U12 Pre-Season Friendly Loxwood vs Cranleigh
As the boys of Loxwood Youth FC looked ahead to the new season as Under 12s, the opportunity came up for a pre-season friendly against their rivals at Cranleigh. The wider squad began the day with another great training session, this time focusing on shooting from distance and at pace, before a good training match made possible by the healthy numbers on show on a sunny Saturday morning (report to be published soon). As the session drew to a close, the selected players, a mixture of Cobras and Vipers, made their way to Snoxhall for their first competitive game of the new season.
Starting team saw a towering George in goal; Kelsey, Finn and captain Angus in defence; William, Marco, Ben and Archie in Midfield; and Jody up front. Luc and Sylvester started on the bench.
Andy then mixed up the teams as Ben and Jody came off. Loxwood still came forward time and time again, some great crosses from Luc finding players up front and George keeping the sheet clean with strong hands and some good stops between the sticks. Some crunching tackles from Kelsey and Finn, and some very confident play from Marco kept things tight at the back, allowing the midfield to stay high up the pitch and the pressure firmly on the team in blue. The whistle went and the boys came off bouncing.
Andy mixed things up again for the second half as ben swapped for George in goal. Cranleigh too made some changes and seemed fired up to make amends for their 1st half performance, forcing an early stop from Ben, low to his left. But Loxwood came again, Jody keen to get on the score board to reflect his domineering performance. He arrived confidently into the box, struck the ball hard and force a great stop from their keeper which rebounded into Archie's feet, gifting him his second as he slotted it home. 5-0. The scoreline allowed Cranleigh a "power play" meaning they could bring on an extra player. That made the difference, as the dynamic shifted and Cranleigh started to retain more possession. Two good cranleigh goals brought the score to 5-2 while loxwood efforts to add to the scoring were frustrated, William hitting the post at one point. However, the standard never dipped; Sylvester continued to impress, as did Marco, Kelsey and Archie who was looking for his own hat-trick. Finally, Jody got what he deserved for all his efforts and assists, picking the ball up outside the box and smashing into the top corner. 6-2. At this point, the boys had a short breather while the Cranleigh keeper had a wee in the trees!
Ben swapped for Marco in goal and Loxwood came forward again as they started to dominate the game, as they had earlier. George scored a great goal following a mistake from the keeper and good passing between him and Archie who seemed to know where each other were without looking! Jody then added a second, coolly, and a fantastic cross from William allowed Luc to get on the scoreboard too with an excellent finish. A slight blip in concentration allowed some space for the blue central midfielder who scored from distance, and the scoring was completed by Ben who ran on to a Jody through-ball to slot it passed the keeper, admitting to me after "I actually scuffed that, it was a bit of a fluke!".
An incredible start to the season, and a true team performance, for our boys who went home 10-3 victors.