Albury vs Cobras U12s (words Simon Gwilliam, photos Helen Covey)
Further chances came to establish a stronger foothold in the game, particularly as a series of corners had Kelsey reaching the head of a jumping Ben time and time again, each time coming agonisingly close to the back of the net, denied by the alert Albury goalkeeper. Rarely, Albury were able to come forward, when they did, the resolute ‘sweeping-up’ of Kelsey kept them at Bay. Captain Angus gave the team confidence in goal with some great saves but some even greater quick ball from the hand and foot to keep the dynamic Loxwood attack moving and clearing their lines every time. As the half drew to a close, Loxwood were now choking any Albury attack with an organised high line in defence and great marking from each restart – the half time whistle could not have come too soon for the home side. 0-1.
The Cobras started the second half positively and immediately snuffed out any Albury resurgence. A few changes for the visiting side saw some fresh legs in the defence in the form of Dan and Marco, and an enthusiastic Sylvester slotting in on the right wing. It didn’t take long for continued dominance to reap its reward as some great passing play down the middle enabled Oscar to expertly bury the ball in the Albury net.
Shortly thereafter the ball fell to Harry outside the box who turned beautifully to lose his marker and convert his chance low to the left of the diving keeper. The back three continued to hold fast in defence, and while the front-men were run riot, Ben, Archie and Sylvester continued to act as playmakers in midfield with an array of through ball, crosses and lofted passes. However, Finding space in the middle of the Albury half, Ben saw the Albury keeper a little off his line and seized his chance with a calm side-footed shot in the bottom-left corner from a good 20 yards. The boys trotted back to the restart with coach Simon calling out “What’s the score lads?”, to which the boys in white all shouted back in reply “nil-nil!”.
Hungry to maintain their clean sheet and to score again, they went again with smiles and energy in abundance.
Archie and Harry continued to be a menace to their defence, always looking to close down space and win the ball, while the outstretched head of Ben kept any lofted Albury passes firmly contained. In the dying minutes, Sylvester made a great run down the right, passing the ball in, he found it returned to him in space – a typically relaxed finish saw the ball poked into the net to bring the score up to a resounding 5-0 as the final whistle went.
...A superb team performance, evidenced by the five different goal-scorers on the scoreboard and the even more impressive clean sheet finally putting the Cobras long-standing defensive woes to bed.
A brilliant start to their cup run and a thoroughly deserved result. While the whole team should be exceptionally proud of their work ethic and team spirit, a special mention to some outstanding performances from Angus, Kelsey, Ben and Oscar. However our parents voted the omnipresent Harry as their player of the match, and the coaches award went to the superb Archie who embodied our key word this season, “conviction”.
Inspired as ever by the great football writer Garth O’Mara, I’ll finish with a quote. As the great Ian Holloway once said...
“To put it in gentleman’s terms, if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, you’ve done what you set out to do. We didn’t look our best today but we pulled. Some weeks the lady is good looking and some weeks she’s not. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She may not have been the best looking lady we ended up taking home but it was still very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much and let’s have coffee.”