Caerphilly Castle u10s travelled to the Gol for the final time this season, with winter program drawing to a close in the Cardiff sunshine. A squad of 12 made the trip in the shape of Skye, Ella, Kate, Ellie-May, Layla, Grace, Meg B, Lexi, Summer, Ava, Sophia and Tayla. The large squad meant the ability to swap the entire outfield at the midway point in each game.
Up first was Porth Afc, and although Caerphilly did play well in patches it was generally a slow start for the yellows. Porth took an early lead and although Grace levelled proceedings by finishing off a nice move involving Sophia and Ellie-May they never really found top gear and were always chasing the game. A further two goals in the second period from the claret and blues saw them finish the game stronger.
The second opponents were the Porth neighbours, Hopkinstown. Caerphilly started this game with much more attacking intent and within two minutes Caerphilly had opened the scoring. A through ball down from Kate found Tayla who unleashed a thunderbolt from the right hand touchline past the Greens keeper.
Hopkinstown then scored with two strong shots of their own to take the lead before a Layla squared pass allowed Kate to slot home and bring the tie level with the half way point approaching. A clever one two with Tayla then saw Layla shoot low into the net from the right hand side and put the yellows noses in front at the half way point. A quick switch of outfields for the yellows added some extra energy, which was quickly turned into a flurry of goals. First up was Grace who slotted home powerfully after cutting in from the right. Next it was Ava’s turn to get in on the act with a great lobbed effort from the left hand touchline, which looped over the green’s keeper and into the top corner of the net. Grace rounded off the scoreline with another strong run and cool finish from just outside the box.
Game 3 brought on the challenge of Pontnewydd. Perhaps, after the strong performance of the last game Caerphilly were a little complacent and the Gwent outfit took full advantage racing to a two goal advantage at the half way point, with only some unbelievable saves from Summer preventing a bigger deficit. A quick switch of outfield fives saw a swing in momentum and soon Caerphilly were celebrating their first goal. Strong defensive play by Lexi and Meg, set Ella free down the right. Ella’s dogged style saw here break through two tackles and square it to Layla how fired the ball into the bottom right corner.
What followed was 4 minutes of Caerphilly position in the opposition goal mouth, where shot after shot were cleared or pushed wide. Tayla, Layla and Lexi all had efforts parried or blocked as the yellows chased the equalizer, but it wasn’t to be with the hooter going just as another shot was about to come in.
Game 4 was against the strong Treowen outfit. The Gwent side raced to a 2-0 lead after some superb pass and move football. Some great defensive play from Meg and Lexi kept Caerphilly in the hunt, and just after the half way point Caerphilly were back in it when a Ellie-may got a well deserved goal after breaking through from midfield and firing home from outside the area.
Treowen then has a period of pressure, and pinned Caerphilly into their own half for several minutes. The pressure paid off as they finished the game off with another goal to take the game away from the battling yellow.
With 6 of the team now leaving to mascot for Cardiff City ladies it was left to Skye, Summer, Layla, Kate, Ella and Tayla to play out the last game of the day against Barry Town girls. With the girls adapting to some new positions, Barry got onto the scoresheet first, much to the delight of the opposition fans. The girls however then stepped up a gear and played with real fluency and determination, with Kate and Tayla looking rock solid at the back and Skye, Ella and Layla running tirelessly to dominate possession for long periods. Caerphilly levelled up the game when a challenge from Tayla set Layla free on the half way line, who then rounded two defenders before slotting home for a great solo effort. Caerphilly pushed and pushed and although had one strong chance when Ella found herself in space, came up against a resolute Barry defense. Although playing some excellent football, with clever interplay and passing from the front three, they couldn’t quite finish the day on the high perhaps they deserved.
All around a very entertaining mornings football, and although exciting to move back to the grass pitches and 7-a-side games the girls will look back fondly on successful 8 weeks at the Gol centre.
Well done to Ella who took the award for player of the day, who run herself into the ground over the 5 games and rounded it off with an excellent midfield display in the final game against Barry Town.
Thanks Porth AFC, Hopkinstown, Pontnewydd, Treowen and Barry for five games played in great spirit throughout