This season has seen the Loxwood u13 squad mature and develop into a competitive and physically strong but skillful side. Last season we struggled against top opposition but this season we have competed head-to-head against the top sides in the division. This home game against league leaders Dorking Wanderers was another good benchmark to see how far we have come.
Following last week's stellar performance, the team was set up in a similar shape with Tom and Rowan starting up front, with Hamish supporting the front two 'in the hole', whilst Charlie was moved to left mid and Liam coming into midfield.
The match plan was to attack from the off, and almost immediately Rowan was sent through and looked likely to score but a defender just nicked the ball as he was just about to pull the trigger. The game then ebbed and flowed with both sides showing some lovely flowing football, with Michael in particular showing some great skills and endeavour on the wing. Dorking's main dangerman was their centre half whose marauding runs from the back were causing some danger, Just before the half ended, Dorking broke through the solid back line of Bubba, Harry and Paddy but a cracking save from stand-in keeper Kinley kept the ball out. Dorking finished the half on top and created some good chances but when they did get through there were same great blocks from Zach and Harry B.
So the magpies went in at 0-0. Could this game end as a rare shut-out for both sides?
In the second half, Hamish and Charlie were swapped around and Gethin went up front. Loxwood began the second half on the front foot and continued with some lovely football, with Rowan just missing out after a nice cross by Nathan. Chances were few and far between for both sides with midfield being an even and competitive battle. Then the breakhthrough came for the opposition when a long corner ball wasn't dealt with leaving a simple tap in. That one lapse of concentration proved to be the game changer.
But having gone 1-0 down, the Magpies then really turned up the pressure and lay siege to the Dorking goal - there were several half chances before a clear opening for Hamish went agonizingly wide after some good wing play from Tom and Michael. As we went towards full time, Ethan made a great reflex save from a rare Dorking attack whilst at the other end the opposition keeper nearly fumbled a long range effort from Tom but just managed to save the ball from going over the line. The positive play continued but the ball just didn't seem to drop for strikers Gethin or Tom. The final moments saw more frantic attacking and at the very last a Loxwood corner saw Ethan in goal go up to join the attack but nothing came of it and full time soon followed.
This game could have really gone either way but it just wasn't to be on this occasion. But if the team keep up this standard it will come against the stronger sides in the division, and its testament to the development of the squad that we are competing with teams of this calibre.
Man of the Match this week goes to Micheal who showed some great energy and good touches on the right wing. Well done Micheal!!