With Caerphilly Castle proving a worthy background, our Under 11s started their new season this morning with a set of home fixtures against Cardiff Bluebells, Fairwater Juniors, and Cardiff Crusaders.
With a 5 new players making their club debuts (Seren, Emily, Georgia, Holli, and Maddison), joining 5 regulars from last season Megan, Sienna, Sofija, Emily C and Lucy, we knew the team would take time together to gel, and for all girls to find their feet playing in new positions. However, we were full of hope and expectation of getting off to a good start to the year.
We faced a tough match in the first game, playing Cardiff Bluebells who we had faced in an end of season friendly back in April, where they played us off the park.
It proved to be a very different match this time however, with both teams having periods of domination. There was some great football on display as the Bluebells got their passing game moving, and some swift counter attacking and killer through balls meant they went into the break a couple of goals to the good.
The second half continued much in the same vein. Some great defending form Seren, Lucy and Emily C breaking up countless Bluebells attacks, whilst Holli, Emily and Georgia continued to pose a threat up front. In the end though, the experience of playing much longer together showed, with the Bluebells finishing the game victorious.
In our second match against Fairwater, our Under 11s probably played their best half of football to date, with some great pressing, movement and a stunning goal by Hollie into the top corner giving Castle a one nil lead. Castle continues to press, but it was from a home side corner that Fairwater mounted a superb break to bring the scored back to level at the interval.
With the slope on the side of the away team in the 2nd half, our girls started to find it difficult to get the ball clear form our goals, and Fairwater took full advantage of the conditions. Scoring a couple more, though credit must be given to Sofija in goals, who after managing a series of great saves, found the ball just creep past her. With the crowds unsure whether the ball had crossed the line, she indicated it had and the goal was awarded to Fairwater. A great demonstration on what we are trying to promote within the club – honesty and fair play – we are all very proud of you Sofija.
Our last game against Crusaders proved a very different affair. Castle enjoyed the vast majority of possession, with Megan and Maddison having three great chances to put the Castle ahead. As the game went on, the rain came down and made for a much more difficult game.
0-0 at the break, Caerphilly were hoping to take advantage of the slope. It was Crusaders with one of their few attacks who got the breakthrough when in a crowded penalty area they manage to sneak the ball in, and though a couple of Caerphilly players said the ball was kicked out of the goalkeepers hands, this wasn’t spotted and the goal was awarded.
Caerphilly kept the pressure up, and for the rest of the game remained camped in the Crusaders last third. Packing their box, Crusaders put on an heroic defensive display, and a couple of great saves form their keeper kept strikes from Maddison and Sienna just about out.
In all an enjoyable morning. The Girls are showing a huge amount of potential, and with a little more time and experience of playing together all three results today could have been different. Along with the imminent return of our star sticker form last year Beth, things are looking very good for the future of the Unders 11s, and we look forward to seeing what the next few weeks have in store for us!
Up the Castle!!