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Posted on February 1st 2017
Football - HBAED 2 Harris Falconwood 1
Making a comparison between the Harris Cup and less prestigious competitions such as the FA Cup is admittedly a little hard to do. But with this said, and given the quality shown by the Year 7 football team in recent fixtures, the travelling Harris Falconwood were facing ‘a cold Monday night in Stoke’, which for the uninitiated refers to an undesirable away fixture in adverse conditions.
Falconwood started sharply and with intent, clearly taking buoyancy from an 18-0 victory in their previous fixture. However both Nashawn and Rowland quickly recognised much of their play was flowing through two key players and acted to neutralise the threat.
As the game progressed, HBAED started to string some impressive passages of play together, and whilst playing out from the hands of Ahmed in goal will take time to perfect, the willingness to always attempt play to feet was a joy to watch. Epitomised in a move started by Ahmed, Peter received the ball at left back who began a string of five pin point passes, and when worked through Ikario, Bilal and Israel, the ball ended in the path of an advancing Michael, who drew an outstanding save from the Falconwood keeper.
This set the tone for the next 15 minutes of play, and shortly after the start of the second half, Michael was back in the thick of the action slipping in behind the Falconwood defence to find the back of the net. As HBAED erupted with joy, the tension became palpable the moment Falconwood placed the ball on the centre spot. Falconwoods’ expansive efforts to draw level really highlighted the great work of Leo, Nashawn and Peter in defence, and also allowed the tricky Bilal to show his class, opening up two potential game-sealing chances that unfortunately slipped our grasp. With one minute to go, the opposition's most influential player received the ball around 10 yards out and sold the defence with a sumptuous turn, allowing him to beat Ahmed and break the hearts of HBAED.
Even the most optimistic supporter would have been pushed not to accept extra-time, however with 30 seconds to go HBAED rushed the ball back to re-start the game. The whistle signalled for play to begin, and as our forward players charged for goal, Nashawn lofted a hopeful ball in that managed to slide past their keeper and into the back of the net, racing HBAED toward the next round of the Harris Cup. As cup clichés go, whilst this wasn’t quite a ‘giant killing’, it certainly did show the ‘magic’ of the Harris Cup for our Year 7s.
Man of the Match. Rowland: shutting their most important players out of the game highlighted his quality defensively. On top of this, he remained composed on the ball and gave us intent going forward.
Stepping up. Ikario & Israel: both individuals showed supreme confidence on the ball in tight conditions. In addition, they responded positively to advice meaning their impact on the game grew with time.
Tom Belcher, Teacher of PE