For the second match in a row, the U10s were still asleep at kick off, despite it being 11:30. Yet again we were a goal down within the minutes as Ashington ran through the defence and scored. To make matters worse, by the end of the quarter they had scored another two!!
Two substitutions and some re-organisation was made to try and stop the flow of goals, but when Ashington scored their fourth, I started to wonder what we could do to stop a cricket score.
The end of the second quarter saw another substitution and another re-organisation, all followed up with a good team talk. The lads had to keep their heads up going into the third quarter. They were told all they had to do was score five goals in the next two quarters to win the game.
What a quarter this turned out to be. First Besty got through the centre and hammered one past the keeper followed quickly by Brooklyn doing the same. The lads were passing the ball well and running at the Ashington defence while the Spartans defence was a lot more solid. Then Cratey, on his Spartans debut, got into the scoring act as he was first to react to a loose ball just a couple of yards out. Unbelieveably, he followed this up with another two in the next five minutes so we were leading 5-4 going into the last quarter. What a turnaround and it does show that they listen to what we tell them – well sometimes.
They were now up for the task in the last quarter when they left the team huddle at the start of the third quarter shouting “Spartans” with their confidence at a high and great support was coming from the parents on the sidelines.
This confidence showed in how they were playing as Ashington tried pushing more players forward to get something from the game. Some good hard defending by Lewis P, with Besty dropping back to help, was keeping the ball out of the danger area. Balls were being cleared left, right and centre. When Ashington did manage to create a chance, Dan was more than equal to the challenge with a good brave display of goalkeeping.
A double substitution with five minutes to go brought fresh legs back on in the midfield and kept our defensive momentum going. At times it was backs to the wall and then breaking away to relieve the pressure. With minutes to go, Ashington got a free kick on the edge of the box and it was danger time. However, the wall did its job, even when the ref insisted it was taken again.
The final whistle saw a group of bruised and battered, but victorious young Spartans with what I think was their best result yet as a team. Definitely a day for the team to be proud of!!
All I’m now hoping for in the next game is not to concede in the first quarter as I’m not getting any younger and am ageing quicker than is healthy.