Youngsters fell table-toppers
Under-14s stage second half revival to beat Sheppey United
Report from Dom Welsh
Last Sunday the Angels Under-14s faced a tough test at home to table toppers Sheppey United. After a tough start to the season, this fixture was looking tricky and it proved to be a tough test for the lads.
The Angels lined up in a changed shape, reverting to our normal default formation. Joe Wallis, Jacob Hodges and the returning Harvey Lawrence (from injury) made up the defence in front of Matt Larkin, twinned with a wing back pairing of Max Lambert and Alfie Dennis. A midfield comprised of Mike Hollamby, Joel Ayres and new signing Harry Sargent. Rockie Burke and Fin Wolvey made up the attack.
After recent slow starts to games it was important the Angels started fast or they were in for a tough game.
But, four minutes in, Sheppey striker Timukudzeishe Marapara had the freedom of the box to drive through and dispatch a low shot past Larkin.
After the goal the Angels settled down and were defending resolutely. Sheppey were restricted to long range efforts which were comfortably gathered by Larkin. Burke had a couple of surging runs that were snuffed out by the Sheppey centre half and Wolvey also had two efforts blocked from long range.
The management encouraged the team knowing, at just the goal behind and with a good first half performance, we were still in the game.
The Angels started the second period the stronger, with Sheppey still limited to long shots and now getting frustrated. The game really kicked in 15 minutes into the second half when the Angels got an equaliser with a superb goal. Hodges started off the attack playing across the back via Wallis to Lambert who played a channel ball into the feet of substitute striker Elijah Oyekan, who held the ball up brilliantly before playing a superb one two with Harry Sargent; nutmegging the Sheppey full back to roll the ball into Wolvey who swept a fantastic strike past the helpless goalkeeper.
The Angels now had their tails up and the belief that they could go on to win the game, pressing everything and defending from the front with the strikers pressuring the goalkeeper into a rushed clearance that fell to wing back Sam Mellish who let loose with a ferocious 40 yard strike over the goalkeeper’s head to give the Angels the lead after 55 minutes.
The next 15 minutes turned into a tense, fiery but fair, game. Sheppey came back strongly and we had to drop a striker into the midfield to form a 3-6-1 formation! Sometimes in football you have to win ugly and this is what the Angels did on this occasion. One memorable moment in the second half was a Sheppey volley from six yards destined for the goal, but Larkin pulled of a miraculous save pushing it onto the post and to safety.
Sheppey had a player sent off late in for dissent and the Angels rallied together with a number of fantastic tackles, last ditch blocks and good game management they saw it through to gain their first win of the season! CUE THE CELEBRATIONS!!!
This was an outstanding team performance with many top performances and two outstanding goals. The management’s choice of man of the match goes to Joe Wallis for a strong and commanding performance, controlling a physical, strong and fast Sheppey forward throughout the game.
The Angels now have momentum going into a game against bottom of the table side Bearsted, who will still provide a tough test.