Following the end of the winters football programme down at the Gol Centre, and after last weeks postponements due to the snow, it was back to action for both our current Junior Sides this week. As luck would have it, Baglan Boys and Girls Club was the venue for both teams, so a bright and early morning trip west down the M4 it was for all.
This was our juniors section 1st set of league fixtures at host teams, and we can all say we thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality put on by our hosts at Baglan. The Bacon Butties and cups of tea and coffee certainly helping to chase away any cobwebs from the lost hour following the introduction of British Summer Time. And it even felt like a proper spring morning with clear skies and sun drench pitches making a marked change form the frost bitten cold morning of previous match days.
It proved to be a very competitive days football too.
The Under 9s went into the series of games against Whitchurch, Sully, Porth and Fairwater with high hopes having played all previously, and having managed to come out on top in their most recent encounters at Gol. The new surface however made for different set of results today, with the change of tactics and pace of the game required on the larger grass pitches taking the girls by surprise and a bit of getting used to.
In the first game, whilst not a great deal between the teams in term of ability, it was certainly Whitchurch who found their feet first, and they were a lot more clinical with the chances they produced, deservedly coming away with a comprehensive victory.
The next three games proved much closer affairs, with just a single goal being the difference between the teams in the three game.
As each game progressed the Caerphilly girls showed improvement, and it was great to see Katrina get on the scoreline in her first competitive set of games for us, as well as Ava getting on the scoresheet a few times to keep the opposition within touching distance. Elsewhere, Tayla and Grace were as competitive as ever in the middle of the park, whilst in the final game Scarlett playing sweeper played an absolute blinder protecting Heidi in goal who made a few great saves and was only beaten by two rasping shots even the great Neville Southall would have struggled to deal with!
Whilst the results may not have been as desired, it was great to see the progress in footballing know how develop with the under 9s, and with a little more luck and effort, I’m sure their next victory will just be around the corner.
It was a day the Under 11s made significant strides forward however.
In previous weeks, the experience of the other teams within the Under 11s category has clearly been evident, and in fairness, its been quite a difficult time for our team to maintain competitiveness throughout the matches they’ve played. Not today however.
Playing on the bigger grass pitches seemed to really suit the Caerphilly youngsters, and in their first match against the hosts they competed man for man throughout, and could easily have come away from the game with a result. With Chrissy bossing the defence keeping the whole team in check, and Sofija once again playing out of her skin in goals a really tight game ensued. Baglan broke the deadlock, but weren’t able to maintain the lead for long before strong Caerphilly pressure led to a mix up in the home teams back line resulting in a very unfortunate own goal. Both teams had opportunities to win the game though it was the experience of Baglan which ultimately paid off, and with the home crowd cheering them on, they found the opportunity to poke home the winner.
The Under 11s 2nd game however, was the one which showed the true ability of the girls. Down to 6 a side as Llantwit were a couple of players short, Caerphilly bossed large period of the game. Llantwit however certainly were not there to be rolled over, and it was evident that whenCaerphilly attacked, Llantwit F were more than capable of turing defence into attack with a quick break, and only some stoic defending form Megan, Tara and Chrissy prevented them taking the lead.
It was however Caerphilly who managed to break the deadlock, when Sienna managed to find some space in the area and slot home for her first “competitive” goal for the Castle (much to the delight of the coach), and the cheers of celebration could be heard over by the U9s as they prepared for their third match. Not to be outdone, Sophie then latched on to a great through ball from Megan and made it two nil, and a maiden victory for the Under 11s looked within their grasp.
As mentioned though, Llantwit refused to lie down, and having got one goal back they continued to pressure the Caerphilly defence, leading to Sofija into making numerous more saves. With 30 minutes up on the clock, and well into “Fergie time”, their persistence paid off and they snatched an equalizer right at the death.
It was quite a hard blow to take for the Castle team to take, but they can be sure to look back on the games today with pride and a huge increase in self belief. Surely their first victory is just around the corner.
A great days football all in all. Many thanks to out hosts Baglan, and all the other teams for making it such an enjoyable day. Easter Sunday next week so no matches, but we will all be looking forward to fixtures in a fortnight to move that extra step forward.