Saturday December 19th, Ewhurst 0 v 2 Loxwood Magpies
Squad : Kinley, Charlie C, Nathan, Alex, Declan, Liam, Will, Ethan, Hamish, Tom, Charlie D, Chris
Goals : Will, Nathan
A hastily arranged friendly saw Loxwood finish the season with another win and a clear sheet to finish the season on a high.
This performance didn't quite see the magpies reach our now-expected high levels of skill, energy and tactical awareness but nonetheless a win's a win!! The whites spent much of the game locked in a midfield battle against a team without the rigid structure of opposition they would normally be used to, and it was a credit to Ewhurst, who nearly folded this year, to turn out a team to compete with the table-topping whites.
The goals came from Will, who pounced after a goal bound header from Nathan was saved by the keeper. Great following up!! The second came from Nathan, who atoned from missing a glorious chance a little earlier after a great cross from Alex, when he bundled in from close range after some good attacking play from Liam and Tom created the opportunity.
Ewhust themselves had their chances and it was a credit to the sure goalkeeping of firstly Kinley and latterly Liam, to stand firm and keep the resurgent Ewhurst at bay. On this occasion we were missing some key players and were a little under strength, and this was one of those games where many of our usual standout performers didn't quite 'hit it off', but it's the sign of a great team to still be able to pull off a comfortable win when not playing well.
Man of the Match this week goes to Kinley who had a solid performance in goal followed by a very assured performance at Centre Back. Well Done Kinners!!
So another victory which keeps the winning habit going and with a clean sheet all-in-all a great way to end 2020 - a year like no other!! So the whites can now look forward with positivity to 2021. Go Magpies!!
Saturday 12th December - Dorking Wanderers Red 1 v 3 Loxwood Magpies
Squad : Kinley, Harry B, Tom, Liam, Chris, Charlie C, Neo, Charlie D, Alex, Declan, Rowan, Ethan, Michael, Hamish
Goals : Neo, Alex, Ethan
The u14 Magpies arrived at Dorking Wanderers' Wescott based pitch (in the rain again!!!) for the table topping clash of the day. Both teams were unbeaten, with the Magpies sitting 3 points above the Dorking team courtesy of having played a game more. Games between these two have always been tight, with the teams generally cancelling each other out, and the Magpies lined up full of confidence built from their previous performance against Dorkinians.
The preparations were to again have to factor a shuffle of positions, with Bubba moving to GK and Kinley steeping in to centre back alongside Declan.
Right from the first whistle, Loxwood were on he front foot, winning plenty of possession in midfield and using it wisely. It was clear that Loxwood would use the width of the pitch to their advantage with Ethan and Alex proving willing runners to try and get in behind the Dorking defence. Most of the early exchanges were in favour of Loxwood and the promising start soon turned onto a lead. And what a wonderful goal it was too! Liam won possession in the middle and swiftly ate up the yards to gain territorial advantage before playing a pinpoint pass into the path of the advancing Ethan – Ethan took two solid touches and then delivered a perfect cross onto the head of the hard running Neo – Neo rose between the defender and the GK and cushioned his header superbly into the far corner of the net. A brilliant move and perfect example of the early ball into the right space.
This goal appeared to set back Dorking who were now rocking a little and struggling to match the work rate and commitment of the young Magpies.
Possession was being won high up the pitch ( a key point in the pre-match briefing), and shots were regularly being aimed at the Dorking keeper. Meanwhile at the other end, Bubba had very little to do in goal and was thankful to the back four protecting him.
Alex and Tom were starting to work smartly together with Alex in particular causing the Dorking defence huge problems in his advanced left midfield/supplementary striker role. It looked only a matter of time before this route would prove costly for Dorking, and so it proved with a neat near post finish from Alex following some sustained pressure and ball retention from Loxwood. 2-0. The remainder of the half followed a similar pattern, with several changes form both teams disrupting the natural flow a bit – it was notable that the Loxwood subs all came on and made significant impacts immediately.
