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Match reports – Mini Soccer U7-U10

26th November 2017 – Leigh Ramblers U8’s Leopards vs Leighwood Lions
John-Paul, Callum, Thomas, Henley, Charlie “Pele”, Bobby, Charlie “Nails”,
The Game
The game started with Pele in goal for us and both teams looking up for it from the off, right from the first whistle both teams were passing the ball confidently and creating chances. Offensively Henley up front was picking up some good positions and turned the defender a few times leading to good chances. Defensively we were looking strong, there was no doubt Leighwood could create chances but our desire and ability to win the ball back and turn defence into attack was clear from the early exchanges.
Eventually the breakthrough came and it was us that scored, some excellent defending from Nails, bringing the ball out when he had no right to, before the ball found it’s way to JP, a pass forward to Henley who took a good first tough and held off the defender before leaving the ball to Bobby who’d made a good run forward in support. Bob struck it well and the ball went over the keeper and into the back of the net.
The first half finished in much the same way, both teams playing some really good football, creating good chances and both teams defending strongly. We conceded a couple of soft goals, but it was a really good first half.

Second half, Pele came out on pitch and Bob-star who’d had a really good first half took the gloves. We started slowly in the second half, Leighwood came out quickly but our decisions were slow, our movement off the ball was slow and our decision making was slow. Bob in goal was our best player in the early stages of the second half! The half progressed in the same pattern, Leighwood were having good possession, they didn’t manage to create too many clear cut chances. For our part we did manage to create a few chances but they came about by individual determination rather than good football.
Pele had a really good chance when he knocked the ball past the defender then went round to collect it the other side, through on goal and his finish went just wide.
Just before the end Pele got his reward for his excellent attitude and determination when he fought his way through and finished well.

I thought all of the boys done really well against a very good side, it wasn’t a vintage performance but it showed how dogged and determined they can be, they showed good maturity in the way they played. Despite there being 7 goals watching back there didn’t seem to be a great deal that happened during the game – some top performances.
Well done.

Us
Proud of the boys today, I thought on the whole we played really well, the score line was harsh in terms of numbers but not the result. We desperately need to find a keeper though as it’s not fair on our players having to keep going in goal – as a team we miss them too much on pitch.
First half I thought we were excellent, we moved the ball quickly and created a number of chances as a result. Defensively I asked the team not to worry so much about following their player but for the defensive three to get back into a defensive shape – zonal rather than man for man. The instructions involved the wide players quickly getting back to create a defensive wall and playing close to Charlie in the middle. The thinking was that if Leighwood scored from a long way out or from a silly angel then so be it, but I didn’t want them creating chances right in front of goal by passing through the middle. Although there was some confusion at times I thought the boys done a good job of carrying out the instruction in the main. The front player was being asked to be the one that chased and harried Leighwood when they had the ball in deep areas.
In the second half we lost our shape completely for a while, we can’t work out why that happened, players that are usually very good at playing positions were not where they should be. I did get some insight from Henley in the evening when he said two things of interest; 1) I told him to play right midfield, usually I just say on the right. A lesson for me and Aus. 2) he was being told to do different things from the supporters, he was already slightly unsure so that seemed to completely baffle him for a period. I don’t know if those 2 things caused the entire lack of shape but they definitely contributed – please let Aus and I do the coaching, it’s not fair on the boys if they’re getting different instructions from parents and coaches and learning to make their own decisions is vitally important especially while they’re young.
We did get our shape back though and continued to play some good stuff, we were a bit more open defensively but equally we were doing some good stuff going forward.
A good performance and some good lessons learnt in this game.

Leighwood
Red & White – As we knew Leighwood were a good side, every player is very good, they have a settled keeper (and a good one) and a large squad. It will be interesting to see how they cope with losing so many players to Academies next season – though I’m sure they will cope. Their strongest players are centre half, striker and wide left (that’s over half the team) but all of them can play. They play good football but very much focussed on creating and taking chances, they don’t just play for the sake of it. Not afraid to go long when it’s the right thing to do but they do it deliberately. Management seem good but very driven to deliver results making some over the top appeals but that’s competitive football so no real problem with that.

I’m glad Oscar didn’t score from that free kick!

The players
PotW
Charlie Pele – Goalkeeper, Striker
PoTW – First half in goal and done a good job, came out well a few times and made some important saves. Second half played up front, was a really interesting performance because the start of the second half was excellent, putting good pressure on the Leighwood defence, being available for teammates and linking the play really well. Then there was a dip which resulted in me bringing you off for a couple of minutes but went back on and took on board what we said superbly< grabbed a goal and the Player of the Week trophy. It’s important to know that not only on one performance but for the way you’ve slotted into the team and effort and willingness to learn at training that’s well deserved. Development – Play with your head up, when you get the ball know that if you give it and move you’ll get it back in a better position, don’t just try to bulldoze through defences.

Bobby – Right midfield, Goalkeeper;
Training wasn’t good this week but on Sunday it was obvious for the minute he arrived that Bob was going to be good. Played the first half mainly on the Right and was excellent, worked really hard to get forward and support but without neglecting his defensive duties, he’s got the physical attributes to do that really well for us. Played a really important team role and was rewarded with a goal as well. Second half in goal and again done really well there, pulled off a few excellent saves, that job is done for another few weeks! Development – as previous weeks, keep thinking about the team and make good decisions.

Callum – Left midfield, Right midfield;
Callum got off to a flier today, was playing really well and I think I got it wrong making him our first substitution (I didn’t want to take anyone off at that stage because we’d started so well but I have to get other players on), went back on and continued where he left off, then came off again (not my call this time!) and struggled to get back to the same level after that. That said Callum still played really well, more than anyone Callum understands what I’m asking for when I change the shape of the team and played the role I asked of him. Still managed to drive forward a number of times to help create chances. Development – bouncing balls again.

Charlie “Nails” – Centre;
Outstanding, the first half was the best defensive display I’ve seen at this age, totally commanding, carried the ball forward when the opportunity was there to do so. Excellent positioning (particularly in the first half), was unlucky to have his little mate Henners get in his way when he strode forward confidently on one occasion. Development – believe in yourself, I’d like to see you sometimes when you stride forward finish it with an effort on goal, and if a teammate gets in your way, tell them! Brilliant performance though.

Thomas – Right midfield, Left midfield;
A really difficult day for Thomas, didn’t get as much game time as he would have liked and as we would like him to get, this really is the top end of grassroots football at this age and his lack of match experience made it difficult. When he did play he done well, paid attention to the job we asked him to do, was dogged and determined off the ball and made some really important interceptions. Development – keep practicing quick passing, get the ball out of your feet and get a strong pass away (find a wall).

John-Paul – Left midfield;
Mr consistent this season, really strong in the tackle and probably done his best work defensively this week, always reacts to danger really quickly and is quick enough and strong enough to really get us out of trouble. On the ball, made some really good decisions that helped to create some good attacking opportunities. Got a little bit lost with the change in the way we were defending but plays his best when he’s playing naturally anyway. Development – still turning your back in challenges, you’re so strong you don’t need to.

Henley – Striker, Centre;
A good game again today, wasn’t thrilled to be played up front but done the job really well, worked really hard to put the Leighwood defence under pressure when they had the ball and picked up some good positions to be a good outlet for teammates. Did manage to get in Nails’ way twice when he was carrying the ball forward. Some good work resulting in Bob’s goal and unlucky not to score himself. 2nd half changed position a bit and for the first time this season looked really assured when playing at the back. Part of the confusion in the second half with dodgy positioning (sorry for that). Development – have the confidence to carry the ball forward when running through on goal, shot from too far out a couple of times when you didn’t need to.

Well done boys, thanks to all those that support the team – keep the pictures and video coming, it’s much appreciated.
Come on you Ramblers!

