Today’s fixtures saw Caerphilly Castle U10s travel to Tongwynlais, the home venue of Fairwater Juniors. In contrast to last week Caerphilly were blessed with a squad of 10 and the ability to rest 3 at any one time.
The first game saw Caerphilly take on the home team for the first time since coming up against a footballing masterclass last time around. With a near-full squad however, the yellows were confident of a more closely fought encounter. Starting with Tayla, Danielle and Layla on the sidelines Caerphilly took to the field with Lexi in goals, Ellie-may and Megan H in defence, Ava, Grace and Meg B across the middle and Summer leading the line up front.
A tight but competitive start to the game hinted that Caerphilly would present a strong challenge to the confident Fairwater outfit and were always keen to move quickly on to the front foot when the chances presented themselves. It was clear however that the defensive effort would need to be strong with the home team passing the ball crisply around their home pitch. Early efforts were dealt with well by the rajor-sharp Meg H and classy Ellie-May. Anything that did penetrate the defence was gathered with confidence by Lexi in goals; the reds were kept at bay for most of the first half. Fairwater were gathering momentum though and inevitably got on the score sheet with two quick goals in succession with 10 minutes left, the result of strong attacking defense in the Caerphilly half. Caerphilly brought on Layla, Danielle and Tayla and the fresh legs paid off when a good save by Lexi and a quick restart set free Layla down the left. Spotting the pass she put Grace into space who, after outstripping the home defnce managed to squeeze the shot home at the near post to the left of the advancing Fairwater goalkeeper, a great finish and a much needed confidence booster with 45 minutes of football still to play. Fairwater got back on the front foot and applied constant pressure, however the scoring was to end there.
In the second game against Fairwater FC a few changes were made to give weary legs a rest. Summer took the green jersey with Meg B moved to striker, Layla and Tayla moving alongside Grace in midfield. Buoyed by the strong performance in game one Caerphilly started with pace and purpose. Within 2 minutes Caerphilly had the lead after a good clearance by Ellie-may was gathered by Layla on the half way line. Neat skill took her past the first defender and a strong run to the corner and equally purposeful cross was met by the alert Tayla in the middle, who after making a strong run calmly slotted the ball home from close range – a really pleasing goal that showed how the girls have developed their approach over the start of the season.
The next ten minutes were to become the ‘Layla show’. First to come was another break down the left. After taking a pass from the determined Meg B, Layla again out accelerated the home midfield and with a defender to beat spotted a gap, a shot was coming – it was a well-judged decision as the ensuing rocket of a shot proved too good for everyone and smashed into the top left of the net. This was only a warm up to what came next. From the restart and some Fairwater pressure Layla chased back down the yellows left, gathering the ball 5 meters from her own goal line. A turn saw her ease past the reds attacker before she switched on the after burners and powered into the opponents half. A feint inside saw her move around the next line of defenders on the outside before cutting in and slotting home from 10 yards, an amazing individual goal that had the crowd on their feet. With a comfortable lead behind them Caerphilly seemed to take their foot off the gas and the Cardiff team spotted a chance to get back into the game. Two quick goals meant that the last 5 minutes were going to be a nervy ones. Luckily Caerphilly found an extra gear and who else to latch on to Tayla’s accurate through ball but Layla, who rounded the game off with another superb finish to the bottom right corner.
The last encounter saw the Castle-team take on the familiar opponents of Hopkinstown. A few changes and some new combinations meant Caerphilly took some time to find their feet. The greens started the more assured and raced into a 2-0 lead with superb finishes by their two attackers, neither giving Danielle any chance to keep them out. This shock Caerphilly to the core and duly found their feet. Good pressure in midfield saw Caerphilly take up more and more possession in the Green’s half. Good play by Ava and Meg B eventually found the advancing Ellie-May down the left, who took the ball under control and slotted home from medium range for her first goal for the team. A well deserved reward after a string of strong performances for the yellows defender.
Caerphilly maintained pressure and with Tayla, Layla and Summer now on for the final set of fresh legs the pace lifted further. Great vision by Grace saw a defense-splitting pass land at the feet of the Layla. As in previous games she was in no mood to waste the opportunity, firing past the stranded keeper to bring the scores level. A couple of chances from Hopkinstown were dealt with well by Lexi and Danielle and Caerphilly could sense they had a chance to finish on a high. Strong pressure from Summer meant a turnover in a dangerous position inside the Hopkinstown half. Tayla gathered and moved the ball left into the path of Grace whose pass set free Layla to finish the game with her fifth goal of the day. A great come back and strong finish to a competitive mornings football.
Great spirit showed by all teams on the day and a morning full of smiles and close football. Well done to Fairwater Juniors for hosting excellently and parents alike for the positive support of the girls on display.
Congratulations to Grace who was voted by the players to look after Footy the U10’s mascot for the week