Angels U14s hold Crows
By Jim Rowe
Defensive solidity secures point
On Sunday the U14 team took on Sussex side Crowborough Athletic in our third league game. A tough prospect with the Crows only missing out on last years title marginally.
We knew from our intelligence what Crowborough would bring to the game, a strong passing team who rotate the ball from side to side well. Fridays training was used partly to counteract Crowborough’s possession football and ensure we were difficult to break through.
The game began , and as expected the Crows started sharp moving the ball from side to side with two deep lying central midfielders.... this promoted the Angels to push a midfielder on to compete player for player in midfield and stop the passing from source .
The Angels reverted to a back 4 this week to fit players into a system, with news of Harvey Lawrence fracturing his wrist last week, we were down to two natural defenders. The change paid dividends. The first half wasn’t full of any clear cut chances from either side, Crowborogh keeping the ball from deep, not hurting the Angels rear guard who was able to track runners, sit in a solid shape and frustrate a Crowborough side who had 90%+ first half possession, with only 2-3 long ranged shots to show for. With the Angels holding game plan, we knew Crowborough would be vulnerable for a counteract with both full backs bombing, centre half stepping in with the ball... we certainly found chances to open up the Crows backline ourselves .
Second half was more of the same . Crows possession with only long shots to prove . Angels were happy to allow Crowborough to keep the ball deep, keeping our compact shape forcing Crows wide where cross were being stopped. Not once in the game did the away side manage to penetrate us, with GK Matt Larkin having to make lots of basic saves from range . Crows did scare the Angels twice . With 15 minutes left on the clock a cross from deep was flicked on by Angels centre back Joe Wallis, glancing fortunately off the bar. And with a matter of moments left on the clock Crowborough did get the ball in our net... not for a fantastic line from the Angels line to rule it offside correctly .
Angels had half chances of their own on the break, a Joe Wallis free kick just over the bar, Rockie Burke was always a presence in behind , but the power of the Crows defence was too much.
We knew we couldn’t currently compete toe to toe with Crowborough at this stage. Still getting used to each other and still learning new systems and style of play. We know we must keep the ball better as we allowed this to become attack v defence at times. But i must praise and credit my team unbelievably. The character , determination and belief ...alongside the absorption of information at training was second to none. Very proud of the team today . Who executed a game plan to perfection. This sort of game will aid their development in abundance.
MOM - Could have been anyone really but Alex Hamza-Goodacre for his tireless work in midfield , won pretty much everything today and didn’t put a foot wrong.
Team- Larkin, Lambert, Wallis, Hodges, Dennis, Hollamby, Ayres , Hamza-Goodacre , Wolvey , Burke, Mellish .
Report from Dom Welsh