19th November 2017 – Benfleet Villa vs Leigh Ramblers U8’s Leopards
Callum, Thomas, Henley, Charlie “Pele”, Bobby, John-Paul
The Game
Things that make me proud…….right at the start of the game we had possession and I heard a call of “switch it JP”, shortly after that, JP played a ball back to Callum, a simple pass but so much better an option than turning into trouble and that pass was played with a call of “time Cal”. Small things but things that show me how well these boys are learning the game. Reading the game, giving good options to each other and talking – Aus and I are lucky to have this group.
Early doors JP picked the ball up from Thomas in goal, skipped past his man and played the ball down the line to Bob. Bob showed good awareness to take a touch then swing the ball across field into the path of Henley who drove into the box before finishing low into the far corner. Simple stuff, leading to an excellent team goal.
We were applying pressure straight from the kick off and quickly forced a corner, Callum had taken up a good position just outside the box and sure enough the ball broke to him, side foot into the far corner, the keeper got a hand on it but there was too much on it from Cal.
We were cruising and playing well, Benfleet broke through a couple of times but weren’t really causing us problems. Pele was now playing at the back and he cut out a potential through ball, holding off the attacker well. He elected to pass the ball back to Thomas which was absolutely the right thing to do, unfortunately Thomas stumbled and the ball ended up in our net. It’s really important that the boys know conceding a goal when you’re doing the right thing is okay, we can work on the execution but they have to keep taking the right options.
The first half continued in similar fashion, we looked like when we wanted to we could open them up and were creating good chances, Benfleet though were a threat on the break, Callum, JP and Henley were providing good support to Pele at the back.
We scored again, this time some strong running from Bob before he released it through to JP, he had the opportunity to take it on himself but elected to play it first time back to Bob – so nearly coming of for what would have been a great one-two, the defender got in the way though but his block fell to Pele who fired home from outside the area, again finding that far corner.
Benfleet continued to catch us on the break, its a difficult lesson to realise that defence is just as important when you’re on top in a game but the boys do need to get better at that side of it (maybe we were missing Nails!). However, on one particular break the striker was through on goal and Thomas was really quickly off his line and diving at the strikers feet forcing him to put the ball wide – excellent goalkeeping.
By now the ref had resorted to giving us nothing and so it was when first Henley was blatantly booted the Pele was hacked, that didn’t do us any harm though as from the same passage of play, JP supported and rolled the ball to Pele who’d got up quickly, he fired home. Great desire from our lads.
After a good tackle and clearance from one of the Benfleet team, Henley took a quick throw to Pele, he turned on it and put a lovely ball inside to Henley who’d made a good run after taking the throw. Pele was pretty crudely taken out and the ref unbelieveably blew for the foul, by that time though Henley was through one on one with the keeper and lobbed the ball over him superbly. Play was brought back for the freekick but both the ref and the Benfleet coach seemed to count the goal so I’ll follow suit and give Sliks that one.
There was some really good defending, particularly at this stage from JP who from the wide area always seemed to be there with Henley at the back when Benfleet did break.
Another goal for Bob, this time he won the ball back himselft before turning the defender inside out and chipping past the keeper.
Henley’s turn again, firstly he was on the line blocking a shot and injuring Callum in the process – Cal had to go off as a result and JP took the gloves for the final 5 minutes. He knocked the ball short to Henners who played it out from the back, right on our box to Pele, looking for a one two, Pele though ran with the ball before playing it inside the last defender for Henley to run onto, the keeper was out quickly though and booted the ball – straight into Henley’s stomach only to bounce back into the goal, credit for the effort to keep running though.
Another excellent crossfield pass from Pele saw Bob in acres of space right in front of goal, the outcome was inevitable! That goal confimed my feeling that we could create chances everytime we played football, too often though we had players trying to go on their own and find a way through 3 defenders.
A very good convincing win though and nice for the boys to show off a bit.

Us
We played some excellent football in this game, passing and moving, some excellent one-twos and some brillinat first time balls to really open Benfleet ups. We also defended really well, wide players covering for the ddefender when he went forward, some excellent tracking back when we needed it. An interesting and in my mind accurate comment from one of the spectators after the game, was that it’s a shame we always rely on the same players to do the tracking back, it stops them from being as adventurous as they might to be (and are capable of being).
The boys are still very young to be playing the way they are and with the understanding they’re showing so we should all be massivly proud of each one of them. It’s obvious they’re going to have different stregths and weaknesses and it’s totally natural that they see and play the game differently. That team ethic and defensive side is though something we need to keep working on, I really like to have players that can play anywhere on the pitch but at the moment I feel that I’m playing to the individual’s strenghts rather than mixing them about as much as I’d like, probably because it’s such a tough division this year but I will be looking to mix things up to help players develop different aspects of their game (maybe not next week!).
Well done today, the boys continue to impress and it’s brilliant when they deliver what we’ve worked on or talked about.

Benfleet Villa
White & Blue – probably the weakest team in the division, did have some good players but they looked terrified to really play which was sad.
Sad when a ref and the coaches between them have such a negative impact on a game but that’s the game and they’re all volunteers so not much we can do about that.

The players
PotW – John-Paul – Left midfield
A cracking game from JP this week, strong all the way through. Some great skill on the ball at times but coupled with really good awareness, beat the player then get your head up. Defensively totally committed, worked so hard when Villa broke forward and was generally the player making the challenge to prevent a goal scoring chance. Even done really well when in goal for the last five minutes. Really well done today. Development – Don’t turn your back in challenges, you need to be aware of where the ball is and your big enough and strong enough to not need to put your back into it.
Bobby – Striker, eft midfield;
Much better this week, created a couple of excellent chances for teammates playing early balls inside from wide positions. Particularly in the first half Bob played with his head up this week we keep asking him to do, on top of that he still get’s himself in the right place to get on the end of chances or to create them for himself. Played a fair bit of the game from a wide position and done well there, has the legs and desire to be important at both ends of the pitch. Development – Keep working on the team play, it was brilliant at times today.

Callum – Centre, Goal keeper;
A really good first half from Cal, scored a good goal that will hopefully remind him how well he can strike the ball when he relaxes. As always his position was superb, covering teammates at the back and using his energy to get in some really good attacking positions. Went in goal for the second half and will be glad it’s over for another few weeks. Used his feet well but reluctant to use his hands. Development – got your goal but I want you to keep that up, a nice strong sidefoot into the corner of the goal.

Charlie “Pele” – Striker, Right midfield;
Some brilliant and some not so brilliant. Created about 4 goal scoring chances with really good defence splitting passes, ran strongly with the ball and always talks really well. I got the impression felt that he could bulldoze his way through the entire Villa team and tried to do that on too many occasions (he did get through at times but that won’t help his development). Also needs to be more aware of the need to do the defensive side of the game, winning the ball back when we don’t have it is as important as creating when we do have it – always in the right areas though! Development – show the desire to win the ball back when we don’t have it – trust your teammates but make sure you’re helping them.

Henley – Right midfield, Centre;
A good game this week, at times looked like the real Henley was back. Had to play a lot of the game at the back as without Nails and with Callum in goal we lacked the discipline to play that role without him there. Got on the scoresheet though, picked good moments to get forward but was aware of the danger Benfleet would cause on the break. Development – think about body positioning in the tackle, a lot of players are stronger so you need to get your body in the right shape (I’ll help with that).

Thomas – Goal keeper, Right midfield;
First half in goal and had a little wobble at the start but then done really well, coming out bravely and distribution was much better this week. Second half on pitch, again a big improvement, some really good tackling and looked to pass the ball well when you had the chance. Development – be confident in yourself, you’re coming on well so don’t let teammates take the ball of you.