The half time talk was straightforward – game management and concentration were the main points (plus the old Achilles heel of sometimes holding on to the ball a bit too long). That said quick passing and one touch passing were much improved this week – Dorking being more of a footballing team than some others we have recently played lent itself to this. The boys were very ‘up for it’ going into the 2nd half, and the game carried on largely in the same way the first half had ended. Dorking did look to try and play a little higher and there was a minor storm to weather for 5 mins before the magpies started to assert their dominance once again. Plenty of changes/subs were made to keep things fresh and give as much playing as poss to everyone.
The game management from the maturing magpies was impressive, and even when the hard-working and fired-up Neo had to leave the pitch due to a nasty looking knee twist, the boys re-shaped and transitioned into a 4-5-1 to clog up the midfield (where Dorking have their strongest players). With about 20 mins to go, after some good high play, Ethan popped up with a left foot lob which caught the GK by surprise and sailed over his head to nestle in the back of the net and effectively make the game safe.
A rare shot from the Dorking team, who know looked like they were accepting of the inevitable pending defeat, slipped out of Bubba's hands and crept over the line. An unfortunate incident for the stand-in goalie. The only other further drama was an injury to Liam, when contesting a (fair) 50-50 tackle, which caused a further reshuffle of shape to see the game out. The game played out and the boys were well deserving of their win, after dominating the whole match and asserting their authority right the way through the team.
Some really impressive performances again this week, the solid back four, the stand in Bubba GK, the drive and work rate from midfield, the movement up top…I could go on. The coaches usually award a Man-of-the-match each week, but on reflection this week the award goes to the whole team – there were plenty of deserving individual winners, but the team performance was the most prominent feature in a notable win against the reigning champs on their own pitch.
It should be noted that referee commented on what a great game it was, with good football and spirit – and with both teams playing fair and committed football. Thank you to Dorking – a good side who like to play good football and were very gracious in a defeat that must have been hard to take. Great to see boys from both sides chatting with each other after the game, and showing a real sportsmanlike and mature attitude.
The Magpies go into the xmas break 6 points clear at the top of div 1.
Thanks to Bik-Kay from the very welcome hot chocolate and to Hannah for the photos!!! Merry XMAS all!
Saturday 5th December, Loxwood Magpies 4 v 1 Dorkinians
Squad : Ethan, Charlie C, Harry B, Declan, Alex, Chris, Liam, Tom, Kinley, Neo, Nathan, Harry P, Charlie D, Will
Goals : Chris, Will, Alex, Neo
So our first game back from Lockdown 2 was a home fixture against recent rivals Dorkinians. It seems an age since we last met at the Cup Final in October!!
'Home' was a little different for this one, given much-needed maintenance works were ongoing at 'the nest' in Loxwood, we used the opportunity to play just up the road at the home of Plaistow FC.
This was a classic cold December grey day with a somewhat soggy pitch, rain and hail mixed with some bright sunshine making it not for the feint-hearted - and games against Dorkinians feel a bit like this too as they have always been physical encounters!! However, on this occasion the magpies certainly came out on top!!
After a fairly even opening, it was Dorkinians who took the lead after a strike bounced off the post and landed neatly to a waiting striker to fire home. Could the magpies come back from this early setback?? Absolutely!! After this 'wake-up call', Loxwood began to get more and more into the game with Chris and Liam working together nicely in midfield and using the width well - and from one of these nice moves Nathan's deep cross from the right just evaded Tom at the far post. Finally, just before half time, Chris fired home after another great cross from the wings. Get In !!! And so it finished 1-1 at half time.
Into the second half and the whites were beginning to dominate the physical battles, and midway through the half Will drove the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 after a strike from Liam was pushed out by the Dorkinians keeper. Meanwhile, the magpies ever solid defence were continuing to stand firm to protect the rota of stand-in goalies of Ethan, Chris and Harry B. On the wings the whites continued to threaten with Alex looking particularly dangerous on the left and from a lovely run he beat two players before calmly slotting below the advancing keeper to make it 3-1. Dorkinians heads were now beginning to drop and gaps were starting to show at the back and with a few minutes remaining Neo took his chance by slotting home after a nice through ball to make it 4-1 and all but confirm the win.
