The third Dallington season of mini games for the team and after the prolonged weather break all of the boys were raring to go.
1st up were Kislingbury and the decision was made to rotate the boys round so they were not in their normal positions, this is a good experience that gives them an understanding of all the positions on the pitch.
Not sure if it was the rotation or the 4-5 week lay off but we didn’t start with our normal pace and passing game and looked a little ring rusty, having said that we kept our defensive shape with Ruben holding the line at the back and making some timely challenges. Brandon and Finley were were working hard in midfield with Brandon trying his hardest to wear out the refs whistle with some typically robust interventions that wouldn’t have looked out of place at Franklins Gardens ;-). Callum was trying his hardest up front and the half chances were starting to come but the opposition keeper must have been wearing ball magnet shin pads as all of our shots seemed to hit her legs….even when she wasn’t looking!!
Before we knew it Kislingbury had broke through and unleashed a shot which Harry just managed to hold on to, there were several shots through out the game that Harry saved with his hands thus preventing a rebound chance. Goal keepers, as well as being the buckstop of the defence, are also the starting point of quick counter attacks and with the ball in hand Harry spotted Finley who had made himself available on the right, a quick throw out and Finley was off up the wing and found Ruben with a slide rule pass, a smart turn dribble and deflected shot and the ball was rolling agonisingly slowly goal bound…..would it make it…..just to be sure Max sprinted in to finish things off and put us 1-0 up.
By now Alex and Josh had come in and put their stamp on the game, Alex with his powerful runs and Josh with some intelligent off the ball running and stinging shots but again the ball was drawn to the keeper every time. Again Harry found himself with ball in hand but this time went for a good old fashioned ‘up and at um’ kick which found Max in space who controlled then sprinted down on the goal, this time their keeper did react coming of his line which just distracted our attack enough to end the game with a 1-0 win.
Next up Towcester and agin we rotated everyone, this time we started off much better, although we had given the boys their starting positions they were interchanging on there own so as a defender went forward one of the midfield dropped back, this is great to see in boys of their age.
Now normally at this point I make a mention of Brandon’s ‘robust challenges’ but for once it look like he’d met his match in the form of a girl on the opposition side that really gave it back in spades and they continued their running battle through out the game, however one of her challenges lead to a free kick which Joshua stepped up to take. Unfortunately Towcester clearly hadn’t seen Joshua strike a dead ball and elected not to have a wall….big mistake, Josh smashed the ball towards the bottom corner and just before breaking the back of the net it clipped Brandon’s leg, 1-0 and now it was all Brixworth. The boys had rediscovered their slick passing game and we were sure the next goal would be a result of a great team passing move, however as he has done many times before Callum had other ideas. Picking the ball up in the left back area he started a powerful controlled run forward and with the slightest of touches he quickly left two defenders wondering what had happened, but the best was saved till last, taking the ball to the right of the area Callum calmly passed the ball into the opposite corner of the goal completely wrong footing the keeper, a real composed finish to a fantastic run….George Best would have been proud.
This instilled even more confidence and the boys were now putting together some really eye catching moves, however it was another solo effort that produced the next chance as Alex picked up the ball on the right and made one of his typically powerful charges past two defenders before shooting just wide of the post, in the end Alex got the goal he deserved to finish of a great team performance. There was one last heart stopping moment when Towcester’s striker chased a ball into our area which he was favourite to win, Harry was quick to spot the danger and dashed from his line to close him down and spread himself blocking the goal bound shot, the strikers follow through hit poor Harry full on which looked really bad, it wasn’t anyone’s fault just two committed players and thankfully Harry suffered nothing but a dead arm. The Towcester lad showed excellent sportsmanship in checking Harry was ok whilst on the pitch and then again after the match.
Although there had been some fantastic solo efforts the whole team played well, Ruben again showing good improvement and positional sense snapping into the challenge, Finley with his non stop running, tracking and tackling not to mention coolness on the ball and passing ability, Max with his tireless running at the top end of the pitch and Joshua picking up every loose ball on the edge of the area and returning it with interest, Brandon and his personal physical battle with his opposite number, Harry with two clean sheets and one of the best saves I’ve ever seen from a 6yr old, Callum with probably one of the best individual goals I’ve seen from a 6yr old and Alex not far behind. We’ve said this before but at this stage it’s all about player development, whilst winning is nice the important thing is that each player improves and I can confidently say all of the boys are getting better which I know you’ll agree is a joy to watch….great football with a smile on their faces!!
Tony & Dan