Well done boys, thanks to all those that support the team.
Jon thanks for the video as always it’s much appreciated and makes the write up so much easier

Come on you Ramblers!

12th November 2017 – Leigh Ramblers U8’s Leopards vs Southendian Manor Lions
Callum, Thomas, Henley, Charlie “Pele”, Bobby, Charlie “Nails”,
The Game
Both teams started the game confidently, passing the ball well and looking to use the whole pitch to create space, there was some good football on show in the early exchanges and both teams created chances, for us Pele hit a good shot after a nice interchange of passes that resulted in a good save from their keeper. We were expecting Southedian to hit long balls at us and so asked Henley and Calllum in the wide areas to tuck in a play close to Nails when we didn’t have the ball. Southendian surprised us from the start though by passing the ball around well. That did though mean that our wide players had a bit more space and freedom to support Pele up front. Quite early on we were putting them under really good pressure and forced them to play it back to their keeper, Henley put him under pressure which caused a rushed kick out and Pele was on the defender quickly to keep the pressure up. It worked as a ricochet between their keeper, defender and Pele fell to Henley in the middle of the box and he smashed into an empty net. For once we’d not only started well but scored the first goal of the game!
We kept the momentum up and it wasn’t long before we scored again. The Southendian keeper opting to kick it long but that just fell to Nails – as it seemed to most of the day! he took the ball down with a really good first touch before playing it through for Pele to run on to. Pele held the defender off and drove the ball into the corner past the keeper with an excellent strike.
By now thier keeper was drop-kicking everytime he got the ball, Nails was a rock at the back and won probably 80% of those kicks, sometimes bringing the ball down and sometimes heading it back the way it had come. We were creating chance after chance and dominating play, just didn’t quite manage to take our chances.
Southendian by the end of the first half were looking beaten, highlighted by the fact that they were not only playing it long from the keeper every time he got the ball (despite having some really good players) but the keeper, having the best kick in the team was sent forward to take a couple of freekicks in our half.
John-Paul dealt confidently with anything Southendian did manage to create, most of those chances came from us being a bit slow in possession.
For the second half Henley was back in goal with JP out on the pitch.
As is becoming a custom, we allowed the opposition to start much better than us, we weren’t passing the ball at all at the start of the second half. Henley had already made 2 pretty good saves when they scored their first goal. Some good feet by their attacker before finishing with a good shot. They scored again soon after when we didn’t deal with a hopeful throw forward, allowing the ball to bounce through to their striker who finished really well.
Finally the game settled into more of a rythm, Southendian created chances when they decided to play football, Henley saving one with his face and Callum making a goal line block. But we had woken up again and were passing the ball and creating chances of our own, Pele putting a really good header just wide from a corner amongst them.
We scored again when Bobby recieved a throw in, turned, beat his man running across the edge of the box and tucked the ball home with a good left foot strike.
We could have had another when Callum burst forward through the middle, he done a good job of holding off the defender and a teammate that also wanted the ball (!) before unfortunately pulling his shot just wide.
Another good performance apart from the first 5 minutes of the second half, against an interesting team who looked better when they tried to pass the ball around.

Us
Some really good play today by the boys in what proved to be a difficult game. The tactics of Southendian causing us to play very narrow at times, when we spread out we looked excellent with some good passing moves getting us into really good positions. Unfortunately towards the end the trust went from the team a little bit again, which was frustrating but gives us something to work on!
Whilst we saw the same good football that we always play we also saw some really good solid defending and covering of teammates which was excellent. There are a few areas that we need to work on that have become evident in the last few weeks;
1) turning our back in challenges, it looks like if a challenge is tough we turn our back to the other player. It’s not everyone that does this but it is becoming more noticeable.
2) Trust – I expect to see that from the start to the finish of a game and not just when the game is easy or before we get towards the end of the game.
3) Finishing – so far this season we’ve been the better team in most games but we’ve missed an massive number of chances, it’s good to be creating them but as a team we need to do something other than just boot the ball when we get a sight on goal.

Southendian Manor
(yellow & black) – started the game really well and playing some good football, clearly had some good players and they understood how to spread the play. Sadly they soon started hitting long balls, the keeper either drop kicking or just punting it forward. They are a good side though and caused us problems at times but defensively we can certainly create plenty of chances against them.

The players
PotW – Henley – Left midfield, Goal Keeper
A strong first half from Henley this week, makes really intelligent runs and passes to create opportunities, needs to be a bit stronger at times but continued to get back to himself this week, it would be nice if more of his runs off the ball were rewarded by a pass from teammates. Took the gloves in the second half and made some really good saves, distribution was good. Development – Be stronger to make sure you stay in the area you need to be on the pitch when running with the ball.

Bobby – Centre, Right midfield;
Bob played in a couple of less familiar positions this week, primarily to get him back to trusting and working with his teammates. His attitude was spot on and he took the challenge as we hoped he would. He’s a very good player and very strong in the challenge so we know that he has no problem winning tackles and being first to the numerous long balls that Southendian threw at us. He scored a very good goal, and to take the ball past the defender was absolutely the right option. The first half for Bob was really strong and he played with his head up when in possession, towards the end that changed a bit as we see with a lot of the kids towards the end they decide that they should try to score themselves so it was with Bob but he was much better this week. Well done. Development – to keep being a team player and trusting those around you.

Callum – Left midfield, Right midfield;
Possibly Callum’s quietest game of the season so far (heavy birthday weekend?), he probably found himself covering more than he would ideally like to at the back, he very naturally fills in there when he needs to and that was key a couple of times with one particularly good goal-line block. Drove forward well at times often with the ball at his feet, sometimes passing and moving off to get into a better position. Was unlucky not to score the winner late on when he burst through midfield and shot just wide. Development – dealing with a bouncing ball, not just heading but moving onto it and taking control of it.

Charlie “Nails” – Centre, right midfield;
This game was made for Nails, Southendian were throwing balls forward that Nails was eating up, either winning headers or bringing the ball under control and passing forward. Played some of the game on the right and helped push us forward with some good runs but his best work was undoubtedly his defending, takes up good positions and looks to play the forward into good areas when he can. Another solid game. Development – found himself on the edge of the box a number of times recently and not quite connected with the shots, practice coming onto a ball that’s rolling back to you, keep over it and strike cleanly through the middle of the ball.

Charlie “Pele” – Striker;
What a first half! Loads and loads of pressure on the Southend defence, showing for the ball when we were in possession and played some lovely balls through to supporting teammates. Was bang up for the game today and it showed. I’m not sure if towards the end Charlie was so desperate for the win that he just wanted to take the responsibility himself or if he was so knackered that he stopped seeing the options that were available. A very good game though, excellent touch on the ball all the way through. Development – be aware of the job your teammates need you to do. Attacking, find those positions so that they can get the ball to you. Defending, we have to defend from the front (as you did in the first half), if teammates have come forward to help you attack you can help to cover them defensively at times.

John-Paul – Goal Keeper, Left midfield;
Was in goal for the first half and done a really good job, made some good saves and set-up some good attacks with good distribution. Played most of the second half on the left and worked really hard, not as effective as recent weeks but still done a very good job, works really hard when we don’t have possession and generally makes good decisions when he has the ball. Load of energy and determination from JP this week as we have come to expect from him. Development – has started turning his back in tackles (a few of the boys have), stand up and face the challenge that way you’re in the right position to take advantage while the opponent is laying on the floor wondering what happened.

Well done boys, thanks to all those that support the team – keep the pictures and video coming, it’s much appreciated.
Come on you Ramblers!

