Forest Finale Falls Short!
A battling first game of the season see U14's draw.
A battling first game of the season see the U14's draw. They were our closest rivals last season promoted as runners up with our lads pipping them to the championship. This was apparently a game they were determined to win.
From the off it was clear that they were probably the fitter side having played through the summer, they were immediately into a good passing rhythm. They were first to score with a high corner falling to their number 10 who just poked it home and they continued to test our defence, with a couple of near misses and the ball in the net but with their striker just straying offside. We we unlucky to fall two behind with a headed goal but it was hugely encouraging that the determination showed last season started to materialise. The final 15 minutes of the first half we really started to pressurise them and it was Seth up for a series of corners who lifted spirits, firing the ball into the far corner after a neat turn at close range. We made several substitutions through the first half, in an effort to keep our legs fresh, this appeared to pay off with an equaliser coming 5 minutes after our first, a header towards goal from Theo that despite a dramatic effort at an over head clearance made it 2-2. There was still time for a free kick for Forest Row from a foul that was lucky not to see our first yellow card of the season which brought a stunning save from Mason, the best of many excellent bits of goal keeping in the first 35 mins.
Half time arrived with honours even, the call was to keep the spirits up and the running going and to ensure we put pressure on their keeper and that we should collectively try to get our passing game out wide going. We continued our policy of further substitutions throughout the second period which meant some played out of normal positions. Not a single player moaned and there was desire from every one coming off to get back on which is a great sign and a credit to them all.
Both teams looked pretty even throughout the second half, they had strong midfield runners and strikers prepared to take shots but we continued to close down well limiting them in the number of chances they had but nontheless still relying on some great goalkeeping throughout. Mason was confident at corners and in calling for the ball when charging out to gather through balls.
Frustratingly we fell behind again with their best goal of the game, solid passing a through ball and a good chipped finish that left the keeper no chance. Yet again heads didn't drop and back we came, with Callum heeding the call to follow up and put pressure on the keeper snaffling a good equaliser after a period of sustained pressure.
Either team could have gone onto win it in the final 5 minutes. First we saw Reece finish sweetly only to see the offside flag was raised and then their midfielder burst through into the box to fire towards the top corner, he hadn't factored in the Mason 'man of the match' effect, with another top draw save seeing the match end honours even!
As the first league outing this was a great game, well supported by parents (thank you!) with lots of good football positives and a few things to focus on at practice sessions. One thing that can't be faulted was the effort and determination all 15 players brought to the game, the round of applause from all those watching confirmed we are up and running and have brought last seasons team ethos into this season. Well done to all the boys.