Match reports – Mini Soccer U7-U10 – Latest

02/12/2018 – Leigh Ramblers Lions vs Leigh Ramblers Leopards

Team: Danny, Charlie, Archie, Henley, William, Callum, Bobbie, Georgie

First things first, we lost.  We can get over that quickly because quite frankly it doesn’t matter.  We didn’t play well; the boys are 8 and 9 years old, inconsistency will happen.  But I do think we can look at what didn’t go well, Aus and I will work on things with the boys but to summarise I would say;  1) At the back good decisions were made but poor execution led to far too many chances being given away.  2) In attack, poor decisions were made, people running into defenders rather than passing the ball and shooting where an extra pass or another touch would have been a better decision.  3) The boys were not as “up for it” as they were the previous week – not sure why that is but something for everyone to think about.

It was clear very early that there was a clash of styles, the Lions team use their physicality and look to get the ball forward quickly, they play very much through the middle of the pitch, whereas we are much slower in possession, looking to knock the ball about patiently (note for me and Aus, we need to have a point to the possession). 

Quite early on, Will won the ball in our half, turned his man and played it through the middle to Silkz.  Henley played it wide to Bobbie who’d made a good run away from the centre of the pitch which created a big space in the Lions defence.  He played the ball first time back to Silkz who’d continued his run – an excellent 1-2 between them.  Silkz drove towards goal before trying to lob the keeper, he was under pressure from 2 defenders and as a result couldn’t quite get control on the finish and it went wide.  Excellent build up though and a really good demonstration of how to turn defence into attack quickly.

Georgie won a corner after a good threatening attack that the defender covered well, the first two attempts were both cut out at the near post but straight out for another corner each time.  The third, Will made an excellent run to give an option for the short corner, good imagination.  Callum elected not to use him which is something I was quite happy with as Will’s run took to defenders out of the middle to cover him.  Callums ball went over the top for those defenders and should have been attacked by one of our players, as it was it was half cleared back to Will whose cross found Bobbie, his header going just wide.

From a Lions attack, the ball was prodded through and Danny claimed it, slowing the game right back down before releasing it to Nails.  From there we pushed forward down the right through William and Bobbie, before Bob played it in field, Henley chanllenged the defender and the ball broke to Georgie, if anything he was a bit too close to the keeper who dived on the shot almost before Georgie had time to spin and get his shot away.

It was an interesting game up to this point, we know the Lions well and so shouldn’t have been surprised by anything we saw from them.  We defended well when they attacked and we looked to move the ball when we were in possession but the passes were too often going astray. And we struggled to cope with their size, power and directness

The Lions defended well and hit us on the counter attack but Archie reacted really well and won the ball back just inside our half, he took the ball and turned running with it towards the left touch-line before playing it forwards to Bobbie.  Archie continued his run into the box and got himself on the end of Bobbies cross with a header that went just wide.

From the Lions goalkick, the ball was played to Praise who went to hit it long but Bob put him under pressure instantly and won the ball just outside the area, between the two defenders Bob was completely upended and we were given a free-kick.  As you probably know my rule is that whoever wins the kick is in charge of what happens with it, usually that player will take the kick themselves.  On this occasion Bob asked Callum to take it, Callum felt that Henley would be better placed and so passed it on.  Henley was only too happy to take it.  The Lions put 4 men in the wall and the ref moved them forward to the 5 yards they’re allowed.  Henley went for goal with the kick and hit a great shot into the back of the net just under the bar.

That pretty much took us up to half time.

I had asked the boys at the start of the game what formation they wanted to go with, 1 or 2 up top and thinking back I don’t think it done us any favours, what we said for the second half was that we would mix it depending on who we had on the pitch at the time.  We spoke to all the boys about the 2 jobs they would potentially have to do, they’re a clever bunch!

One thing that was evident a number of times and there was an example right at the start of the second half is our talking.  Danny had the ball and told Nails where he should be, Nails in turn was telling Danny to take his time.  Once Nails had the ball, he had calls telling him that he had time from at least two other players.  He had team mates giving him calls about the options he had on.  This level of understanding of the game at their age is outstanding and one other reason why I’m convinced the way we’re coaching them is working.  There are things that they will need to work on particularly around decision making, but to know what options they have and to be able to communicate that to each other is brilliant.

The lions attacked and won a corner, disappointingly for coaches of both teams the ball bounced right through the middle of the box, eventually we did clear it and the ball fell to Bobbie who turned his defender well.  He had one defender in front of him and support both sides.  The defender won the battle on this occasion.

Another attack started from Danny’s goal kick, this time Nails received it, drew the defender in before playing it across to Henley.  His first time pass found Callum in right midfield, Cal turned on it and under pressure from Praise (as most of our boys were for the entire game!) knocked if forward for Bob to run onto.  Bobbie now was out wide and had a defender with him but he created the space for a cross and put a good ball in.  Archie had made another break into the box but couldn’t quite get the right connection on the ball.