5th November 2017 – Mornington Lions vs Leigh Ramblers U8’s Leopards
Callum, Thomas, John-Paul, Henley, Charlie “Pele”, Bobby, Charlie “Nails”,
The Game
Another really good performance from the boys this week. The conditions were horrendous and the opposition a decent team. Again we looked really good in possession, every single player is capable of going past a player, every single player is capable of picking a really good pass. Most pleasingly the boys play as a team, so much so that it’s really noticeable when poor decisions are made by any of the team. Defensively we have players with really big hearts and strong determination, we defended from the front really well, putting Mornington under pressure high up the pitch. Unlike almost every other team we come up against we play the ball out from defence, at times running it out and at others passing out but either way it looks bloody impressive.
So the game started and as usual we were generous in giving Mornington a 2 goal head start, they scored really early when it looked like we hadn’t even started, there was some poor defending before the ball bounced in off our defender. Very unfortunate but as a team we don’t let that get to us. Some very good individual skill from one of the Mornington players saw them score again.
It’s at this stage where the management need to earn their money – fortunately for us the boys don’t need much managing and they turned the game around on their own.
We opened our account with an excellent volley by Bob following Henley’s corner, a really good goal following a good breakaway by us. The rest of the half was played out in an absolute downpour but both teams continued to contribute to a really good half of football. Pele in goal was doing a really good job, coming out to clear any through balls and controlling his area well. Nails and Callum were doing an excellent job defensively, Thomas, JP and Henley covering the ground, supporting defensively and adding a lot of creativity going forwards. Bob up front was constantly putting the Mornington defence under pressure and causing problems when in possession.
For the second half Nails was in goal. The second half started as quickly for us as the first half started for them, Pele making an instant impact on the pitch as he beat his man and got a shot away, that was well saved but Henley followed in to tuck it home.
Then the moment of the match, Nail made a good save from Callum who was tracking back on a long ball forward. He quickly through the ball to JP, just inside his own half, he took the ball past the first defender and made good progress down the line before cutting inside Morningtons last defender, knocked the ball out of his feet and bent a shot from outside the area into the top far corner. A real headline grabbing moment from JP, summed up by the commentator; “what a goal, what a goal……oi JP!!!!!”
A bit of excitement followed, a good save by Nails, not textbook using that to save the ball with but they all count! He had to take a few minutes off the pitch and Henley volunteered to take over the gloves while he was off. Wasn’t for long though and Nails was soon back in goal.
Soon after some good pressure just inside our half saw Pele dispossessed before Henley came across to sweep up the danger and run the ball into the wide position, Pele hadn’t stood still though and was in a great position for Henley to roll the ball inside to, Pele then carried the ball forward strongly before finishing confidently.
Next it was Bob’s turn, again an early throw from Nails and Bob was away down the wing, he beat the defender and started to cut in, everyone was expecting the pull back to an unmarked Pele but Bob took it on himself and finished at the near post.
A very satisfying game from us, and credit to Mornington who also played some excellent football in what was a very close game.
Onwards and upwards for us.

Us
All in all an excellent game, still lots to work on, still need to improve the trust at times, it’s really important that the boys keep playing like kids (without the pressure of being results driven) and not like an adult team, to my mind that will allow them to develop as well as they can and learn to make the best options without fear of something not coming off. Defensively too many players have started turning their backs in challenges.
Overall, we’re a very good side, the boys do things every week that make us smile, that impress us and that show how good they are. Long may it continue.

Mornington
(blue) – A good side, 2 particularly good players often in the two wide positions. They are relied on heavily to make the side tick. Defensively strong, their main man at the back is a tough tackler, happy to play the ball safe and get back into position, holds his position without looking to move forward. A good game and well played, competitive but played in a really good spirit.

The players
PotW – none given this week, everyone deserved it and we didn’t have the trophy.

Bobby – Striker, Right midfield;
Bob is without doubt a very talented player and an absolute menace in front of goal, our player of the year last year and largely for the way he listened and expanded his style of play. I’m concerned that as well as Bob is playing he’s not playing as part of the team. Loads of goals but he’s stopped looking to play teammates in when they’re often the better option and not trusting teammates to do their jobs. Development – A cracking player but needs to also appreciate those around him.

Callum – Right midfield, Centre;
Once again Mr dependable, covered in the central role when Charlie went in goal, that position is really key to the way we play and although it doesn’t play to Callum’s ability to get up and down the pitch constantly and consistently he has shown incredible maturity and positional sense. He’s added to that a steal and determination that sees him win battles that previously he might have lost. Another really good game. Development – finishing, try picking a spot and passing the ball into that spot, don’t consider it shooting consider it passing.

Charlie “Nails” – Centre, Goal keeper;
I always worry about Nails the weeks he has to go in goal and he started the game like he had something else on his mind. That said after a couple of minutes on the sidelines he was back to his usual self. A couple of things that Nails is doing really well at the moment were shown in this game, 1) his game awareness – he understands really well what the best outcome for the team is in most situations, should he let the ball run out of play, should he turn the player, should he put the ball out of play. 2) taking responsibility, Nails is enjoying going forward at times during a game but he still takes responsibility for defending, he does that very naturally and it’s as important as being the name on the scoresheet – well done Nails. Development – accept that sometimes things don’t go as you want on the pitch – keep your head up and don’t let it affect you (talking mainly about taking his turn in goal!).

Charlie “Pele” – Goal keeper, Striker;
In goal for the first half and done a really good job, was confident to come out and defend his area, gave the ball out to teammates feet well to set us up for attacks. 2nd half played most of it up front, continued his ongoing improvements. It was quite a physical game and that seemed to suit Charlie, more willing this week to pressure the defence when they had possession and forced them into some mistakes to give us good ball in the attacking third. Strong running with the ball but pleasingly for me some really good movement off the ball, I asked Pele to make sure he didn’t give up on a ball if the opposition beat him at first, there were a few occasions when he worked really hard to get back and make a good tackle. Development – continue working on the movement, if a team mate has the ball where can you be to be the best outlet option.

Henley – Right midfield, Left midfield;
A better game this week, I deliberately didn’t play Henley at the back this week as I felt he needed to get some confidence back, delivered on the areas of the game I asked him to concentrate on. Much better passing and movement this week than last, some excellent defensive work including another clearance of the line. Well done. Development – continue thinking about the best option when in possession, should you run with it or shift it and go for the return?

John-Paul – Left midfield;
Another good all round performance from JP capped by an absolute wonder goal. Worked really hard to ensure he done a really good job, not allowing Mornington and time or space when they were in possession and getting us moving forward with purpose when we were in possession. As always JP plays with passion and determination but importantly also works hard on weaker areas, he never shirks from using his left foot when he needs to and the result is that his left foot is already looking natural, it’s small things like that which remind me that at this end we’re developing players for the future, JP is putting in place skills that will make him a really good footballer. Some of the things he does are already years ahead of where most players this age are at. Development – being more vocal when you’re in good positions will ensure you’re a key attacking player for longer periods of the game, let’s hear you more.

Thomas – Left midfield, Right midfield;
Some really good stuff from Thomas again this week. Always gets in good positions to receive the ball from team mates and works really hard defensively. Development – I want to string the good things together, if you win a good tackle, what can you do next with the ball? If you make a good pass, can you then get into position to get the ball back from a team mate? Start trying to thing of the next thing and not just the immediate.

Well done boys, thanks to all those that support the team – keep the pictures and video coming, it’s much appreciated.
Come on you Ramblers!

