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U12's march on

With the arrival of the rain, wind and storm clouds it can only mean one thing - cricket is now firmly gone and football is definitely back. All that remains of the cricket season is a sunset and Kevin Pieterson moaning about his England cricket performances (we're really not listening Kevin).


Back on the menu tonight were mud (lots of it), slide tackling (bags of it), mis-timed tackles (where do I start?) and questionable refereeing decisions (to be fair, I thought he did ok - who ever he was).  Tonight The Priory City of Lincoln Academy (PCOLA) Year 8's welcomed The Sir Robert Pattinson Academy (RP) for a home fixture watched by a fever-pitched crowd of nearly 30. After a Friday warm up last week where 14 turned up,  the team settled on a mixture of experience from the previous games and newly acquired with raw energy in key places- as selected by Owen Pickersgill (Capt), Billy Hart, (trainer) and Mr Baker, manager. 


The match kicked off in a rain storm at approx 3:40pm with RP winning the toss and electing the end to play from - going marginally with the wind. Both sides went for it from the kick off and played the entire match in a good atmosphere - any disagreements and argy bargy being settled with a quick handshake.  Having said that, the tackles were strong and allowed to continue by a referee who let the game flow (or maybe couldn't keep up with the pace).  This approach led to a frantic opening 5 minutes where a flowing RP move led to a fast break and a 1-nil lead. Quality finish. 


Whilst this was deserved, it was met with a reply from the kick off by PCOLA and with three first touches, Jack Dowse was fed a great through ball by Jake Smith whose final shot slipped past the 'keeper and just past the post.  Great move and definitely a statement of intent.  Within 5 minutes PCOLA went one step further and Jake Smith finished off a move down the left and appearing to 'meg'  the 'keeper. Quality finish if just a little unlucky for the 'keeper.  PCOLA were back and firing and after another frantic 15 minutes of really hard but flowing football Rory Walker came in from the right to finish off a good move with a chip over the advancing 'keeper into the bottom left corner. PCOLA had the lead - but could they hold on to it? There followed 5 minutes of end-to-end football with no side dominating - Owen and Jake held fast in the centre of defence - Rhys Hurst doing everything he could to stop RP's fast forward line on the left where most of RP's attacking was coming from. Special mention for the RP 'keeper who produced a 'worldy'  from Jack Dowse and tipped this onto the post - great shot and save.


Half time leading 2-1  and the rain eased off as the lads sat down for a breather in the now brighter Lincoln evening  (likened by some in the team as a Springfield clouds opening scene from the Simpsons) - the team were given a rousing brief by Billy Hart and set off to try and close out the game.


The next 30 minutes was split into two halves. The first 15 minutes was akin to tennis - attack was met with attack from both sides with the midfield battle really being won by RP's better ability to hold the ball up and find attackers with killer balls - only to be met by resolute defending by PCOLA. However with RP attacking all the time this did lead to a very well-taken goal by their strong forward line who made it 2-2 - nothing short of what they deserved - good finish and putting the game back on a knife edge. How would PCOLA respond? Was this a step to far?  


PCOLA's defence was very much awake and ready for this onslaught from RP and with some dogged defending managed to stay in the game - the headed clearances, particularly, being a strength of the team as they stood strong.  As the first half of the second half  (are you all still with me on this analogy?)  came to a close, PCOLA broke clear and took advantage with some good interplay to make it 3-2 thanks to Jack Dowse.  This came after several penalty claims and some interesting feedback from the players to the referee about his eyesight (it wasn't Specsavers!) - none of which mattered since PCOLA had now retaken the lead and were on the up.  What followed next was unfortunate with the RP goalkeeper who had been a real star on the night, making a slight fumble and Jake Smith tapped into an unguarded net to make it 4-2.  


In the last 5 minutes the team welcomed Imogen Burnley onto the pitch fresh from her appearance earlier in the evening on the netball pitch for her debut and she made an immediate impact with a series of strong interceptions and good interplay with the front line.  She will be a strong part of the team for the rest of the season.


The match finished 4-2 and PCOLA can now take a run of three consecutive wins into Thursday's match against LSST away in hastily-arranged friendly.  PCOLA take a strong team into this fixture, brimming full of confidence knowing that only with a victory will the coach let them off Friday training.   


MOM - Kyam Geoghan and Rhys Hurst


Mr Baker

    The Priory Federation of Academies, Lincoln