This week’s fixtures brought the U10’s to Eastern Leisure centre, for what looked on paper, a competitive triple header against Porth FC, Hopkinstown FC and the home team Cardiff Bluebelles FC.
First up, in the 10am kick off, was Porth FC, a team that Caerphilly now know well and one that always puts in a dogged, skilful performance. For the game Caerphilly looked to counteract the red and blues attacking style by taking up a 3-2-1 formation, with Ava joining Lexi and Ellie-may in the defence. Summer took the green Jersey with Layla, Grace and Megan B lining up in the midfield and attacking positions.
In a real tight encounter early exchanges saw both sides create chances with enterprising play and slick passing. Summer pulled off a string of great saves in the Caerphilly goal while Layla keen to try her luck from range, forcing stops on several occasions from Porth’s on-form goal keeper.
It was Porth who eventually broke the deadlock when a goal clearance landed at the feet of their striker who controlled to fire in from close range. Caerphilly on the back of a string of good performances were not to be put off their stride and within minutes were back on level terms. Great interplay between Megan and Grace on the half way line set Ava free on the right, who shot from 20 yards to the top left corner, a great goal! In a real ding-dong last 10 minutes, with Tayla now on the pitch in attack, Porth again got their noses in front. In a similar fashion to the first goal a clearance found its way to a red attacker who again unleashed a powerful shot to fire past the stranded keeper. Being behind only fired up Caerphilly even more, and after strong pressurising play in midfield between Tayla and Layla, Caerphilly won the ball on the half way line, fed the ball through to Grace who latched on to fire powerfully past the busy Porth keeper. With only minutes left in the game it looked as though it would end all square. It was not to be as again our Achilles heel for the first game struck once more. Not managing to clear some Porth pressure meant a chance fell to the lively Porth attack in front of the Caerphilly goal, their forward again showed great finishing prowess to slot the ball high into the net and round off the game. A fantastic effort that saw strong displays in all parts of the pitch.
Next up was a new team to the yellow and blacks, Hopkinstown. For the game Caerphilly reverted back to a more familiar 2-3-1 with Ava returning to her midfield position. From the off Caerphilly looked to keep pressure on the opponents. It paid off with Grace gathering the ball on the right, cutting inside and finishing calmly to put the Castle in front. A steam of chances followed for Caerphilly but through good ditch defending, goal keeping and the odd stroke of luck none crossed the green’s goal. Layla again showed a real eye for the goal unleashing multiple shots, some from her own half. The persistence paid off when a through ball from Ava found its way to Layla, who unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot to the top right of the goal. Caerphilly continued to apply pressure, with Ellie-may Lexi, and Summer dealing well with any attacks that came their way. It meat that Megan B, in the Caerphilly goal didn’t have a save to make for large parts of the game. The next move saw Hopkinstown look to press into Caerphilly’s half. A through-ball managed to land squarely on Grace’s face, who after a split second to recover, brought the ball down deep in her own half, rounded the advancing Hopkinstown right winger and ran the whole length of the pitch before slotting the shot past the Green’s goalkeeper, another goal for the memory book!
This wasn’t to be the last of the chances. Ava now operating down the right turned and ran a full 40m, before crossing brilliantly for Tayla who couldn’t quite convert for what would have been another great goal. Caerphilly however continued to press and the never-say-die attitude from Layla and Tayla again found Grace in space, who forced it home from close range for a superb hat-trick.
The last of the three games saw the home side, Cardiff Bluebelles take to the field. Playing up the slope and now with Skye bring some fresh legs to the attack Caerphilly were keen to continue where they left off. Megan B again retained the gloves for the first half of the match and was again comfortable in dealing with the few half chances that came her way. Lexi and Ellie-may again showed strong understanding of each others’ play to stop any breaks from the blues before they became too much of a threat. A few home corners did provide the occasional scare, with the home team keeper often coming to join in the attack and create the extra numbers. Caerphilly’s awesome defensive pair, helped now by the impressive Summer in goal, were however keen to make this their 6th clean sheet out of the last 10 games. The midfield as in previous games started to gain control. With Skye showing fantastic energy, chances started to develop for the Caerphilly unit. Layla and Tayla again went close with long range efforts while Ava showed deft skills time again to evade attackers and keep the ball in the blues half. The game however, looked to be heading for stalemate but with 5 minutes left on the clock the ball broke to Caerphilly on the half way line. Layla broke, passing to Grace just inside the half wide on the right. Grace lifted her head and, after spotting that the Bluebelles excellent keeper had taken up a position some 6 yards out of the goal, unleashed a looping shot from all of 25 yards to pierce the top of the net, score her 5th of the day and take the honours for the travelling side.
Three excellent games that again showed real progression in familiarity, energy, bonding and skill from our U10 superstars!!