29th October 2017 – Leigh Ramblers U8’s Leopards vs Leighwood Tigers
Callum, Thomas, Henley, Charlie “Pele”, Bobby, Charlie “Nails”,
The Game
A very good performance from the boys this week, some excellent football played right from the first minute. Some excellent individual performances with a number of players having their best game of the season so far. Watching the video back this week was a pleasure. Another very tough team proved what a good standard we’re playing and to again be easily a match for them continues to highlight the abilitiy and development the boys are showing.
Both teams made a good start, looking to get the ball down and pass it around, we looked more threatening when in possession but it was a good open start. It was though Leighwood that had the first clear cut chance when the ball looped over Bobby in goal from a wide position, fortuantely Bob was able to get back and claw it away before it crossed the line.
After training on Saturday I told Nails that I had a fiver on him to score the first goal, he didn’t belive me but he did have the confidence to push forward for our first corner of the game. Henley played the ball back to him on the edge of the box, Charlie beat the defence before smashing the ball into the bottom corner – we even celebrated it a little bit!
The first half played out in a similar fashion, both teams knocked the ball about well and defended really well. Bobby in goal came out to defend his area, that along with the defensive performance meant that Leighwood failed to really create any clear cut chances. Going forward we looked very threatening, some of the football we played carved Leighwood open and it was a shame we didn’t convert more of the chances we made – but making those chances in the way we did is key to us at this stage of our development.
For the second half Thomas took the gloves meaning we had Bobby back outfield. At half time we told the boys that Leighwood would start really quickly in the second half, we would need to be solid and move the ball quickly before the game would settle into it’s rythm again.
That’s pretty much how it went, Leighwood were really fired up for the start of the second half. We were a bit slow in possession and as a resutl failed to keep hold of the ball long enough to really use it. We paid heavily for that allowing Leighwood to score a few early goals. On top of that we were relying on Thomas to come out and make some excellent saves to deny them any more goals. (Nails started the second half as sub, that might not have been our greatest decision!)
As the half wore on we settled back into the game and again started gaining more of the ball and creating more chances, it was certainly a half for the attackers rather than the defenders! Pele got a great goal after an excellent header from JP to put him through. Bob scored an outstanding solo goal. We missed a penalty which was outstandingly saved by the keeper. Then we committed defensive suicide with three goals coming from our own mistakes.
Overall there were loads of positives with us being the better team for two thirds of the game and Leighwood dominating us for the other third.
Highlights –
Nails opening the scoring for us – he doesn’t get many but he’s more than capable.
JP’s header for Pele’s goal.
Some of the talking from a number of the boys.
Thomas’ bravery in a couple of saves he made.
Bob chaging our of goal in the first half to deny the opposition any time or space.
Callum deciding that he wasn’t going to get pushed off the ball and really giving it to the Leighwood player that tried to out-muscle him.
WIth the exception of the first half of the second half our performance was the biggest highlight of the day for me, I thought we played really well again.

Us
We were excellent again today. Good decisions being made all over the pitch by the boys, Commitment and awareness when defending, imagination and pace when attacking – it was good to see. A couple of things were particularly pleasing, things where we’ve asked for specifics; one is communication, it’s unusual for kids this age to talk during a game, so to hear them giving instructions to each other “man on”, “run with it”, “pick him up” etc was really good – we’ve got an intelligent team who’s understanding of the game is developing at a tremendous rate (I’m talking football intelligence, I wouldn’t want to comment on their academic abilities!). Another specific was the way we line up for goal kicks and kick-off – both ours and the other teams, we spent about 3 minutes on that at training on Saturday which was no-where near long enough yet the boys were aware of what they should be doing right the way through the game. As individuals the boys are showing really well this season, there were a few that fell away slightly towards the end of last season but all of them are looking very good this year. It’s pleasing that despite not getting the results we’ve deserved this season the boys are playing with loads of confidence. Credit to all the adults involved for that it means we’re focussing on the performance and not the result which is the right thing at this age.

Leighwood
red & white – Leighwood have a very good team, they moved the ball about confidently. They suffer from the same problem we have in that they don’t have a keeper, their best player had to go in goal for the second half. Strong defensively both in terms of their shape and their individual players, very quick in the wide areas.

The players
PotW – Thomas – left midfield, Goalkeeper
PotW this week and deservedly so. Progress has been really good, particularly in terms of learning about how the game is played, his pitch awareness is better and better every gamme and training with us now is really helping him get to know the other lads. Volunteered to go in goal again in the second half and is doing well there. Comes out bravely and is willing to dive at peoples feet to win the ball, a physically strong and determined lad both in goal and on pitch. Development – distribution, both with hands and feet, make it quick, firm and along the floor where possible.

Bobby – Goalkeeper, Right midfield;
Started in goal and was excellent, willing to come out of his area to clear any danger and prevent any through balls, made some good saves. Second half Bob played most of it on the right, some excellent ability on the ball and the same determination to win the ball that we’ve come to expect from Bob. Seemed to have gone back some months in terms of playing with his brain – chasing the ball all over the pitch and reluctant to pass. Scored a brilliant solo goal but passed up the opportunity to set up teammates a number of times. Development – team work, lets get back to what made you player of the year last year.

Callum – Left midfield, Right midfield;
Superb, another really really strong performance from Cal, patrols the wide midfield area incredibly well, knows when to cover teammates and when to push on, is developing a little bit more of a selfish streak which he needed – not to the detriment of the team just showing the confidence to take charge of the ball and the situation. Development – don’t dive in when you shut players down, get there then jockey.

Charlie “Nails” – Centre;
Excellent again, rock solid defensively, carried the ball out confidently when the time was right to, keeps the ball moving really well when in possession weather that’s with a pass or running with the ball. Our ball playing centre half at the moment almost reminds me of Frank LeBeouf at times. Development – a minor point but try to be aware of what’s around you when the ball is coming to you, a couple of times you booted it first time when you could have controlled it.

Charlie “Pele” – Striker;
His best game yet for us, put good pressure on the Leighwood defense, held the ball up well and linked up really well with supporting players – a few really good one-twos. After taking a fould mouthed ear-bashing from the coach really ran strongly with the ball and chose the right times to shoot. Always talks well to teammates giving excellent encouragement. Development – be aware of where teammates are, if one is out of position you sometimes need to cover in for them to win the ball back.

John-Paul – Right midfield, Left midfield;
A good comeback for JP after a couple of weeks off. Worked really hard to win the ball back when we weren’t in possession, played some fantastic passes going forward – more importantly even if the pass didn’t come off he saw the right option and attempted it, a very good all round game. Development – check your shoulder so that you’re aware of where the opposition and teammates are, that will allow you to make an even better first touch or take up a better position.

Henley – Right midfield, Centre;
What to say, my little man has lost his mojo a bit in recent weeks, he seems to be a bit confused all of a sudden and the result is that he’s not playing his usual game. We’ll get it back soon enough I’m confident of that. Development – Start moving the ball quickly again so that you don’t get caught in possession – and enjoy the game!

Well done boys, thanks to all those that support the team – keep the pictures and video coming, it’s much appreciated.
Come on you Ramblers!

