The under 14s started their league campaign today after a few weeks of postponements which added to the nerves of all the players who had been looking forward to starting a brand new season at a new club. You could feel the nerves all the way through warm up, initially due to it being our first game, however also to do with the fact that our opponents have started their season off fantastically, with one game especially being a high score win so we knew we had our work cut out.
After a huge downpour an hour before, the sun began to break and we started the match off on a very freshly cut and marked Greenacre pitch. Aden Steelers showed their experience as they instantly set off on the attack and took full advantage of our 1st game nerves. Shortly after kick off, a beautiful corner kick from Aden Steelers floated over everyone's head and landed perfectly onto the waiting player at the back post of calmly nodded home the opening goal. Poggy instantly looked stunned as to how the goal happened but quickly set up to go again. However Aden were hungry now and continued to push us hard and we managed to hold them off. Then, the inevitable happened and soon we were 2-0 down. We finished off the first half looking the stronger team, despite the early onslaught from Aden. Nobody was blowing, everyone looked like they could give us another hour and the nerves appeared to be slipping away.
A quick half time chat to iron out some silly issues, and we took our place back on the field only for Aden to quickly take advantage of a defensive slip allowing their striker to pounce to make it 3-0. Normally, that would be it. Heads would go down and we would just stop trying. However, the summer months of hard training, together with additional fitness sessions, started to show through as the players changed gear. We started to go on an aggressive attacking half, not giving Aden much time to breathe. We pounded them time after time with shots and if I'm being honest, Aden's goalkeeper definitely kept them in the game today as he produced quality save after quality save, frustrating our strikers and midfield, yet we didn't give up. Soon, we were rewarded with a goal of the season contender! This came after a nasty challenge on our Striker, Lucas who was studded on the knee leaving him unable to continue. This spurred the team on and whilst Lucas was getting medical treatment on the side line as the game continued (meaning we were down to 10 men until the ball went out of play), after some brilliant combined passing upfield, the ball found its way to new boy Regan who took a touch outside of the area, looked up and smashed the living daylights out of the new match ball. The ball flew over several defenders heads, dipped and nestled beautifully in the top of the net. The shear delight on the players faces said it all, the come back was on.
The goal really spurred us on as we looked hungry and aggressive. Aden started to wobble and frustration began to set in resorting in a few losing their cools. Their manager was on top of it though and knew to take the players off straight away to have a cool down, no retaliation, no arguments, just dealt with quickly and calmly. Props to their manager.
Poggy continued to be the dominant side during this half with attack after attack. We moved a few people around to keep danger areas fresh and working to keep up the momentum which was working. 65 mins on the clock and time running out, a lovely pass from Ollie Whiteley broke open their defense to allow Billy Bramley a head start run toward the keeper, slotting home calmly before the defenders were on top of him. 2-3, with minutes to spare! The excitement could be felt, we definitely thought we could win this one. We continued to push hard, coming close loads of times, however the whistle blew and it was like nails on a chalk board ... it was hard to hear! A few more minutes and we felt we could have brought the game to a draw, which we would have been massively proud of after being 3-0 down. Full praise from the coaching staff was given to all players. They certainly showed their intent for the season and things are looking positive. Even though our first game was a loss, we can't express how proud we were of the players today.
Player of the match went to Regan Lee today. Not only was he all over the pitch constantly attacking the ball, sliding in and gaining possession, but his wonder goal and determination won him the accolade today. Fully deserved! Special mentions also go out to defenders Max and Evie who were strong today for the team, together with Ben who played upfront for us today and really upped his game until a bad hamstring pull ended his game in the last 5 mins.
Credit to Aden Steelers today, they are a fantastic team with the right attitudes. They really knew how to take advantage of us being new to the league, new to the club and also with it being our first game, they capitalised on it. Hopefully after a few more games we can start to get more comfortable and start to have a more successful season, with the way we played today .... that's definitely possible!