Saturday, June 16, 2018

APJSC Under 11 Reds: Round 11 vs Coniston Gold

A rematch against remembered foes in Coniston Gold for the Albion Park Soccer Club Under 11 Red team was what was set for today, and while the talk was of a rough and tumble match what was closer to the hearts and minds of the players was the need to improve on last week’s performance and ensure they did not start slowly as they did in that match.

The opening stanza was quite even, with both sides feeling out where the breaks in the defence might be. Indy Middleton was a different player today from last week, a ball of energy as he chased hard and through his opponents in the midfield and created the early spark that got the Park team moving. After a couple of early breaks, the Park defence shut down the two dangerous players from the Coniston team and began to work on a way to get to their own goalmouth. A couple of good plays broke down at the vital moments, as Jack Tate looked in great touch once again. On at least three occasions he wound his way past multiple defenders, only to just go a little too far before disposing of the ball and instead had it stolen off him. He showed however that there were ways to get through the Coniston team. A couple of balls went wide for goal kicks, and the Park attackers began to get wise, and were chasing hard once the kick was made. Eventually Ky Van Helden latched onto one of these goal kicks and crashed it back past the goalie to open the scoring and a 1-0 lead for the home team.

Last week’s problem was that the team fell asleep once a goal had been scored and allowed their opponent to get back into the match. Thought they were more switched on this week, they still allowed the ball to get past the defensive line, and it only took this to happen once for their forward to get a good strike in and put the ball in the back of the net and level the scores at 1-1.

Forced to work hard once again with scores level, the Park kids did begin to get the larger amount of possession and in their opponent’s half of the ground. Still pressuring the goal kicks as hard as possible, one again fell loose as Zali Middleton tried to kick towards goal. This ball was boomed back out of the goal square by the defender that was twice as big as Zali and three times as wide, but she managed to get her right leg in the way of it, and it instead rebound at speed straight into the back of the net for a great goal for Zali, and Albion Park regained the lead at 2-1.

The ball was being kept in one half of the ground now, thanks in part to the great defensive line of Brock Young, Josh Peters and Belle Kadwell, with help from the mid-field of Indy and Jack-Ryan Eberwein. Claire Kadwell was making great runs up front down the left wing and managed to get a couple of shots off that were picked up by the keeper. One of these was another attacking raid that was cleared by the fullback, which went straight towards Jack-Ryan who was positioned at right back, only two metres into the Coniston half. He had time to steady, but instead he went for the no-touch booming kick straight back at the goal mouth, and as 18 payers looked up with gaping mouths, the ball rose to a great height, and the fell back to earth, just over the top of the keepers reach and just under the cross bar and into the back of the net. It was an astounding goal, one that no one who saw it will ever forget. It allowed the Park team to go in at half time with a lead of 3 goals to 1.

The second half was punctuated by three terrific pieces of play. Jack-Ryan headed back into goalkeeper, and after a great break down the left the Coniston striker had a clear shot at goal with only Jack-Ryan on his own. The powerful shot came in, but Jack-Ryan was having none of it, and made the save of the year so far. Inspiring stuff.

At the other end there were more chances coming, with Ky continuing to attack hard, and being well supported by Noah Black on the right who had come out of goals and was making himself known to his opponents. Down the left Zoe Middleton was just fantastic again, running hard and making at least four perfect passes down the sideline for Josh and Ky to run onto. It was great to watch. Noah fought hard to be awarded a free kick, and then a great set piece between Noah, Ky and Josh was finished off by Josh for his first goal of the game and a 4-1 lead. Five minutes later Zoe had fought hard and forced a corner for her team, which Josh took and calmly curled the ball from the left corner into the goal where it beat the keeper for his second goal and a 5-1 lead. Three great pieces of play that typify the best this team is offering when everyone is switched on and playing at their best.

A late goal by Coniston was some consolation for them, but the park kids finished up with a handsome 5-2 victory to help make up for their first loss last week.

Indy Middleton and Jack-Ryan Eberwein had one of their best ever games, both were busy throughout. Zoe Middleton again was just terrific and was backed up by Zali Middleton who was fast and furious up forward. Belle and Claire Kadwell were as busy as always, and Noah Black, Jack Tate and Ky Van Helden did well with their opportunities. Josh Peters claimed it wasn’t one of his best games, but again when given the chance in the midfield the team seemed to click better with his great runs and passes.

Still, above all this was Player of the Match Brock Young, who did as he does every week. He is great in defence, he clears the ball when needed and he runs hard into position when the team needs him to move the ball upfield. He laughs at his own errors but always makes up for them. A well-deserved award this week.