So yet another great win as the whites go from strength to strength and this solidifies Loxwood at the top of the league. This game was won because we outfought our opponents and took our chances!! Great stuff boys. Onto Dorking Wanderers next !!
The coaches man of the match this week goes to Alex for his committed and energetic performance and his cracking solo goal. Well done Alex!!
Thanks so much to Lucy Badger for running the great fitness sessions to help us all get through lockdown. Lucy really put the boys through their paces with an online training programme which got everyone moving and really worked up a sweat!! Thanks again from players and parent alike Lucy!!!
With lockdown very much here for the next few weeks we thought as a replacement for tuesday training it would be a good idea to share some links on training routines and videos to highlight some of the points we have been trying to make on some of the technical aspects of the game.
We’ve got some good momentum going at the moment and so it’s really important to keep things going to give us all that extra edge when we get back to playing again. This link presents some of the things everyone can do on their own to improve their close control and touch. Something to have a go at in the back garden to enhance those ball skills!!
Saturday 31st October, Loxwood Magpies 6 v 0 Albury Saxons (Friendly Game)
Squad: Kinley, Nathan, Michael, Declan, Bubba, Alex, Charlie C, Tom, Charlie D, Will, Rowan, Hamish, Ethan
Goals : Nathan (2), Tom, Alex, Charlie D, OG
This was supposed to be a free week, but the magpies took the opportunity to continue their excellent form in a friendly game against Albury Saxons. With it being Halloween, certainly Albury will feel relieved they won't have the nightmare of playing the whites again as they notched up a well-deserved 6-0 win.
This looked on paper to be a big test for the whites with some big players missing but the strength of the squad really shone through with a dominant performance for the full 70 minutes. It was a big opportunity for many of the squad to show their potential and in really testing conditions with the squally rain and gusting wind, they certainly all cane through this test with flying colours.
The match started with a good midfield battle, but it soon became obvious that the magpies were in control with Tom and Charlie D showing some lovely passing moves and Rowan looking dangerous up front from the through ball. After fifteen minutes the breakthrough came after a defender deflected a dangerous corner from Alex into his own net. The pressure then started to build and it was no surprise when Tom made it 2-0 with a lovely finish in the corner. This was then shortly followed with a strike from Charlie D on the edge of the box which was deflected off a defender and sent the keeper the wrong way, and the first half rout continued when Alex made it 4-0, following good work from Tom and Will, with a trademark left foot strike.
Onto the second half and the Magpies moved things around with lots of players trying new positions with Kinley and Charlie C tried out in midfield roles and Bubba have a go up-front. Once the whites got used to the new shape this began to yield some opportunities with Bubba and Ethan looking dangerous on the right and Hamish putting in some great work on the left side.
Meanwhile Albury began to push forward desperate to get on the scoresheet but the solid Loxwood defensive wall held firm with Declan and Alex outstanding in stopping any opposition attacks. The opportunity was taken to change the team shape again with a 3-pronged attack of Nathan, Will and Michael deployed for the final 15 minutes.
This nearly immediately bore fruit as a cross-cum-shot from Ethan was met by Nathan but the ball agonisingly went along the goal-line to picked up by the opposition keeper, (who to be fair had an excellent game given the extensive pressure he was being put under). Was Ethan's shot going in anyway?? We will never know ....
The whites were finding more and more space into the final minutes and it was no surprise when Nathan blasted the ball in top of net from a good cross from Bubba, and then grabbed his second after a fine strike from Ethan crashed against the bar and he was the first to respond for an easy tap in.
So 6-0 it ended. Yet another clean sheet and one which keeps this season's unbeaten run going. Most importantly following the news later of the impending lockdown it was great for the boys to get in that final run-out as it looks like it will be the last for a while.