22nd October 2017 – Forest Glade Lions vs Leigh Ramblers U8’s Leopards
Callum, Thomas, Henley, Charlie “Pele”, Bobby, Charlie “Nails”,
The Game
A disappointing performance today from the boys, the first half especially wasn’t at the standard the boys have set themselves – although saying that watching the video was better than I remembered the performance being!
We started really quickly, from kick off we saw some good movement, a good ball into Bobby who beat one defender and held off a second before smashing the ball home 1 up in the first minute and a good goal it was.. I’m worried that we don’t celebrate goals any more though.
Even after the goal we were playing pretty well, Nails is back to his solid best at the back and the wide players were defending well as a tight 3, in possession we were getting good movement up front and moving the ball well. We created a couple more good chances before Forest Glade really got a hold of the ball. During the first half of the first half (!!!) we were making really good decisions in the final third of the pitch, some excellent passes across the box from the bye-line, we were really unlucky not to convert them but at least we were making the right choices. It’s really important that we keep doing that and trusting that our teammates will get it right and we don’t start trying to do too much as individuals.
As we missed a few good chances our defensive shape started to go a bit, at times everyone trying to push forward leaving us exposed at the back. Add to that Forest Glade have really good movement off the ball, they were regularly getting in behind us. Callum was in goal in the first half and done a good job making some important saves but was asked to do a bit too much for my liking. Things were getting worse as the half wore on, there was some lazy play both deffensively – not tracking runners or forgetting that we have a position on the pitch and offensively not making the right runs off the ball and not releasing the ball quickly enough. Football is all about decisions and generally I think as a team we play really intelligently making good decisions, for a large part of the first half we weren’t doing that.
It was Bobby’s turn in goal in the second half but the feeling from both coaches and players was that we were capable of putting in a really good second half performance and that Bob would be important in that. The result was that I asked if anyone else wanted to take the gloves – huge credit to Thomas who volunteered and done an excellent job as well. So we went out for the second half, we’d been honest with the boys and they were up for the battle.
We started the second half in much the same fashion as the first, pushing forward, playing some good football and importantly making really good decisions that led to some good chances. Unfortunately we didn’t seem to have our shooting boots on, whereas Forest Glade did.
Similar to the first half, when we weren’t getting the rewards we probably deserved, the decision making, trust and football went down-hill – it took a lot longer in the second half for that to happen that it did in the first but it still happened.
Callum did get his first goal of the season in the second half and right up to the end we were creating good chances. Thomas played well in goal making some really good saves.
Highlights –
Nails at the back playing confidently as though he believes how good he is, carrying the ball out when it was the right thing to do.
The speed and decisiveness of the first attack that led to Bob’s goal, they didn’t know what had hit them.
The impact Callum had in the second half and being rewarded with a goal.
Henley turning their best player inside out in our defensive half before releasing Pele.
Pele’s last ditch tackle in the first half, the effort to get back into position and to prevent the player getting his shot away.
Thomas in general, started and played well in the first half but then to take the gloves for the second half and to put in such a good performance

Us
My least favourite performance for a long time, but that view isn’t backed up by the video which showed that we had stacks of possession and created lots of good chances. The poor play/decisions coming without doubt from the frustration of missed chances.
I don’t know what to say about this game, maybe I sometimes expect too much.
On top of that the conditions were very harsh on the boys and to try and pass the ball in those conditions is a very good thing and something I’m proud of each player for because they all contributed to that

Forest Glade
(Yellow/Blue) – Forest Glade merged with Red Wing during the summer and that made two already good teams even stronger, they have good players in every position and mixing their players up doesn’t alter hwo strong they are. Willing to stand up to challenges (apart from the 2 that dared to team up on Nails – They’re both okay by the way), good movement and playing some good football. A team I like playing!

The players
Bobby – Striker, Right midfield;
Another good performance from Bob, a constant threat to the Forest Glade defence and tracked back really well particularly when playing in midfield. Got frustrated by teammates missing chances after a really good set-up but needs to keep doing the right things and not worry about other players that might make mistakes. Development – trust, do the right thing and let other players do their thing, you’ll save energy to be even more explosive when it the right time for you to do your stuff.

Callum – Callum, Right midfield;
Done really well in goal, coming out strongly and making some good saves. 2nd half was very good, strong in possession – demanding that teammates moved out of the way at one point which was excellent. As always defending and awareness was excellent. Development – keep trying to talk to teammates, you’ve started doing it and the things you say are right, just be a bit louder.

Charlie “Nails” – Centre, Right midfield;
A very good game again, back to being a rock in defence and now really making good decisions on when to carry the ball out and when to pass it forwards, rarely gives the ball away even in really tight spaces. Development – don’t turn away from the challenge when you’re tackling, face the way you’re playing.

Charlie “Pele” – Striker, Centre;
Showed falshes of brilliance this week, always does well but there were moments that happened in this game that really showed what Pele is going to bring to the team. Strong in the tackle and running with the ball. Development – mobility, look for the spaces to get into, defenders are getting better and smarter, we have to do the same thing.

Henley – Left midfield, Centre;
A better game again this week for Henley, showing real character at the moment to keep trying to do the right things, makes good decisions regularly. Battled really hard defensively and played some good football to turn defence into attack. Development – Keep enjoying the game and trying the right things the rest will happen.

Thomas – Right midfield, Goal keeper;
Started the game on the right and was completley committed, never let’s anyone get the better of him no matter how good a player he’s up against, continues to learn match awareness. Massive credit due for going in goal for the second half and done a really good job in goal. Development – distribution, practice moving the ball quickly and firmly to teammates.

Well done boys, thanks to all those that support the team – keep the pictures and video coming, it’s much appreciated.
Come on you Ramblers!

 

15th October 2017 – Leigh Ramblers U8’s Leopards vs Junior Red Star Lions
Thomas, Henley, Charlie “Pele”, Bobby, Callum, Charlie “Nails”,
The Game
A really really good performance against a very good team that everyone expects to roll over all opposition this season.
I changed the way we set up this week to counter what I knew would be a strong team, our wide players were asked to play much closer to the central defender with the attacker being asked to pressure Red Star on his own until they got into dangerous positions. I was happy to concede possession to make us more difficult to break down in dangerous areas. The boys carried out those instructions really well and once again i’m left with the feeling that having a goalkeeper could have had a massive impact and not because of the goalkeepers we used but because they weren’t on the pitch.
The attacking role was switched between Charlie Pele and Bob-Star, both providing a really good outlet for the defenders, holding the ball up and bringing other into the game. I don’t think either of them believed me when I told them how hard they would need to work but both done superbly. Behind them Nails played most of the game centrally and was immense, not only solid but his talking and organising had a massive impact on the way we defended as a team. Callum, Henley and Thomas in the wider areas were the key, could they understand and remember the role i asked them to play? They did without any shadow of doubt. All three of them played an excellent game, giving support going forwards at the right times and holding position when they needed to. The tackling and tracking was top notch and when we were in possession all of the boys used it properly, not rushing or panicking but bringing the ball out and setting us up with good chances.
Highlights –
The maturity of the boys to be able to set up in a different way and match a team like Red Star was excellent. One of the other team during the second half commenting to his coach that; “this is a well tough game”.
Thomas getting the better of his man – faced with one of the best opponents we’ve faced Thomas wouldn’t let him go, eventually not only taking the ball off him but turning away and putting a really good ball in-field to Pele. Quick development!
Nails’ assist – in his own area, the first to a loose ball, puts an outside of the foot pass into Callum’s pass, his perfectly weighted through ball and Bob finished confidently. An excellent goal started by a magic ball out from defence.
Pele – calling for the ball into space when Callum had it, he ran a long way to give a good option, told Cal exactly what he wanted from him and ran onto the ball – a highlight because it’s one of the things we’ve been working on with Pele.
Bob terrorising anyone that’s put in front of him – on the day it happened to be Red Star and on one occasion he chased the ball down from the left to the right then back towards our goal, he won the ball skinned the defender and hit a good shot.
Callum’s strength – all day long but in one particular battle he found himself the wrong side of the attacker but fought his way back into the tussle, the look on his face told me he wasn’t going to lose out and the other lad was left whining on the floor!
Silks flying save – some brilliant football from Red Start opened us up and their forward took aim from the left side of the pitch, he connected perfectly with the shot and had pretty much scored a goal of the season contender. That was until Henley flew through the air like a salmon and turned it round the post – he’s not a keeper!
Jacko’s disbelief – on at least 3 occasions I heard the ref say to the players; “oh leave it out….” such was the level of skill on display.