As it turns out I managed to get Josh’s two goals on video, mostly as they were from set pieces. Have a look at both of them, especially the set piece from Noah to Ky to Josh to score.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

APJSC Under 11 Reds: Round 8 vs Albion Park Yellow

 On a much more typical winter day for junior soccer at Terry Reserve, the Albion Park Junior Soccer Club Under 11 Reds took on the Albion Park Yellow team for the second time this season, with both teams keen to show they had improved since the first time they clashed, which was in the first match of the season when the Reds had come out on top with an 11-6 victory. No doubt the Yellow team was seeking revenge for that result.

With a howling southerly blowing to cause mayhem on the pitch, both sides made a tough start to the match. The ball spent a lot of time in the Reds defensive half but the back four held firm, and despite a couple of early shot in attack the ball was having a difficult time getting into the right areas. Ky Van Helden had one nice shot at goal that was saved, while Jack-Ryan Eberwein also unloaded a bomb was the right that flew wide of the top corner. For awhile it looked as though it was going to be a scoreless first half, before Belle Kadwell found a space working her way from the back and through the midfield, where she then passed perfectly to Ky who beat one defender before dishing off the pass to Jack Tate who continued his great form from last week by beating the keeper and allowing the Reds to take a 1-0 lead.

Perhaps this led the Reds to relax a little, because not for the first time this season a team went from defence to attack to goal in a matter of moments. An attack on goal went to the opposition keeper who quickly got the ball moving while the Reds attack and midfield virtually stopped. This didn’t help the back line, but they too didn’t recognize the danger early enough and the whole laxness of the team meant that the Yellow’s scored a terrific length of the field goal with barely an effort made in stopping it. The score was 1-1 and in the end the halftime whistle couldn’t have come soon enough.
The first half of the second half proceeded much as the first half of the game had done (that’s a mouthful). Not much was happening up forward for the Reds, while the backline had a few to clear out. Eventually Josh Peters at centre back got a good foot on a ball to find Claire Kadwell in the midfield, who made a great pass to Noah Black at right striker. Noah made a great run diagonally back into the centre of the field, beating three defenders before planting the ball in the back of the net, and restoring the lead for the Reds at 2-1. Unfortunately this didn’t last long, and some sustained attack by the Yellow team saw them have three corners in succession, and the third one found Jack-Ryan’s leg which changed the direction of the ball perfectly out of reach of his goalkeeper and fellow defenders and found the net to have the game levelled up at 2-2.

The heads of the Reds team had dropped a little and the next goal was crucial, and there was a sense that both teams knew it. Certainly the coaching staff on the sideline knew it. A good period of play saw the Reds get a couple of chances in their attacking zone, and finally a great corner taken by Noah found the number one striker Ky unattended and he slotted the ball to get the Reds back in front again with a 3-2 lead.

The Reds now began to run over the top of their opponents, again through their better fitness and perhaps their belief. Ky had three consecutive shots on goal from runs down the left and winding through defenders in the middle, only to have all three saved by the goalkeeper. But the tidal wave was becoming overbearing. Belle again made a tough hard run through the midfield to get the ball to Noah who ran and jagged past three defenders before leaving the keeper guessing the wrong way and crushing the ball into the net for his second goal and extending the lead to 4-2. From the kick-off the ball was quickly stolen and moved downfield, where Ky made no mistake with his strike on this occasion to bring up his second goal and leave the Reds with a comfortable lead of 5-2.
With tensions easing on the sideline the players were encouraged to exhibit their wares, and the wave of attack kept coming. In the dying minutes Jack-Ryan made a play for goal of the year with a crashing right boot from out wide on the right that just failed to find the goal, while Brock Young also made an excellent run and shot in from the left that was just parried away. Finally a great tackle and pass from Brock was taken by Claire who beat one and passed infield to Josh. Josh then ran and beat two before passing perfectly onto the unmarked Ky’s boot who made no mistake for his third goal and a final scoreline of 6-2 to the Reds.

It was a tough day to play soccer, and hard to keep motivated in the game when you were on the field. Noah had a terrific second half after spending the first half in goals, and is beginning to show a great combination with Ky. Jack was again busy in the first half before moving back to keeper in the second half, while Jack-Ryan is showing himself to be a dominant player around the park.

Still, to me at least, the reason this team managed to win today was to our three girls, Belle and Claire, and Zoe Middleton. Belle and Claire once again barely stopped running for the whole match, and when a ball fell loose into a gap it was they who seemed to be first on the scene to grab it. Belle’s work at the back was just fantastic, while Claire was tireless doing double duty up forward and then rushing back to help the mid-field. Similarly, Zoe continues to take on boys twice her size fearlessly, never afraid of getting in and trying to steal the ball off them, always making a second attempt when necessary, and today also got away several great passes down the line to her teammates. I’m not dissing the boys, but each week these girls are just amazing and today especially were instrumental in ensuring victory.

Player of the Day though deservedly went to Ky, who looks to be a natural striker. He gets double and triple teamed once the opposition see how dangerous he is, but he doesn’t let that stop him. He was great again today and deserves his award.