but none of them did.
In a hostile atmosphere, on a heavy pitch and against good opposition, all 12 Blair players left everything out there and should be thoroughly proud of themselves.
The win means Blair are still unbeaten in the Autumn Tournament and go into next week’s match-up with Vinters Rangers brimful of confidence.
HOLLANDS & BLAIR 3 Vs STAPLEHURST MONARCHS 2
On a wet week 4 of the Cup, Lightning faced Staplehurst Monarchs at home.
With player development at the front of the clubs youth philosophy, nine of Blairs outfield players were played in unfamiliar positions giving the players invaluable experience.
With JC and Harrison Liddle at the back, Dylan and Timi in centre midfield, Sean and Ronnie starting wide and James and Liam Hughes up front Blair started the game playing some fantastic possession football.
Two early goals in the 2nd and 5th minutes from Liam Hughes and Dylan Simpson set the tone for the home side who were very comfortable and playing well in possession.
Timi added a third after some excellent work and the goal of the half came from a long range strike from Harrison “Posh” Liddle who’s effort flew over the keeper in spectacular fashion.
Blair continued to create chances and one in particular flowing move, using the pattern worked on in training, saw Posh link up with Lewis Inkpen who played a one two with Timi, laid James through who drew the last defender and goal keeper in before squaring for what would have been a magnificent goal had the pitch not intervened and diverted the ball at the crucial moment before the finish could be applied.
The second half began and Blair started with complacency. They managed to win a corner which was well cleared by Staplehurst and their number 9 took the chance to use his pace, exploit the space and slide a fantastic solo goal away.
Blair had the ball in the net again but James’s effort was ruled out as the ball had gone out of play in the build up.
The complacency continued with a number of Blair players taking on 3 or 4 Staplehurst players in dribbles and conceding possession.
Ronnie Horner continued his good form second half and was awarded Man of the match for his endeavours.
Staplehurst managed another goal to round off the scoring and the match ended before the rain set back in.
Blair have one final game in the cup, a huge derby vs Chatham Town away which if they can win and win well, they have an outside chance of being crowned winners despite the poor results at the start.
Great write ups from Richard and Ben once more, if all the games throughout the Blair youth are like this, as a club our future is definitely heading in the right direction. Keep it up boys.