WRFC U12 Warriors 6 – 1 Esher Royals
Warriors offered a superb display of firepower, skill and tenacity today to overcome an early 1-0 deficit at Cardwells Keep against Esher Royals. Victims again of an early sucker punch seemed only to spur the team on to go ahead 2-1 by half-time and end the shift on a high.
Battling against numerous injuries now for several weeks, Warriors fielded a team of eleven players today, with various bandages, strappings, plasters, grazes and bruises on display. What these players get up to Monday to Friday is anyone’s guess….
The match also saw a League debut for Reiss who put in a fine performance when he came on in the second half and is widely acknowledged for making great progress as a player since he first joined Warriors last season.
Warriors got off to a shaky start in the first three minutes, failing to exploit two close-range goal-scoring opportunities. The team conceded an early goal in the fifth minute as Esher pinged the ball upfield at speed and delivered a killer ball into the box that defied all our defenders.
It was an agonisingly long wait until the equaliser, ably supplied by Jack at 27 minutes from distance and with an extremely helpful deflection off the back of a Royals head en route to the back of the net. Given the force with which he struck the ball, Jack understandably took the credit for the goal! By now, Warriors were dominating possession and went on another attacking run which ended with Marc drawing a foul just inside the Royals’ penalty area. Marc sure-footedly converted the penalty, giving Warriors a 2-1 advantage as the half-time whistle blew.
Darcy came on for the second half, operating in the back three with her usual composure and skill on the ball. The Warriors seemed to go up a gear in the second half and within 30 seconds of kick-off, Charlie was awarded a free-kick which the Royals’ ‘keeper spilled, only to find Jack waiting to pounce and nudge the ball over the line. The referee had already spotted an infringement that he wasn’t happy with and the goal regrettably didn’t stand. Undeterred, Warriors fought on and at 32 minutes, Marc slotted home his second from the edge of the box, a great left-footed effort.
3-1 up and Warriors were clearly enjoying their game. Leon was tested only once and his moment came shortly after the previous goal, when he sprang, cat-like, at a low cross that he brought down expertly but then dropped. Class ‘keeper that he is, King Leon was back on top of the ball before Esher recognised the goal-scoring opportunity.
Defensively, things worked well today, helped as ever by CR7 operating in the sweeper role that he seems to have made his own. He read the game well and his challenges were spot-on, including one opponent who he calmly dispossessed travelling at speed. Cris just emerged, nonplussed, with the ball while the Royals player ran on past him kicking air. A special mention for Jacob as well today in terms of defensive duties. Several times he could be spotted in tight 1v1 situations and instead of panicking and kicking the ball to safety, successfully dummied his opponent and delivered a crisp pass upfield. Great stuff to watch when eleven-year olds have the confidence to do this.
Back to the second half and hearts were in mouths at 45 minutes when Jack squared a ball to Alex, waiting unmarked in front of goal. Alex’s midweek argument with a pavement must have got to him as he uncharacteristically skewed the ball wide of goal and let Royals off the hook. However, his disappointment – and Royals’ relief – only lasted for about four minutes, at which point he got his own back by tapping in a well-delivered corner from Charlie.
At 4-1, possession was 80% with Warriors and some good pass-and-move football was on display. At 50 minutes, Jack scored a left-footer from a well-worked Adam assist to make it 5-1, with Marc rounding off the tally from a Jack assist and completing his hat-trick before taking up defensive duties.
All-in-all a good performance and a good result for Warriors today – and a reward for an intensive training session earlier in the week…thanks Oli!