Fine home win for the U13s



Jake (2), Rudi, Walleed.

The magic of the cup came to St. Mark’s park this Sunday. The under 13s pitted against a team from leafy, middle-class Chiswick. The visitors turned up in their smart navy blue and white shirts only to be ordered to wear bright orange bibs to avoid clashing with the home team’s kit, much to the annoyance of their manager.

Once again the Dragons started slowly as the visitors put us under pressure from the opening whistle. Two corners in quick succession were early signs that we were playing a team that showed a lot more resilience and grit than belied their salubrious postcode.

The Dragons survived, due almost single-handedly, to Jordan between the posts. When the home keeper was called into action he produced a string of excellent saves that kept his team in the match. One in particular deserves a special mention, tipping a rasping shot over the bar. As the Dragons slowly started to impose themselves on the match, Jake broke forward with zeal from midfield and unleashed a shot from the edge of the box. It was almost a carbon copy of the one Jordan had saved a few minutes earlier at the other end but this one flew over the keeper’s finger tips and nestled in the net. One nil to the Dragons against the run of play. The goal seemed to settle the early Dragon nerves and they began to play with more endeavor and purpose. When they opened up the visitors defense again Jake was presented with an opportunity to double the home side’s advantage but somehow he struck the post with the goal gaping before him. It was now a very even match with both teams playing good football. Towards the closing minutes of the first period Chiswick applied more pressure and rained in corners on the Dragons’ goal. Eventually they found their breakthrough, poking the ball home at the near post, inevitably from a corner. Felix had a fine shot that ricocheted off the bar just before the interval, which meant the teams went into half time with the honors even.

The Dragons reshuffled personnel at the break to try and bring our explosive right winger, Sidney, into the game more. The plan worked. Sidney broke down the right and delivered a peach of a cross on to the head of Rudi, who planted a textbook, downward header into the bottom corner of the goal.

The second half developed a similar pattern to the first. Hard fought between 2 evenly matched teams but the Dragons were retaining possession better and moving the ball with more purpose. Waleed, ‘the Ice Man’, finished a penetrating move with a trademark, ruthlessly cool finish to make it 3-1. Kass, playing out of position at left back, was having a great game. Tenacious and determined in the tackle and always willing to get forward. Then disaster struck. Jake took a shot and it deflected past the Chiswick keeper into the goal making it 4-1. And from that moment the Dragons eased off and allowed their opponents back into the match. They had a shot that took a nasty bobble in front of Jordan and bounced out of his grasp and the onrushing attacker bundled the ball into our net before colliding with our keeper. That was the last action Jordan saw and two minutes later the game was brought to an end. This was the most satisfying performance yet by the Under 13s. They are implementing what they are learning in training and in matches and growing in confidence with the results that this is bringing.

After a trip to St. Charles hospital it was revealed that our heroic keeper had fractured his clavicle. We all wish him a speedy recovery and dedicate this victory to him. Get well soon, Jordan.