Us
An excellent team effort.
A very different sort of game from us, one that saw us playing far more conservatively than usual deliberately to deny chances to the opposition.
This was not tactics that I really like for kids this age, I think it’s important that they learn to be expressive in their football but it was a really good lesson for the boys, think about the other side of the game, can we work as a solid unit, can we sacrifice chasing an individual goal for the good of the team. There were loads of good lessons from the game yesterday and a number of them that we should be using every week, just blending them in with our usual game – that’s both for individuals and as a team.
I was very proud of that performance and look forward to taking the confidence it gave us into the next game against another good side.

Junior Red Star
(White) – as expected Red Star are an excellent team, each of their players very capable in their own right but also all understood their role within the team. They passed the ball about confidently and seemed to really enjoy the battle we gave them.

The players
Player of the week: Callum
Callum – Left midfield;
PotW – Callum has been excellent all season and that continued this week. Training was spot on, listening when we were talking and putting effort into every part of the session. During the game Callum worked really well with Nails and Henley to limit the chances Red Star could create. Defensively he was excellent, really strong, intelligent positioning. Most importantly though when we had the ball, we couldn’t afford to be giving it away cheaply and Callum looked after the ball really well, never waisting possession. Excellent performance. Development – still that bouncing ball, it caught you out a couple of times.
Bobby – Striker, Right midfield;
Superb from Bob today, played most of the game up front and was asked to work really hard pretty much on his own, he done that really well constantly putting pressure on the Red Star defence. Caused them problems when we were in possession, either running at them and creating chances for himself or holding the ball up strongly waiting for support from teammates. Second half Bob took some time on the right, that was to use his energy and give us some more support when we attacked, he done that well but made sure he was aware of his defensive duties as well. A very good performance after a disappointing training session. Development – training has to happen to ensure we keep improving in the right areas, embrace it and keep improving, you’re going to be some player but you’ve got to work and keep learning.
Charlie “Nails” – Centre;
What a game! Another one that was excellent in training, really paying attention and delivered a top top performance on the pitch. Everything from organising teammates, big tackles, excellent positioning and some awesome decisions to move the ball from defence to attack, including that outside of the boot pass and a couple of really powerful runs with the ball. Well done. Development – always train like you did this week and keep up the volume on the pitch it was really important to have you talking to teammates.

Charlie “Pele” – Striker, Centre;
Another improvement for Pele, played up top and at the back and done both jobs really well. Going forward there were times when he held the ball and kept defenders at bay in a way you’d expect someone much older to play, strong and clever. Defensively, he did and can do really well in that central role with two supporting closely. Very good in the tackle and read the play really well. Movement and running without the ball were much better this week. Development – keep working on what to do off the ball, get into the right positions to be available for the pass from teammates.

Henley – Right midfield, Goal keeper;
A really good first half, played a clever role making sure he was doing the defensive work that was so important but tried to support and create when in possession. I asked Henley to make sure he wasn’t getting caught in possession this week – make decisions a bit quicker and he done that, still trying to beat his man at times but the right times. Played some great passes into the forward and moved to support. 2nd half in goal and made a few really good saves, came out quickly but distribution wasn’t as good as it could have been. Development – keep working on making the right decision when in possession.

Thomas – Goal keeper, Left Midfield;
Another really good development game for Thomas. Took his turn in goal in the first half which he didn’t enjoy, done well though and it was good to see the boys so supportive at half time. Came out well a few times and distribution was good. 2nd hafl, didn’t play as much as I would have liked because of the quality of the opposition but came on and done a really good job on the left. As always really tenacious when defending and covers the ground well to support in attack. Is really learning the flow of the game. Development – keep working on moving that ball out of your feet to deliver a good strong pass.

Well done boys, thanks to Paul for do a fantastic job as ref and thanks to all those that support the team – keep the pictures and video coming, it’s much appreciated.
Come on you Ramblers!

8th October 2017 – Canvey Island Lions vs Leigh Ramblers U8’s Leopards
Charlie “Pele”, John-Paul, Bobby, Callum, Charlie “Nails”, Henley, John-Paul, Thomas
The Game
What a game! As the Canvey manager said, it had everything; really good football, plenty of mistakes to learn from (more from them than us!), goals, saves, tackles, passes. Top entertainment.
We finally got the win we deserved and scored a bucket full of goals in the process – slightly concerning was the number of goals we conceded but we’ll work on those parts of the game.
It was a surprise the game ended so close as I felt we were considerably better than Canvey on the day, they had a very good keeper who made a number of good saves desipite us scoring 10.
Although we had the better of the game there were good battles being had all over the pitch, some we had the better of others we didn’t. Against a team that Canvey have put together to be the showpiece of their new-look youth section, they would have exepcted to beat us so that makes the win and the performance even better. In terms of progress for us it was another step forward in performances with us improving each game this season.
The boys rightly looked like they enjoyed the game from start to finish – it was strange not to see the goals celebrated more by the lads – maybe they new how many we would score.
Highlights –
our first goal, great break from defence by Henley, two on one, Henley plays it past the defender for Bob to run onto who takes a touch before smashing it past the keeper.
Calumn’s lung busting run forward after a strong tackle on the edge of our box, culminating in a rolled ball across the face of goal for Henley to tap home.
JP turning defence to attack – chasing back almost the length of the pitch to put in a strong tackle before an excellent turn leaves the Canvey player for dead, a few strides forward then a good cross field ball.
Charlie Pele – flying across to his right to pull off a one handed save.
The 2 Charlies combining to create a goal – Nails with a strong tackle and a really good through ball, Pele batters his way through 3 defenders and finishes really well.
Charlie Nails – covering at the back then striding confidently forward into a wide position before hitting a cross field pass.
Thomas’s drag back – irritating the attacker into submission to dispossess him, before dragging the ball back and into space for the pass.
Keepers – both keepers playing on the edge of the box to prevent the attacker from having time to shoot, then passing confidently to start an attack.

Us
Improvement again this week, new players looking more at home every week. Both goalkeepers done a really good job, both coming out quickly to clear danger often before the strikers got their shots away.
Going forward we played some excellent football, there were times when the boys could have created more by making their decisions a little bit quicker but generally speaking the right decision was made far more often than not – a special mention here to Bobby, scored 6 goals but still brought teammates into the game a lot more which is what we asked for.
Defensively, we looked solid for large parts of the game – a few of the goals were balls rolled or kicked out directly to the striker (or the striker reacted quickest!), there’s not much the defensive unti can do about that. Where we can improve is to make sure 1 player covers all the time, it doesn’t have to be the central player but one off the boys needs to cover. We’re pretty good at that but the boys can lose their way a little bit as they go in search of a goal (usually in the second half).
Every single player today showed good intelligence when in possession, everyone showed the skills and confidence to beat a player and the ability to pick a pass. Every single player also showed a willingness and desire to work really hard to win the ball back.
Well done today boys.

Canvey Island
(yellow) – a good team with good individual players, they’re a new team and that showed in patches but their manager is doing all the right things and getting them to play the right way. They put pressure on high up the pitch and were willing to take a shot on rather than try to walk the ball in. The Canvey goalkeeper was excellent making loads of really good saves despite conceding 10 goals, the fact that he started drop kicking the ball every time he got it in the second half shows how dominant we were despite the close score line. I’ll look forward to playing them again.

The players
Player of the week: John-Paul

John-Paul – Striker, Goal keeper;
POTW – JP was excellent today, delivered what we asked for, determined both on and off the ball. We talked to JP about the need to move the game from defence to attack quickly, making decisions really quickly when in possession. He was really good with that today. Some excellent tracking, stong running with the ball and picked up some really good positions. As always a spot on attitude from JP which is a good example to everyone around him – supportive of teammates and plays for the team rather than himself. Development – believe in yourself, don’t stand off if you know it should be your ball, take charge and be vocal.

