Youth Match Report: U15 v St Albans City Youth (County Cup Semi Final) 030213



Sunday 3rd February 2013


St Albans City Youth v Royston Town Youth


U15 County Challenge Cup  – Semi Final


Lost 5-4 Pens (1-1 AET Richard)

Royston Scorers

Rhys, Sam, AJ Bradley

We travelled up to St Albans for our county cup semi final and the good news was we would be playing on there 1st teams ground due to their normal pitch being waterlogged. We arrived at 1045 to the ground which was in perfect condition there was no wind the only minus being a slight slope but a great facility for the boys to play on for such a big game.

We had a full squad to chose from something I have not been able to say for quite a while although Eamon and AJ were carrying knocks which meant they were not 100% fit but still ok to start. We had done our homework on St Albans and knew how they would set up and their strengths and weaknesses so we had to pick a team which was best suited for this game which meant three of the boys who had done so well in the quarter finals would start on the bench. We had trained Saturday morning on set plays defending and attacking as we felt this could be key in the game today. Every one knew there job today and all that was left to say was not to have any regrets take responsibility and be committed to every situation and stay switched on. We sent the boys out and we had noticed that they were quieter than usual which we felt meant they were fully focused.

St Albans started better than us but we were competing in every department and Eamon set the tone with a crunching tackle on there right sided forward.

There first corner was sent over after five minutes and Robbie came out and caught the ball something he would repeat on several occasions today. The first meaningful chance fell to us when Sam put over a cross which Richard got his head to but his header went just over. The game was more even now and our next chance fell to Ben who out muscled his marker before forcing there keeper into a great save. St Albans fought back but we were restricting them to long shots. Bradley was also a threat down the right and with half time approaching we were really happy we did have one scare when a St Albans attack ended with a header hitting the side neting,but the half time whistle ended the half with us all square at 0-0.

It was hard to fault that first half performance the only thing we did want was for us not to panic on the ball and mix the passing up more we were at times a little too direct but for work rate and commitment it was more of the same.

The second half started and it was St Albans who had more of the ball but we were defending so well so they were not really creating any clear cut chances and we always looked dangerous on the break with Rhys looking hungry and sharp and working hard with Ben. With ten minutes of the second half gone Eamon had to come off with a recurrence of his injury so we had to make some positional changes which the boys adapted to well. Richard was involved in a nasty clash of heads which forced him off for five minutes but he was soon ready to come back on.St Albans then had four corners in quick succession but Robbie and the rest of the boys dealt with them well. We finally got the ball and it was played into Rhys on the half way line by James B he beat one man before knocking the ball past another sliding challenge and then carried on into the penalty area where he beat another player he then showed his maturity as just as we were expecting him to shoot he squared the ball to Richard who had made a fabulous run and he side footed us into the lead with a shot from eight yards. That goal was good enough to grace any match at any level super counter attacking foorball. With twenty minutes left St Albans were now throwing everything at us but we were holding firm and with five minutes left a cross was deflected by Jack M goal bound but Robbie pulled off an unbelievable reflex save to keep our lead. We entered the last minute and one more cross came into the box which was met by an out stretched leg from a St Albans player and the ball ended up in the back of our net, a cruel blow but we had to pick ourselves up as the final whistle went and it was back to all square 1-1.

The boys were still focused but Richard was in no fit state to carry on (He was taken to hospital with concussion but released last night) and AJ was also struggling with his injury so it was more reshuffling but we have a strong squad so it did not affect the team. We wanted to be more of a threat going forward so it was about picking the right pass and if we got a another chance to take it.

Extra time saw both teams give everything they had left and although both teams tried no more clear cut chances were created so for the second round running it came down to penalty kicks.

We went second and missed our second kick but Robbie saved there last kick and with Bradley scoring our fifth penalty it was back to all square and sudden death, they scored and then we missed so heartache for us but fair play to St Albans they were a very good side who always looked to play football but were a physical threat as well. This cup tie was played in a excellent spirit and you could see the mutual respect from both sides St Albans showed real class at the end of the game as their celebrations were low key considering they had just won through to the final which showed the respect they had for us.

Robbie – You know when you have had a great game when the opponents parents are queuing up to tell you.

Eamon – That was a top player you were up against today but you did a fantastic job on him.

Alasdair – You made so many tackles and blocks today and never once took a backwards step.

Jack M – This is the kind of game you love very physical and you stood up to it.

Matt – You gave your all today and that was your best performance in a Royston Town shirt.

Bradley – Your work rate was as usual superb you never let us down.

AJ – Your passing was a feature and you always looked to get us forward but you also worked hard in the middle of the park making countless tackles.

Richard – You showed us all how important the game was to you today with your performance and putting the team before your self great run for our goal.

Sam – You would never have guessed you have been out injured for so long your all round game was excellent today.

Ben – Your best game today you had an important job to do and you did it fantastically.

Rhys – Your all round game was superb you never stopped running and the goal you made said it all about you as an intelligent footballer.

James B – So calm on the ball you never panicked and always looked to do the right things.

Callum – Worked hard and was only inches away with you pass in the dying minutes to win us the game.

James R – Never took a backward step and won some big tackles as well as trying to drive us forward.

Jack O – You looked so comfortable on the ball and also defended really well.

Ross – Mr 100% never gave them a minutes piece when you came on up front.

We asked for everything and that's exactly what we got none of you should look back and think if only.  You showed guts, determination, desire and heart as well as playing some really good football, you learn more about your teams character in games like today and you all showed plenty of that so so proud of you all.