Sunday 6th January 2013
London Maccabi Lions Royston Town Youth Colts
Herts FA County Challenge Cup Quarter Final
Draw 2-2 (won 3-4 on penalties)
Bradley, Richard (AJ, Bradley, Rhys, Ross)
We made the trip to Barnet to play London Maccabi Lions another team from the
Once again we were short on numbers two boys still away and James R ill in bed meant we went with thirteen players and of that thirteen Ross had been out for a month and Sam was really making up the numbers as he had only had one training session in two months and had not kicked a ball in anger.
The pitch was in excellent condition although heavy underneath and it would cut up as the game went on there was a slope to it and after winning the toss we decided to defend it first half.
We asked the boys to show that desire and hunger that had got them this far and that we needed to start well and try to hold on to the ball to not give away cheap possession, we needed to conserve our energy and play with our heads as well as our hearts.
Dream start two minutes on the clock a Ben long throw flicked on by AJ and there was Bradley the first to react to put us one up a training ground routine that we have worked on paying dividends. We continued to have the better of it although Maccabi were playing themselves into the game. On ten minutes Jack O was penalised for a rather soft foul where there seemed minimal contact. The Maccabi player swung in a wicked left foot cross which deceived everyone and Robbie could only help it into the net for there equaliser. We had to do the lion’s share of the defending for the rest of the half but as a defensive unit we were superb and the chances they did create were routine saves for Robbie to make. We always looked dangerous when we did push forward with the two wide men getting at there full backs.
Half time and all square the boys were giving it there all but we needed to be more of a threat going forward, we needed to push further up the pitch because we were asking so much of the midfield and we needed the boys to play with more confidence especially in the final third.
With the slope in our favour we expected to see more of the ball but to there credit it was Maccabi who were doing more of the pressing although as in the first half any chances they did create caused Robbie few problems. The game was definitely getting stretched with both defences making great tackles or blocks to prevent any further goals and it was two tired teams that heard the final whistle blow.
Extra time and we could see how tired the boys looked they had given it their all we wanted one more big effort and tried to give them the belief to go on and win the game.
We were attacking the slope first period and as hard as we tried just could not get the chance we needed then just at the end of the Period there lively number 13 who had been excellent throughout picked the ball up thirty yards out and we backed off him and he hit a shot into the corner of net giving Robbie no chance.
The ref turned them straight round so all we could really do is shout some encouragement for one last effort.
Maccabi were all guns blazing at the start of the last period they hit the cross bar from a cross shot and Robbie somehow managed to push a goal bound effort onto the bar, there was five minutes left to play and we threw caution to the wind going three at the back and pushing another one up front. with two minutes left AJ won the ball in midfield and crossed into there box Rhys challenged for the first ball and then reacted quickest to the second ball heading it towards Richard who opened his body up before lobbing the ball over the keeper. We quickly changed back to 4 4 2 and the game ended all square, so it was the dreaded penalties.
The real drama unfolded here we won the toss and decided to go first.
1-0 AJ great pen
1-1 Robbie no chance
1-1 Alasdair misses
1-2 Again Robbie no chance
1-2 Eamon has his saved
1-3 another good pen the writing is on the wall!
2-3 Bradley gives us hope
2-3 Robbie saves
3-3 Rhys keeps his nerve top pen
3-3 Another Robbie save its back to all square
4-3 Ross as cool as you like gives the keeper no chance
4-3 Robbie saves again and from looking down and out we are the ones who go through to our first county cup semi final.
Robbie – Showed to day why he is so highly rated, when it comes to shot stopping is there anyone better.
Callum – Was up against a really top player in there number 13 but he stuck to his task and showed a great attitude throughout.
Jack O – We know Jack O is technically very good today we saw a different side to Jack winning tackles and fighting for every ball.
Alasdair – Inspirational skipper the block in the second half says it all about his will to win.
Eamon – The tackles he won today were unbelievable so much heart.
James B – Put the team before himself by playing in different positions today and played through the pain barrier a top effort.
AJ – Never dropped his head and battled to the end worked his socks off and was involved in both our goals.
Richard – Clearly injured before half time but refused to come off giving everything to the cause and of course a great goal to keep us in it.
Bradley – His work rate was fantastic and caused them a lot of problems out wide also scored a great goal.
Ben – Put his body on the line and always tried his best won so many defensive headers from there corners.
Rhys – So unselfish run himself into the ground by chasing so many lost causes.
Ross – You get 100% effort from Ross every time he walks onto the pitch and what a winning pen he scored so pleased for him.
Sam – He managed ten minutes but that ten minutes gave the team such a lift reminded us of what we have been missing.
This team has heart guts and desire as well as an unbelievable will to win, overall Maccabi had more of the ball and more chances but we have always been a hard team to beat and this result more than any other has given me more pleasure as a manager because of the manner in which we came through against all the odds.
So proud today boys well done.