There were lots of great performances to choose from this week but the coaches' Man of the Match this week goes to Declan for his confident and disciplined performance. He has certainly come on leaps and bounds since joining Loxwood this year and his commitment, positional awareness and intelligent distribution has been a large factor in the strong defensive displays this season. Well Done Declan!!
Saturday 17th October, SSYFL U13 Final 2020 (delayed from March)
Dorkinians 1 v 2 Loxwood Magpies
Squad : Kinley, Harry P, Charlie C, Declan, Harry B, Nathan, Alex, Liam, Ethan, Chris, Charlie D, Daniel, Tom, Neo, Hamish, Rowan
Goals ; Alex, Neo
Picture : How it all Ended !!
Back in January (when the world had a more normal feel to it), the Magpies embarked on a cup quarter final against strong opposition, in an attempt to defend the cup they had won the season before. The quarter final match was won via sudden death penalties, and the subsequent semi became a formality against a weaker opposition.
Fast forward to Saturday 17th Oct 2020 and the much anticipated final (delayed due to lockdown) was at last allowed to go ahead. The opposition this time were Dorkinians - a strong side who'd had the better of the Magpies over the previous 2 seasons.
The match was played at Dorking Wanderers' Meadow Bank stadium - a beautiful pitch inside a proper football stadium befitting their status as a National League South side just 2 tiers down from the league - a wonderful venue for such an occasion!!
The Magpies came into this match as the form team, having gained 4 wins and a draw so far this season and conceding only once during those matches. However, some factors came into play that the boys had to deal with; the opposition had been training at the venue for several weeks and had had plenty of time to adjust to the 4G surface and pitch size. In addition to this, Loxwood's Captain, Liam, had injured his ankle the night prior and was unable to take part. His physical presence and drive from midfield (and goal threat) would be missed. Despite these setbacks, the boys took to the field, roared on by a vociferous supporting contingent, and prepared to start the match.
The early running was shared between the two sides, but the bigger threat was coming from Dorkinians, and the whites had to make do with containing and trying to hit he opposition on the break. Some secure defending from the Magpies back four ensured that KInley in goal didn't have to make too many actual saves, but when he was called upon, he pulled off a 'worldy' save down low in the bottom corner. The Opposition coaches (in the cosy dugouts) leapt in the air as they were convinced it was going in, but no, KInley stretched every fibre in his body to keep it out. Big Moment no, 1 !!
Half time came, and in reality the Magpies needed it!!
Video : Kinley's great save
A couple of tweaks and chats; the second half resumed, and it was a nervous few minutes as no one wanted to make a mistake. Then, form a fairly innocuous position, a slight lapse in closing down led to a wonder strike from the opposition midfielder, and his shot thundered in the top corner, leaving Kinley with no chance at all.
Picture : Game faces on
This setback (conceding) was one we talked about in the warm up - the boys aren't used to conceding this season, and their reaction would be huge, either way. ....... Some further changes from both sides, some more defending and blocks, but the Magpies were starting to get some more joy in wide areas, and Tom and Chris had figured out how to play in between the 2 oppo midfielders, consequently getting us on the ball more and using it more wisely. The tackling was also better (another point made at half time), so the play was more even, and Alex was starting to get more and more possession on the left and his marauding runs from left back were allowing us to play higher up the pitch, and causing the opposition to play deeper.
One Magpies attack, on the right this time, was half crossed, half cleared and fell nicely to Alex, who took a couple of neat touches and then let fly with his left foot - straight into the top corner. What a strike. Big Moment no.2 !!!
Cue big celebrations - and the hardest job now was going to be recovering composure.
Video : The leveller
There were around 15 minutes left, and the game was looking likely to go to penalties - and both sets of coaches were starting to plan penalty takers.
A few half chances for both teams, with the magpies looking the more likely to convert one, but a slight under-hit backpass from the normally ultra-reliable and neat 'Bubba' let the dangerman in, his half shot was saved by Kinley but rebounded back into his path, and he took aim. But Bubba had read it and applied a block. the ball falling back to the forward who then took aim at a half empty goal - it looked an easy chance and he aimed it precisely toward the bottom corner, well wide of Kinley's desperate dive. Again , everyone thought it had gone in, but somehow 'Bubba' stretched out a long leg and diverted it out for a corner. Unbelievable athleticism!!. Big moment no,3 !!.
