The U13 Mohawks were knocked out of their EBFA cup competition on Saturday.
Saturday morning saw the U13 Mohawks make the very short (NOT) away trip to Twickenham to face high-flying Hearts of Teddlothian Lions in a cup tie. The team gathered at the Showcase Cinema and traveled in convoy in what seemed an extra special occasion.
Hearts' first 3 games of the season have returned them a maximum 9 points, scoring 13 whilst conceding just 3. A tough game in store for our Mohawks' side on paper.
Alex C threw a spanner into the preparations as he broke the news before the warm-up that he had forgotten his shin-pads. (Note to coach: put spare shin-pads in the kit bag). Nevertheless we found an alternative protection to allow Alex C to start at the left hand side of defence.
Hearts started the first minute of the match well, imposing themselves on the Woodley defence straight away, but it was Dan R who opened the scoring moments later to put United 1-0 up. The ball dropped to Dan R on the half volley around the edge of the area and his effort clipped the underside of the crossbar in the top left corner before creeping over the line. Dan R's own initial reaction was that he just got really unlucky, but looked delighted to score his first competitive Mohawks goal as the goal was confirmed. 0-1.
A great start for Woodley, but the first 2 minutes of this game made something very clear: There are going to be more goals today. Entertaining, end-to-end stuff.
Hearts reacted to going behind well as the game continued to spark. They equalised when their forward did well to divert a cross into the back of the Mohawks net. 1-1.
The equaliser gave Hearts momentum as the game swayed in their favour. Woodley were struggling to clear their lines and the game was being played largely in their half. With this momentum they took the lead. 1-2.
At the other end Nazir A had an attempt off target.
Janis Z departed a minute earlier than planned as he realised he forgot to put on his shinpads (theme of the day). Alex C & Nazir A also came off as Jamie M, Joe C & Yuvraj G entered the field.
The remainder of the half was more evenly balanced between the two sides. Harry A was playing very well, strong tackles, good clearances, good passes and overall good decisions. Ahmed E was breaking down Hearts attacks in the middle whilst Joe C's leadership steadied our defence after a shaky period.
Jamie M saw an effort go wide before the break.
The team had a very good half-time team talk. With the game so close, everyone looked like they wanted to get back into the game. We re-shuffled the team again and the boys set out for the 2nd half.
Mohawks started the second half on the offensive. Jamie M, Sam H & Yuvraj G especially were causing Hearts many problems. Nazir A looked dangerous behind the lines of the opposition defence and Joe A had the beating of the Hearts left-back on more than one occasion.
Woodley's great start to the half paid dividends quickly. Some fantastic wing play from Sam H saw him get in a really dangerous area, his cross was cleared only as far as the edge of the box and Jamie M fired the ball straight into the corner of the net. 2-2, game on!
Nazir A had a fantastic chance when he beat several Hearts defenders in the box, but unfortunately his eventual effort was straight at the keeper.
The game was truly one where the ascendancy was constantly changing, and now it was our turn to take control. With spirits high after making it 2 a piece, Mohawks took the lead. More great work from Sam H on the left hand side, set away Nazir A again. This time he made no mistake as he cheekily the beat the keeper at his near post (4 goals in 2 games for Nazir A). Mohawks celebrations were the opposite of mute. 2-3.
Fantastic character shown from our team to go ahead after trailing 2-1 here.
Jamie M played a great through ball to Janis Z, but he just over-ran the ball. Great pass, great run, unlucky. Woodley still in control.
Ahmed E, Harry A & Joe A made way for Dan R, Leo F & Matthew M.
As we looked in control, Hearts managed another equaliser (this time against the run of play). 3-3.
Mohawks responded well to this, instantly creating another attack where Jamie M struck the crossbar with a great effort. Agonising.
Despite going so close here, the momentum of the game had switched again. Owen B made some crucial stops to deny the Hearts attackers.
But Hearts found a way, and won the game with 2 minutes to go. 4-3.
An unbelievable game. It really could of gone either way, and we were surely at the very least deserving of taking the game to Extra-time. On a football level we improved again, but more importantly today we should be proud of the team effort the boys put in today. They fought for each other, supported each other throughout and the long away trip seemed to have bonded them all together tighter. Hearts have won all their games so far, and there's nothing between us & them. We should take a lot of confidence from that again. Onwards & Upwards.
Man of the Match (2 this week): Harry A - Fantastic all day. Solid at the back and made very good decisions on the ball. Intelligent, calm and hard-working. Well done Harry A!
Owen B - We've become used to seeing Owen B make worldy saves. Upon the advice of the opposition Manager he deserves a Man of the Match shout and his saves were very very important for us today.
We play Hearts again next month.
Thank you to Bill & Richard for sharing the line duties.