Bobby – Striker, Right midfield;
Another really good performance from Bobby, lethal in front of goal, playing with his head up more than the first game and bringing others into the game when he was up front. In midfield he worked really hard to keep his position particularly when we didn’t have the ball, covered and tackled well. It’s not very often players can say they scored 6 in a game! Development – Needs to keep working on trust and using teammates, was good today but still room for improvement.

Callum – Right Midfield, Centre;
Another solid performance from Callum, seems to be really growing in confidence with every tackle he makes, every time he muscles an opponent off the ball he grows in stature. Plays really well wide or at the back and makes good decisions all over the pitch – never does too much on the ball though is getting more confident at running at people. Development – 2 things this week – 1) face-on challenges, don’t turn away. 2) believe in yourself in and around the other teams penalty area – you can hit a ball really well, let it happen.

Charlie “Nails” – Centre, Right Midfield;
Strangely I actually thought Charlie played better on the right, only strange because he was so strong in the central role. Back to his solid best in the tackle, carried the ball out of danger really well a number of times and played some excellent forward passes to set teammates away. Development – be louder when you’re in a good position, you’re good enough to command the ball, the only person that struggles to belive that is you!

Charlie “Pele” – Goal keeper, Striker;
Started in goal and done really well there, cleared the danger a few times coming out and making a really good pass to turn defence to attack. 2nd half Charlie played upfront and wide, doing both jobs really well. We had a glimps of what I imagine was last seasons Charlie when he just bulldozed his way through the Canvey defence to score – grabbing his first 2 league goals for us. Makes good decisions on the ball when we’re attacking. Development – still need more workrate, particularly when he’s out of possession.

Henley – Left midfield, Striker;
A good game from Henley, as always looking to create when in possession – picks up intelligent positions both defensively and offensively. Showed good leadership both in organising teammates and leading by example. Caught in possession a few times, possibly trying to do too much. Development – Decision making – started holding on to the ball too long on occasions, it’s good to be able to run with the ball but decide when it’s right too and when to make a good pass.

Thomas – Left Midfield, Right midfield;
Thomas continued his progression well today, really tenacious when defending and showed some good ability to create space for himself after winning the ball before making good passes. Always thinks about his position and is finding the right areas to be in with increasing frequency. Development – passing, long and short passing to find his target.

Well done boys and thanks to all those that support them – keep the pictures and video coming, it’s much appreciated.
Come on you Ramblers!

1st October 2017 – Leigh Ramblers U8’s Leopards vs Ashingdon Youth Lions
Charlie “Nails”, Bobby, Callum, Charlie “Pele”, Henley, John-Paul, Thomas
The Game
The final result as with last week was a bit of a mystery, but as we always say; as long as the boys are trying to do the right thing we’ll be happy.
The first half saw Charlie in goal and to be fair he really wasn’t well, that said I thought he done really well, coming out quickly a couple of times to prevent chances. We started the game far the better side, we were passing the ball well, looking strong in possession and defensively. Pretty quickly it was evident that we would have a lot of the play but Ashingdon looked strong and dangerous on the break. That was pretty much the story of the first half. They managed to grab a couple of goals, one of them due to niaive defending – something that we haven’t worked on with the boys yet is passing the player on and holding a covering positions – sounds too advanced for 8 year olds but ours will get it! During our good spells of possession there were lots of chances for us, good crosses that were just out of reach of teammates, shots just wide, and balls that wouldn’t quite drop. As well as Ashingdon’s keeper making a few decent blocks. Things were tight at half time, Bob had grabbed a couple of good goals for us.
Unfortunately it was Bobby that had to go in goal for the second half (unfortunate because he was playing so well out on pitch and not because he does anything wrong in goal). Sure enough he played well in goal – and seemed to quite enjoy it at times. We continued to have the majority of possession in the second half, we’d lost a little bit of cutting edge that Bob’s work-rate off the ball had given us but the football continued to be a high quality. Callum had to come off midway through the second half and with Charlie “Nails” not well enough to play we found ourselves down to the bare-bones. On top of that Thomas was making his league debut, he done a really good job for his first game and we’re looking forward to him developing quickly once he starts training with the boys.
In that second half we had a penalty well saved, hit the cross-bar and the post and just couldn’t quite force the ball home, pleasingly though we continued to do the right thing. Not the result we’d have liked but a better team performance.

Us
Better this week, we played the football that we played better football and for the whole game. Moving the ball well, regularly making the right decision and not trying to do it on our own.
There are still things to work on, we need to improve our mobilitiy around the pitch and being in the right place to recieve the ball and to really help the player in possession.
Defensively the covering of the central player when he went forward was really good, we just need to make sure the wide players are picking up the right attacker when the other team come forward.
We need to be quicker, we need to move the ball much quicker, too many players want to stand still with the ball and that makes us easy to defend against.
We need to learn to deal better with teams that press quickly, we know how to do it we just need to be a little bit more confident, everyone of the boys is more than capable and shows it often enough, but in this game we got caught a few times.
We were hurt today again by having to put a good outfield player in goal but also by the number of players that for one reason or another weren’t quite with it.
Overall well done to the boys, we looked like a good team again this week and created loads of chances particularly in the first half – lots to work on but lots of positives.

Ashingdon
(yellow and blue) – a decent team with a few good players, didn’t play football the right way though. Very conservative; put the ball out when defending, play it long and every throw-in goes down the line.
Big lad at the back was a decent player as was the centre forward, other than that strong players that could crack a ball. The keeper was decent.
Manager argued about every decision.
As a team they pressed the ball really quickly which makes them difficult to play against.

The players:
Player of the week: Bob-Star

Bobby – Striker, Goal Keeper;
POTW – excellent today, we’ve spoken to Bob about his attitude a bit recently and had a really good chat at training about what he needs to be doing on the pitch. He delivered superbly – running with the ball when it was the right option, shooting when that was right and passing when that was right. Done well in goal in the second half but we missed him on pitch. Development – I just want to see today’s Bob back on a consistent basis.

Callum – Right Midfield, Centre;
Continued his excellent start to the season, full of intelligent running till he had to come off late on. Great running with the ball, showed excellent strength and determination defensively and covered really well when Henley moved out of defence. Another really good game. Development – getting enough control on the ball when running with it to deliver a strong pass.

Charlie “Nails” – Goal Keeper;
Bless him! Really not well but still managed to do a really good job in goal.

Charlie “Pele” – Right midfield, Striker;
Working really hard to get used to the way we play, always upbeat and positive which is having a massive effect on his teammates. Good determination both forwards and defensively and was unlucky not to score after getting in some good positions. Developement – movement off the ball, especially up front we need Charlie to hit the chanels to give a good option for the player in possession.

Henley – Centre, Right midfield;
A better game this week than last, started at the back and was tough in the tackle and carried the ball forward well when the opportunity arose. Got caught in possession a few times – partly due to a lack of options. Wants to play further forward but still smart enough to play the role we asked of him. Development – good players will put you under pressure quicker, make decisions a bit quicker so that you don’t get caught in possession.

John-Paul – Left midfield;
JP was knackered, he looked like a zombie when he got there (family things happen though so if someone’s out the night before we just have to deal with it), that said in patches he was very good and done some really good things, just struggled to sustain it throughout the game. Development – got to be quicker on the ball, don’t stand still it makes it too easy to defend against, even if you beat your man the rest of the other team have got back in position to cover.

Thomas – Right midfield
Thomas’ first proper game for us, well done. It’s clear that Thomas hasn’t played the football that the rest of them have but he’s determined, willing to listen and learn and enthusiastic, the rest he’ll learn. Development – passing, practice getting the ball out of your feet and giving a strong pass.

Well done boys and thanks to all those that support them – keep the pictures and video coming, it’s much appreciated.
Come on you Ramblers!

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