Mohawks Sting Scorpions
A whole 7 weeks since their last game, the U13 Mohawks beat West Byfleet Scorpions by 6 goals to 4 away from home.
There were two things really strange about Saturday morning, the sun was out and the U13 Mohawks were actually playing football. 7 weeks since their last league match it's only typical of our season that the only game on would be a 9:30am kick-off in Byfleet.
Owen B & Alex C were the regulars unavailable for the team on the day, but nevertheless our side looked upbeat and excited to get a game of football. Janis Z took the GK gloves in the first half, as the team lined up 4-5-1.
Mohawks were straight out of the blocks in the first few minutes. Jamie M, Dan R & Nazir A were winning all the 50/50s in central midfield as we enjoyed the majority of possession. Sam H had the beating of the Byfleet right back, but the team struggled to feed Leo F some supply.
At the other end, Joe A & Ahmed E had the unforgiving task of stopping the Byfleet no. 14 on their left wing. He was powerful and played a very dangerous cross for his teammate. Janis Z stopped the shot well, but it was the first real warning for Woodley.
Jamie M played a chipped through ball to give Leo F his first real chance of the match. His effort was slightly off target, but the move demonstrated how to get past this Byfleet defence.
On a counter attack Byfleet took the lead through their number 14. His power and pace gave him the time to fire an unstoppable drive past Janis Z (who to his credit, got some hands on it to almost parry it wide). 1-0 to Byfleet, but this was at the very least 'slightly' against the run of play.
Yuvraj G replaced Leo F in a move which saw Nazir A move up to striker, and not much later he equalised. Jamie M again, played a delightful chipped through ball and Nazir A did well to shrug off the Byfleet defender and finish past the keeper. 1-1.
In a swift change of fortune, Nazir A made it 2-1. Jamie M again with the assist as Nazir A showed us some real strikers instinct. He took his effort on the turn, first time, good power, good accuracy... it was class. Nazir A (& our whole team) have possibly been guilty of taking too many touches in the box this season, so I was really pleased with this finish. He didn't think twice... 1-2.
In similar fashion to their first goal, the Byfleet would make it 2-2. On this occasion we could have done a bit better in the build up. Nothing Janis Z could have done, he made some decent stops and had a good half in goal.
Yuvraj G would next come close with a shot just over the bar.
Harry A picked up a slight knock, so Leo F returned to the field for the remaining 5 minutes of the half. Woodley turned up another gear and mounted some sustained pressure on Byfleet.
Jamie M found himself in the corner of the pitch with not a whole lot of options, so he took a punt and swung the ball into a dangerous area. As the Byfleet goalkeeper and defenders scrambled, captain Joe C was the fasted to react to tap home at the back post. Good patient play from Jamie M, but the goal was scored for Joe C's pure desire to get on the end of it (considering he made the run from left back). 2-3.
A very entertaining first half indicated this game will not finish 3-2. The message was keep enjoying it and keep working hard. Joe A took a rest as Harry A returned to the action whilst Leo F swapped positions with Janis Z (striker and goalkeeper). Nazir A also moved to right back.
Mohawks started the 2nd half very well and a moment of pure genius from Sam H would send Dan R through on goal to put us 4-2 ahead. On the counter attack, Sam H waited for Dan R's attacking run and timed his pass perfectly, with the perfect weight, curve and height. Dan R's run and finish was faultless, but the truth is Sam H made it so easy. 2-4.
Nazir A would make a foul which triggered an angry Byfleet player and parent... I won't go into anymore detail but without sounding as if I am praising a foul but all the boys were showing a lot of hard work, team spirit and commitment. With the sun shining down, there were lots of tired faces at this point.
Joe A replaced Ahmed E.
Mohawks looked comfortable, 2 goals ahead, had most of the ball and Leo F's only involvement in goal to this point was to sweep up well.
I'm not sure what caused it, whether it was panic or whether we were taking more risks for another goal but we stopped managing the game well. A free-kick in our own half was rushed and led to Byfleet's third goal. With the game at 2-4, it was an unnecessary risk. 3-4, and Byfleet got their heads up.
For the next 10 minutes Byfleet had us on the ropes. We couldn't get out of our own half and Leo F was forced into some important saves.
Dan took a momentary break due to tiredness, and Byfleet scored the most lucky of equalisers. It bounced/deflected all over the place and gave their striker a golden chance he wouldn't pass up on. 4-4.
Byfleet continued their pressure but it didn't last. Jamie M won a free kick on the halfway line, we reshuffled the positions and the tide turned in our favour again. Dan R returned to the action here too.
Our 4 goals up to now all had a lot of quality involved, but Yuvraj G clearly wasn't finished here. From distance, Yuvraj G pulled a rabbit out of a hat as his shot flew into the corner of the net. He made it look so easy, but it was a worldy and showed how much quality he's got in his locker. 4-5.
That goal seemed to dishearten Byfleet, and we'd get a 6th through Dan R from close range right at the end of the match.
Overall a really pleasing performance from the team Saturday morning and arguably the best of the season. The work ethic of the team was absolutely outstanding and they showed a lot of spirit after the game went 4-4 to go on and win. Not one player was below a 9/10, so perhaps we should play every 7 weeks from now on!
Man of the Match: Leo F - I know Nazir A got 2 goals, I know Dan R got 2 goals, I know Jamie M got 4 assists... I could go on. It was an impossible choice on the day but I went with Leo F because when we went through our toughest moment of the game he was a very alert and stable between the sticks. Well done Leo!
A mention for every one else here too:
Janis Z - Stepped up to go in goal, did great and then second half he turned the Byfleet defenders inside out.
Ahmed E - Got stuck into the tackles and kept the passes simple. Possibly his best game for us! Well done!
Harry A & Matthew M - What I haven't mentioned above is how well these two dealt with the forwards, they were first to everything Byfleet supplied the striker and their goals had to come from other sources.
Joe C - Linked up with Sam H well down the left and anticipated his goal very well.
Joe A - Looks better every game, dealt with no.14 well and was generally very solid.
Jamie M - Setup 4 goals, won everything in the middle of the pitch and the only way Byfleet could stop him was by fouling him.
Dan R - 2 goals, 110% work rate, typical Dan performance!
Nazir A - 2 goals, aggressive and showed a winners mentality throughout.
Sam H - Dribbled past players and spread possession well. A world class assist for the 4th goal.
Yuvraj G - Makes everything look easy, he dominated midfield and his goal was outstanding!
On to the next!
Thank you to Martin for running the line!