Video : YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!
Relief for the boys who broke away and applied some more pressure with only a couple of minutes left. The ref gave a foul to the Magpies about 25 yards out, and Chris stepped up to take it. His powerful shot was finger tipped on to the cross bar thy the GK and then the ball dropped into the 6 yard box. Neo (whose clever inverted run had eluded the defence and the offside flag) was first to react and he smashed the ball emphatically into the net past the unlucky GK.
Big moment no.4 !!!
Absolute scenes ensued with wild goal celebrations !!!
There was the small matter of closing the game out though, and Dorkinians had one more half chance before the final whistle finally came - emotions were high and the boys celebrated passionately.
Video : Last Minute Winner
Video : From another angle - and listen folks to the rather amusing tannoy announcement at the end of the clip!!!
it took some time before order was reinstated and the presentation could take place. The trophy was lifted in front of the mass of parents and supporters, with smiles and hugs (safely done of course) aplenty.
Video : The trophy lift!!!
The boys overcame some real challenges before and during the game, and in realty the match was fairly even, and a draw would have been a fair result, but the team that kept going to the end won out. And the team that could produce big moments when needed came out as winners. It was by no means the most polished of performances, but it's a cup final, and the magpies had won it!
Several really key performances that drove the team on, some dogged defending, and a requirement for some to play out of position in order to get the result. A notable spell of 25 mins from Tom in midfield which drove us on and provided some improvement in terms of possession, but the MOTM goes to Alex - his pivotal goal, boundless energy, and ever-increasing domination on the left aide was a performance to really note, Full of enterprise and guile, and with a maturity and discipline of someone older.
The day was rounded off perfectly with a trip back to 'the nest' to parade the trophy alongside the Senior's 1st team. Brilliant example of grassroots football in the community. Thanks to Mark and Garth , and the first team coaches and players for making the day extra special. And in a weird parallel twist the senior team also 2-1, also coming down from 1-0 and winning against all odds (having had a man sent off).
Thanks to Ness, Bik-Kay and Garth for the videos and photos.
Come on you Magpies!!!
Picture : A shared celebration
Saturday 10th October
Albury Saxons 0 v 4 Loxwood Magpies SSYFL Cup
Squad : Kinley, Nathan, Harry P, Bubba, Declan, Alex, Charlie D, Liam, Ethan, Will, Chris, Tom, Rowan
Goals : Tom, Rowan, Chris, Will
Loxwood continued the great momentum with a dominant 4-0 away win. Albury used to be a regular fixture, but this was the first time these two had lined up for 2-3 years. This was a cup game and slightly bizarrely only a week before the cup final ... from last year!! (Delayed of course due to Coronavirus).
Playing in their shiny new away kit, which recognises the club's heritage in the former Kirdford Youth FC yellow/black stripes, the ‘pies’ started dominantly with a couple of great chances being created but with no end product. Then midway through the first half some nice passing resulted in Tom finding Rowan and he expertly converted the opportunity to make it 1-0. This was followed with a second when Tom's speculative strike was fumbled by the unfortunate opposition keeper. So the ‘yellows’ went in 2-0 up at half time.
Onto the second half and Kinley got a good run-out in the outfield with Loxwood continuing to dominate. There was some lovely interchanges with the 'pass and move' mantra really paying off. The game was made safe midway into the second half when Chris finished with a fine volley from Alex’s nice delivery from a corner, and to complete the rout Will netted with an athletic volley from another exquisite cross from Alex.
Another week, another great win and yet another clean sheet. Although everyone played well individually what was noticeable from the sidelines was the team performance with some lovely passing moves which the opposition just couldn’t cope with.
Man of the match this week goes to Alex for his energy, commitment and great crossing. Congratulations Alex!!!