Carshalton Athletic Greens 2 – 2 Worplesdon U12 Warriors
Surrey Youth League Division 2: Sunday 8th November 2015
There’s a certain irony when you devote your entire training session to wide play, only to turn up for Sunday’s match to find yourself on a pitch that makes all that good stuff somewhat irrelevant.
This was the situation facing U12 Warriors as they turned out for an 11.30 ko at St Catherines SW20, for their first League meeting against Carshalton Athletic Greens. All told, not a particularly auspicious start: a 26 mile hike up the A3, a Cup game on beforehand which went to extra time and penalties, delaying the only referee apparently on duty that morning….a cut-up, bumpy and smaller/narrower-than-usual pitch with nowhere to warm up during the delayed start – and it was anyone’s guess which way this one would go. Once the Remembrance Sunday one minute silence had been observed, the 11.30 ko had morphed into a just-past-midday kick-off, much to the irritation of several visiting parents who had carefully planned their afternoons around an on-time fixture. At least this one wouldn’t go to extra time!
Good initial pressure from Warriors as Jack unleashed a shot within two minutes, leaving Charlie to try and deal with the bobbling loose ball that was parried out by the ‘keeper. No joy on this occasion as the shot went wide of target. Carshalton responded in kind, rattling Leon’s crossbar two minutes later; a wake-up call that got Warriors responding with a little more urgency. Deadlock was broken at 11 minutes, when a flick header from Joe released Jack down the wing, squaring a brilliant ball to the feet of Marc who ran in for the kill and scored in the bottom left corner at close range. Almost qualified as an early goal!
However, Warriors’ celebrations were short-lived. Carshalton struck back after Warriors were caught in the right corner trying to play out from the back. A collective sandwich tackle from two diehard Warriors’ defenders saw a penalty awarded. A cool conversion from Carshalton made it 1-1….
Warriors had a few more chances in the first half but this was turning into a scrappy game, perhaps partly down to the pitch conditions, the lack of width and some of it inevitably attitude after the team was robbed of its early lead. Half-time saw the teams level-pegging at 1-1 and Warriors were urged to step up the pace of the game which had slowed somewhat by this point.
Although Warriors had an early scoring opportunity at 36 minutes, it was Carshalton who went ahead. Credit to the opposition striker who roasted us on the wing and managed to square a ball in just out of Leon’s grasp, to a waiting player who simply had to tap in to score.
On a positive note, Warriors responded well to going behind, although it took some time to build the momentum for the equaliser that was to follow. The first substitution was made at 42 minutes, with Darcy coming on for Adam and Alex moving up front. Within a minute, Warriors had to deal with a near goal from a corner, just managing to clear their lines as a Carshalton player tried to head home from close range.
Jacob replaced Alex at 47 minutes and this proved a turning point in the chemistry up front. Within a minute of coming on, Jacob expertly flicked a ball on with his head to a waiting Charlie who did well to control the bounce and dink the ‘keeper to get the team a well-earned equaliser: 2-2. Two goals today, both assisted in part by flick-ons involving players using their heads – some pay back from the training ground?!
By 50 minutes, it was clear that Carshalton wanted the winner more than Warriors. There was a period at this point when the Warriors box came under sustained pressure but the defensive trio and Leon held tight. Charlie did his best with a close-range free kick towards the end of the game and managed to float it tantalisingly over the wall but just couldn’t get it to dip down far enough to score in the top left as he had obviously planned.
A valuable point earned today, although three would have been better! Warriors retained the top spot in Division 2 for their troubles.