From the resulting corner Henley ran in and put his volley just over the bar.

The Lions came forward when they won a good ball back in the middle of the pitch, Archie had carried it forward confidently but in turning the ball over it meant they were 3 against 1.  They worked it well to create the space for a shot but Danny was up to it and saved well at his near post putting the ball out for a corner.

In playing the ball out from the back we made a wayward pass that went straight to Praise, the Lions came forward in numbers again but this time we had men back with them, they did manage to create the space to get a snap-shot away but again Danny was equal to it, diving bravely to make his “Epic” save.

There was time for us to have one more really good attack after that,  Archie winning a good tackle deep in our own half and playing it forwards on the left to William, he ran with the ball before playing it through to Henley in the centre of the pitch just inside our attacking half.  Silkz played a first time pass out to Georgie who’d pulled wide – as usual we had options both sides with Callum taking up a good position as usual on the other side of the pitch.  Georgie took a touch and fired in a decent shot that the keeper dived to save.  Georgie had another chance from the resulting corner but opted out of the header and couldn’t quite swivel enough to get the volley on target.

And that was the end of that.

There was rightly some negativity about the performance but I have elected to draw mainly on the positives in our play.  It should be pleasing to everyone that in a game where we haven’t played well at all that we have still managed to have a huge share of the game and create a number of chances.

There are lessons to learn without a doubt but that’s always the case with this age group and with this group of kids we can be confident that they’ll continue to learn lessons quickly.

A challenge for the parents, can you try to get the kids as up for the next game as they were for the Manor game?

A quick word on the Lions, they played a really good game, they’d worked on corners in training and that paid off for them.  They used the pace and power that they have in their team to good effect and they didn’t allow us to play our football.  Well done to all the kids that played.

Danny – Lots of positives for Dan this week, there was the “epic” save, there were a number of other good stops.  He was patient in possession, talking a bit this week.  Utterly frustrated to concede, which is a good thing for a keeper.  DEVELOPMENT – lots but he’s making really good progress

Nails – Really strong defensvely, putting in some really big tackles, taking up some excellent positions to cover when players got through other players.  A couple of really outstanding headers that only an adult should make.  And the organisation, really seems to thrive on the responsibility we’re giving him as a talker.  DEVELOPMENT – development so far has been outstanding, can get back to using the ball better but we know he can do that and will continue to.

Archie – Keeps improving and looking like he’s enjoying himself on the pitch, always totally brave in the challenge, now willing to run at the opposition confidently before laying the ball off to team mates.  DEVELOPMENT – it’s impressive how much Archie has progressed in a short space of time, needs to keep listening and keep focussing, in training what we do will make him even better on the pitch.

Silkz – Really tried to drive the team forward this week, was brave in challenges against kids twice his size, good feet, took on a few shots this week as well. Another good step in his development this week.  DEVELOPMENT – I’m enjoying watching the development, keep learning the game and thinking about decisions as that will become your biggest asset.

William – Just keeps going, it was a really tough game this week and for once Will wasn’t the stongest player on the pitch he didn’t let that stop him, his effort and battling qualities really came out this week, always a willing outlet for team mates, and that is invaluable.  DEVELOPMENT – William is an excellent natural footballer but his maturity has been really impressive recently, don’t lose the willingness to listen and learn because it’s an excellent quality and you have it.

Callum – Really battled hard this week and earned the chance to play his football.  Some of the biggest tackles we’ve seen from Cal this week and against very big and strong opposition.  Got forward in support of the attack time and again and still managed to work back.  DEVELOPMENT – I was cocerned about Cal’s bottle for a couple of weeks, but got taken out this week and got up and carried on battling, when you do that you then get the opportunity to show your ability.

Bobbie – Ability and tennacity.  Tried to really drag us through the game in the attacking third, always brave and tough and really decided that kids being bigger and stronger than him was going to present a good opportunity to prove himself this week.  DEVELOPMENT – a superstar who has learned to channel his determination with the need to play proper football at the right times, getting those two things right as often as possible will make an awesome player.

Georgie – We asked for determination and effort from Georgie and there were two examples of Georgie playing up front and tracking all the way back to our penalty area to put in a challenge, then in the attacking third, shrugged off a strong challenge and unleashed a defence splitting pass.  He’s got all that!  DEVELOPMENT – Is understanding and responding to Aus and I better every week, as we get to know him and he gets to know us, he’ll keep improving.  Use your strengths as much as you can on the pitch they’re what make you stand out.

Thanks for the video Nick.

Thanks for all your support as always, it’s nice to have a group of parents that appreciate and understand the difference between kids football and the adult game.  The way you are from the side lines makes it much easier for the kids to love the game.

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