Letchworth Yellows U13 v Royston U13 Colts
As if last weeks away fixture against the league leaders wasn’t a difficult enough challenge, this week the Colts faced second place Letchworth yellows in what could have arguably been regarded as an even bigger uphill task. With Jacob McCormack still out injured and our first and second choice keepers unavailable, Josh Bullard was sacrificed from the defence to slip on the goalie gloves for his first time as Colts keeper. We had just one substitute to call upon this week but from the moment the first whistle was blown, all thoughts of our unfortunate circumstances went out of the window and it was Letchworth who looked like the team with problems as the Colts piled pressure on the home side. Harry headed the first chance wide after just five minutes and Ed was agonisingly close to latching on to a great cross from Ollie in the very next attack. Stand in keeper Josh was called into action for the first time moments later when he plucked a cross out of the air with great confidence which settled a few nerves on the sidelines but he never really looked troubled in the first half as most of the attacking play from Letchworth was snuffled out thanks to some feisty tackling in midfield by George and Jack. Even when the home side broke through our midfield, Josh Cook, Evan and Alfie at the back were dealing with any threat comfortably. Going forward we continued to dominate as scoring opportunities were created by our attacking midfielders Jacob Marchant, Ollie and Ed and it looked like it was only a matter of time before some one would open the scoring for the Colts with Harry and Kyle continuously bombing forward. Jacks shot from twenty yards sailed just over the bar after ten minutes, then Kyle was denied a goal when his one on one chance was blocked and Alfie had a shot well saved just seconds later. Harrys first one on one attack was also halted by some good goalkeeping after twenty minutes and the Letchworth goalie kept us at bay again when Ollie’s shot was well saved. Harry was in again as half time approached but his shot flew wide. Letchworth had one decent chance just as the first half came to an end when a header from a corner narrowly missed but as the boys took a well earned half time break, parents and coaches alike wondered how the hell the score was still nil-nil.
A minute into the second half things finally looked like they’d turn in our favour as Ed’s through ball found Harry unmarked in the letchworth penalty area and despite not getting a great connection on the ball, his shot just about found it’s way across the line as it rolled beneath the keeper and into the net. One nil Royston! The Colts kept the pressure on and five minutes later Stan linked up well with Jacob to create another scoring chance but it wasn’t to be. Josh was called upon fifteen minutes into the second half to make his first proper save as he kept the opposition forwards out with a brilliant stop from close range but after that things quickly went downhill. A long ball out of the Letchworth defence sent their winger on a counter attack and a good cross set up an easy tap in for the home teams equaliser. The very next attack saw Letchworth extend their lead and two minutes later, a Royston free kick was scrambled away which led to another counter attack and another goal. A minute later, yet another long ball over our tiring midfield was converted and suddenly, from being level five minutes previous, the Colts were now 4-1 down and the game was slipping away. Once again, with less substitutes at our disposal than our opponents, the boys were struggling to keep up with the pace of the game but ten out of ten for effort because the heads still didn’t drop. The Colts managed to compose themselves and nearly pulled a goal back when a great cross from Jacob Marchant was met by Harry who volleyed narrowly wide from close range. Ollie had a chance soon after but their keeper was on good form and made yet another decent save. Letchworth killed the game off with a great strike to put them 5-1 up but Royston managed to score a late consolation goal when a great pass from Stan found Ollie who’s powerful shot was parried away. The ball fell to Harry who drove home the rebound from close range. Harry had a chance to complete his hat-trick in the dying moments when his shot from just outside the box was kept out but it was all too little too late as the final whistle went. If the players, parents and coaches were scratching their heads at half time as the teams went into break goalless, they were in total bewilderment at the end as to how this finished in a 5-2 defeat.
Josh B was given a special mention for his admirable efforts in goal as Roy and Andy acknowledged the boys efforts in the post match talk and Harry was praised for chasing down lost causes and making a nuisance of himself up front as he was awarded the man of the match award. It’s been a difficult start to 2016 for the Colts and a big comedown after such a good run at the back end of last year but with players to come back into the squad and some easier looking fixtures ahead, our luck will surely change soon. (We all hope)!