1st XI Football Term 3

26th January 2016

We were very pleased with the progress of the soccer squad before Christmas, but concerned whether the break would stall the momentum gained. What with mock exams and hockey going to seriously restrict the time to train and focus on some important matches, Mark Greening, the coach, and I were not sure how the second half of the season would go. To get us back on track, Mark arranged our toughest match yet to ensure a reality check before our Kent Cup Quarter Final.

In the first week of term, we travelled to play a Gillingham Academy team at Castle Community College in Deal. They play in the top Academy league in Kent. They were a seriously good side, with an excellent backbone, including a superb goalkeeper, centre back and central midfielder. For most of the first half we did well to keep up with them... playing Sam Taylor in a central defence role did help, but we were overrun in midfield and could not keep the ball. Just before half-time we conceded a sloppy goal. We agreed to change things at half-time, Sam Taylor adding bite to midfield and were optimistic that if we could get the ball, Seb Rowland and Harry Alexander would worry the opposition defence. Most of our success this season has been based on playing with width and the first half of this game had been too narrow. Josh Sawyer and Sam Dove were encouraged to stay out and make more space for others.

The second half started well, but a poorly defended corner, led to a second goal for Castle. At 2-0 down we were concerned. At least it would be a lesson learned before the cup match. However, our extra width started to pay off. Dan Vinson and Sam Taylor got more of the ball in midfield and this meant we could put our opponents on the back foot. Harry Alexander scored with a superb left foot strike from the edge of the box and then Seb Rowland equalised from close range almost immediately afterwards. 2-2 and the momentum had swung. Unfortunately, our opponents were not finished and fine move down the left saw their cumbersome centre forward tap in to give them back the lead. We were pleased with the performance on the whole, but the last 5 minutes were excellent. The extra width saw Josh sawyer cross for Seb Rowlad to equalise with a deft header. Then, in the dying seconds we snatched an excellent victory as Sam Taylor broke forward and cut the ball back to Rowland again to complete his hat-trick. Final Score Castle Community - Gillingham Academy 3 v 4 CCGS

The Quarter Final of the Kent Cup on Saturday (23rd January) was away at Dover GS. They had beaten us earlier in the season, but we had improved since then and were optimistic. When we saw the pitch, we knew it would be tougher than expected. Wet, muddy and narrow this was going to be difficult. Our passing game would be neutralised. Mark encouraged the boys to think about clearing long and wide rather than passing in our own half. The pitch would not allow for it. The first half was awful. Neither side had any control and 0-0 at half-time was a fair reflection. we were not helped by a back injury to Harry Alexander which restricted his movement and we could not keep the ball. Our only chance came when Ayo Oborowode just missed with a flick from a free-kick and at our end, Connor Williams made a couple of saves.

Set pieces and scrappy goals would decide this match. Soon after half time they scored with a header from a free kick and with 20 minutes to go it was 2-0 as they scored from a corner. It looked for all money that CCGS was going out. With 8 minutes to go the situattion was desperate. Harry Alexander went back on to support the attack. Sam Taylor, Dan Vinson and Ayo combined to set up Seb Rowland who scored with a scrappy finish to give us some hope and then with three minutes to go we equalised. Dover attacked Alex Johnson stood firm ad with the last through ball of the game, Seb Rowland broke on the left cut inside the defender and slipped to ball into the far corner for another fantastic hat-trick and the most improbable of victories. Spark jubilant celebrations and one last defensive effort. The match was over. Dover GS 2 v 3 CCGS.

The team deserve every credit. They never give up and a semi-final away at Langtons, 10am on Saturday 6th February is just reward. Who knows? Could we win the Cup? The management are just taking one game at a time.......

Mr Walton, Master i/c Association Football team

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