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Few games survive February

By Mark Hopper

Mini Thunder

With the matches being few and far between over the last month we catch up with some match reports from the Blair Thunder boys.

17th February 2019
RAINHAM KENILWORTH U12S V HOLLANDS AND BLAIR THUNDER U11S

Just a friendly for us this week, but an important development match:

With no league match for the Thunder boys this week, they continued their development with a friendly against Rainham Kenilworth’s U12s at Rainham School for Girls.
The match had much to commend it – a fantastic, flat playing surface, it was played in warm sunshine and there was a fantastic turnout of family and friends which gave the game an attendance many Southern Counties East teams would be happy with!
Zach Tydeman set the tone early on for Blair, with a near miss on four minutes. Whatever the weather, whoever the opponents, Zach’s performance level never drops and he was to get his rewards as this game went on.
But it was Rainham who went out in front with a goal in the 11th minute, a neat finish after some hesitation in the Blair defence.
Thunder surged back into it, based largely around the attacking play of Archie Rutherford, who was his usual bag of tricks in the attacking midfield role, He looked dangerous all day and nearly scored in the 14th minute before a Zach near miss two minutes later.
An equaliser looked inevitable and there was no surprise at the personnel involved – Archie’s corner came back to him before he lofted it back into Zach who stroked it home to make it 1-1.
As well as neat passing, much of the emphasis in training is on hard work and there was plenty of that on display here. Max Barwick, Oscar Colyer, Ben Phillips, Franki Hillier and debutant Harry Maurice barely put a foot wrong all day. The one inexplicable blip came in the 24th minute when a Rainham player strolled straight through the heart of Blair’s midfield and defence to make it 2-1.
The lead did not last long. A sublime ball from Archie, lasered into the penalty area with the outside of his boot, landed perfectly at the feet of Fin Langthorne, who danced round his marker before executing a slide-rule finish. Fin looks a natural up top and his pace, attacking instincts and quick passing made life difficult for Rainham all day.
As he does most weeks, Harry Lawrence made a gravity-defying leap to keep the scores level just before ref Paul Barwick blew the whistle for half time.
After a frenetic first 30 minutes, and with only one sub on the Blair bench, it was perhaps inevitable that the intensity would die off in the second period. The contest was effectively ended by Zach who scored two goals in two minutes at the start of the second half to bag himself a well-deserved hat-trick.
Max, Oscar and Zach combined for a slick move down the left that almost brought a goal before Charlie Firth, who put in a typically workmanlike shift in a variety of positions, put Zach through. His presence, along with that of Fin bearing down on goal, was enough to panic the Rainham defence into an unlucky own goal and it was all over.
All in all, an excellent effort from all the boys. To beat an apparently unbeaten team a year older should give their confidence a massive boost for next week, when Kings Hill Colts come to Brompton.

24th February 2019
HOLLANDS & BLAIR THUNDER U11S V KINGS HILL COLTS

Warm sunshine greeted Thunder’s boys as they returned to Brompton for their first home game since January 6.
The opening exchanges were even as Ben Phillips made an early chance for Zach with some hard work in the centre of midfield, while Max Barwick, Charlie Firth and Fin Langthorne held firm at the back.
After plenty of back and forth, Kings Hill got their noses in front on 25 minutes when Charlie was decreed to have handled the ball on the edge of the Blair penalty area. There was nothing keeper Harry Lawrence could do about the free kick and the boys went in at the half a goal down.
Blair came haring out of the traps for the second half and played some of their best football of the season, despite going a further goal behind just five minutes into the second period.
Leo Pickett was his usual energetic self in midfield, always looking for the ball and trying to make things happen. He was ably assisted by Joseph Watling who put in some crunching tackles and never stopped working.
Oscar Colyer was outstanding down the left and Fred Bullimore carved out numerous good chances down the right – but this just wasn’t Blair’s day. Some great crosses just missed their mark, every loose ball seemed to find its way to a Kings Hill player and the boys couldn’t get a break.
Zach Tydeman did what Zach Tydeman does with just seven minutes left, firing home after some great work from the Blair midfield but the bad luck continued. Charlie, who put in an outstanding shift at right back, was adjudged to have fouled his opponent and the resultant free kick was lashed home by a Kings Hill player, with the linesman’s offside flag for some reason disregarded by the referee.
A tough day for the boys then, but also plenty to be encouraged by with Snodland Town the next visitors to Brompton on Sunday.

Updated 07:58 - 4 Jun 2019 by Mark Hopper

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