U14s win at the Gallagher
Midfield foundation for victory
Angels travelled to the Gallagher Stadium on Sunday to face Maidstone in the league, the games have always been crackers with plenty of flowing football on show and this game was no different. Angels were boosted by the news striker Billy Kent was able to play a part but were also missing Toby Kent.
Angels reverted to a back four of Balcombe, Murphy, Hermitage and Austin with the ever reliable Nat Gibb in goal. The midfield of Howie, Tyrie, Wilkins, Smith and Lansdowne with Billy Kent leading the line. The opening 10 minutes were fairly even, Maidstone looking very strong down their right and Hermitage having to be on top of his game. Angels were starting to cause problems for Maidstone down their right too, Smith constantly picking up the ball and driving at the Maidstone defence and Smith got the first real chance one on one with keeper but firing just wide. Then a great win by Howie in midfield fed Lansdowne who hit a cracking left foot shot into the far corner to put Angels 1-0 up, Angels had made the early breakthrough but the age old adage of being most vulnerable when you score proved right and the lead didn't last long.
Maidstone responded instantly breaking down the right and good cross was headed in by the powerful Maidstone striker Openibo. Both the Stone's strikers Openibo and Wooton were a handful, Murphy and Balcombe stood strong and were superb in stepping in front when they could and standing up when they needed to. Then a key moment in the match with Wooton wriggling through and hitting a rocket of a shot into the far corner but there was Gibb to pull off a world class save and keep the scores level. The Angels midfield were now firmly on top Wilkins putting the performance in for two players against his old club
Smith was proving to be a real thorn in the Maidstone side causing problems with his direct running and when he managed to get into the box his quick feet drew a foul from the defender and the referee pointed to the spot for Angels second penalty in two weeks. Tyrie stepped up this week but smashed the ball over much to relief of the Stones. But this Angels team don't know how to lie down and Smith again picked up the ball and drove at the defence this time being brought down with a heavy challenge and having to be replaced by Raffelt. Howie stepped up 30 yards out and majestically stuck the free kick in the top corner and Angels went in 2-1 up.
Angels changed the shape at half time, Hermitage going wide left and Austin switching to left back, Howie dropped back into defence and Balcombe slotted into right back. Maidstone as expected started very strongly and won a number of corners but Gibb's was superb in his handling. Murphy and Howie now looked settled and very solid, Murphy having one of his strongest performance of the season, the full backs Balcombe and Austin not letting anything down the flanks. Austin making a couple of fantastic challenges and starting play off from the left.
The Angels midfield were now really starting to buzz and dominate the game, Wilkins was magnificent throughout covering every blade of the pitch and unlucky not to get on the score sheet. Tyrie continued to thread balls through into Kent's feet and protect the back four with Hermitage and Raffelt provided the width. Then a devastating 15 minute spell of football by the young Angels. Raffelt winning a good challenge and Kent out muscling his marker feeding Lansdowne who made no mistake again firing into the corner putting Angels 3-1 up. Then the Angels midfield worked the ball out to Hermitage he played a one two with Lansdowne leaving Hermitage with just the keeper to beat, Hermitage faked to shoot rolled the ball to Kent who fired in to put Angels 4-1 up. Angels were now oozing class this time the ball found Lansdowne on the left, he looked up and clipped an exquisite 20 yard ball between two defenders taking the pace off the pass, Kent had timed his run to perfection caressing first time over the advancing keeper for one of Angels goals of the season. Angels continued to stretch Maidstone and Wates was unlucky with a couple of long range shots, finding good space on the edge of the Stone's box. Angels shuffled the pack again for the last quarter Balcombe and Raffelt having a spell in the centre.
Maidstone did rally for the last 10 minutes and Openibo added a second goal and then crashed a great shot off the crossbar but Angels held out worthy winners in another cracking game of football.
Team - Gibb, Balcombe, Murphy, Hermitage, Austin, Howie, Tyrie, Wilkins, Smith, Lansdowne, Kent, Raffelt and Wates