Winter break benefits the U12s

Kensington Dragons U12s 7 v 1 Hillingdon Youth

The first game for the under 12s in 2014 saw them hosting Hillingdon Youth in the glorious March sunshine at St. Mark’s park in a noon kick off. The corresponding fixture earlier in the season had proved to be a tough test for the boys in blue so a close encounter was expected after so long without a game.

The enforced winter break which had seen training sessions moved to the astro turf pitches under the Westway and an aborted attempt to restart their season on a boggy Wormwood Scrubs last Sunday meant the young Dragons were itching to play a competitive match. But would they remember all they had learnt  before Christmas or would they be rusty and back to square one? We were about to find out.

The match kicked off and for the first 5 minutes the Dragons passed the ball around smoothly, playing with composure and confidence. The early signs were good. The opening exchanges were evenly matched as both teams strived to impose themselves on the game. The first goal was going to be important. KD conceded a free kick on the edge of their penalty area and the visitors’ number 8 struck it sweetly, sending it soaring over our diminutive keeper. Luckily it came back off the bar and the Dragons cleared their lines. This was a wake up call for the home team and almost in the next attack, they moved the ball forward and took the lead with the vital first goal. A cool finish by Aziz who had broken through from midfield.

This seemed to settle any nerves and self-belief now seemed to course through the whole team as they remembered exactly how well they could play. They started to turn on the style. It wasn’t long before Waleed had added a second to the scoreline with a cool finish to another flowing move. And we didn’t have to wait long for the third. Felix got the ball out from his feet, something we’ve been working on improving in training, and slotted past the despairing Hillingdon keeper.

The Dragons were winning all the key battles in midfield and mounting wave after wave of attack. Aziz was pulling the strings and any rare Hillingdon forays into our half were being snuffed out by the well-disciplined Dragon’s defence. With their confidence sky high, everyone wanted to get in on the action as the clock ticked down to half time. Our erstwhile goalkeeper, Enrique, showed he’s as adept at scoring goals as he is at stopping them by registering goal number 4, created by some excellent pressing and a neat through-ball by Halvdan.

The half time team talk was relatively straight-forward. ‘Keep doing what you are doing’ was the gist of it. But as the second period began a few lapses of concentration crept into the home team’s performance and they lost their shape as they streamed forward attempting to add to the goal tally. Maybe they felt they had the game won but they seemed to take their foot off the gas and that gave the visitors hope. Hillingdon won a free kick in a dangerous position their number 8 improved on his first half effort by finding the back of the Dragon’s net with the dead ball. Then the visitors were awarded a penalty and we wondered if a fight back was on the cards. Fortunately the penalty hit the post and as if jolted back into life the Dragons regrouped. They broke from midfield and Chester called for the ball and pointed to where he wanted it played. George duly obliged by providing a slide-rule pass into the space and Chester slotted the ball home into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal. The Dragons were back in control, their mini wobble over. There was still time for Waleed to net his second of the game and Tyler to register a debut strike by cleverly checking his run and following up with a clinical finish. It was all about improving our goal difference now and it could have been even better news on that front if it wasn’t for the impressive performance of the away keeper who double-handedly kept the score in single figures.

So a great overall team performance. A 100% record in 2014. The extended break seems to have done wonders for the Dragons. On this evidence maybe we should only play a game once every 3 months from now on.

Thanks for all your support,