So, the boys kicked off and it was an immediate display of passing, moving and communicating. The main focus of today was talking and scanning, having an awareness of what was going on around them (ignore the ball, track your man!!). Wow..........the boys took these instructions on board and put on a fantastic sequence of passing to the delights of our supporters. As chants of ''it's just like watching Brazil'' rang out, it didn't take the boys long to get on the scoresheet. Some great build up play from Christian and then Ryan, fed the ball through to Ollie W, who managed to find some space in the box and fired one home. A great start to the game, with the bar certainly set for more things to come.
With the dynamic defending by George W, George D and Oliver R, nothing would get past them today. Inspirational stuff from the boys, along with safe hands from Freddie G when required. Consistently good distribution from the keeper helped create chances which caused the kestrels to panic on most occasions. Christian stayed strong on the right, listening to Gavin's sound advice before the game to think about his movement. Zach was in usual fine dribbling form, when coming on after 12mins, showing off some great skills as he dribbled through the midfield and defence. He took up position on the edge of the box and as the ball came towards him he chose the right corner of the goal,to fire the ball home. A cool and well placed finish. More chances followed but the ball could not find the back of the net.
The whistle blew for half time and in contrast to previous games the boys were keen not to throw away their lead. Again, an awareness of their game which has improved dramatically. They started the second half as they finished the first, at a very high tempo, lots of passing, which was a wonderful spectacle for the parents on the touch line. Some tough but yet fantastically timed sliding tackles from George W helped clear anything up. He also brought the ball out from defence to drive the attack forward. His partner George D performing in a similar way, with the pair taking it in turns to see if they could capitalise on the large number of corners (these boys love to head the ball).
The Stingrays could have had a hat-full, but the only chance taken successfully was from a long range effort from Zach. After the boys had an number of attempts blocked, the ball fall to Zach who unleashed a fantastic shot from the edge of the box. His shot was heading goal bound and was further helped into the back of the net by a slight deflection. Oliver R, in goal, did not touch the ball once with his hands, such was the dominance of the Stingrays. It could have been a cricket score, but some good defending from the Kestrels would frustrate the boys.
The final whistle blew with cheers around Laundry Lane, and following some team photos the boys celebrated in front of their parents and family to applaud their supporters. A nice touch which was rewarded with Xmas selection boxes and a pack of Jaffa cakes the same size as the goals. MOTM to George W for his immense display on the pitch and thanks to Steve for his perfect refereeing performance (as usual).
So, the end of the year!! 2016 has proven to be a wonderful opportunity for Christian and Gavin to train the boys, new and old. All boys are developing at a fantastic rate and we can tell how 'united' we are, all the way through from parents, players and managers. All members of the Stingrays can be proud of their achievements, the way they act and perform on and off the pitch and the deep friendships they have made this year. And finally, for 2016, one last WELL DONE STINGRAYS!!
Have a wonderful Xmas and New Year one and all!! 2017 Fixtures TBA in due course. Not too much chocolate please!!