Under 13 Match Reports 2017-2018

11th March 2018: Jason Rawlins

Robins U13 3-3 Lydiard Youth (5-4 on pens)

Robins through to County Cup final after thrilling cup tie

A bright and sunny spring morning saw Robins step onto a slightly unfamiliar 11v11 pitch for this Wiltshire County Cup semi-final against our old adversaries, in a variety of different guises down the years, Lydiard Youth. The league games between the two sides this season have been close and hard-fought contests so hopes were high that this would be a decent cup tie.

It's fair to say that Robins didn't start as sharply as we would have liked, as Lydiard snapped straight into a Blitzkrieg attack which caught Robins napping twice to leave us 2-0 down after just 4 mins. At that point, it looked like being quite a long morning!

Where it would have been easy for panic to set in, instead the early shock seemed to bring the lads to life. We started to play some decent football, make better decisions on and off the ball, and through sheer will pushed the momentum of the game back the other way. So we went into the break still 2-0 down but as coaches much happier with the way the last 31 minutes of the half had gone than the 1st 4!

At half time we kept it light and just asked the lads to keep working, keep creating good chances and try to keep the Lydiard dangermen quiet! We started the second half the brighter of the two teams, although there were chances at both ends, and Olisa and Sonny had to be sharp in the centre back positions, not to mention some excellent work from Chivs.

We kept piling the pressure on and it paid off 15 minutes into the half when Lewis made a superb run with the ball deep into the Lydiard half and found Morgan with a great pass that Morgan matched with a rocket shot high into the roof of the net. While that felt like a definitive shift of momentum, we were still a goal down and you are always vulnerable to the very effective Lydiard attack.

Jowan was working his socks off to ensure those chances were limited though, and bossing the midfield, along with Tom, both working hard to prevent Lydiard developing attacks while starting our attackers off. On the right Morgan was on fire, and with just over 10 minutes left of the regulation 70, Morgan made a brilliant jinking run into the box which panicked the Lydiard defence into bringing him down and Tom coolly slotted away the resultant penalty to draw the scores level. Both teams had decent chances to win the game in normal time (in particular, kudos to Chivs for a couple of crucial point blank saves!) but as the clock wore down, the game went into 2x10 mins of extra time.

Lydiard regained the initiative with a well-worked goal in the 4th minute but crucially the lads didn't let their heads drop, but just kept playing their football, and as in normal time they regained the upper hand but without being able to find the goal. We went into half time of extra time much as we had in normal time, pleased with the way the lads were playing and confident they could find the goal they needed to level the tie and, when we asked them if they could find that goal in the last 10 minutes of extra time, they reckoned they could and even another to win. They set out into the second half of extra time full of that confidence and asking all the right questions of a Lydiard side now clinging on to their lead. And in fairness they defended like Trojans, battling to push back wave after wave of attack. As the half wore on, we pushed more forward and they dropped more back until approaching the final minute of extra time we seemed playing the rarely used 1-1-8 formation, while Lydiard looked like a 9-1-0 as they defended like their lives depended on it. As the game entered the final 30 seconds, it seemed as though that desperate defending had been enough for Lydiard to hold on to their lead, but the Robins lads weren't about to give up. Some excellent work from Lewis found JP on the left and he in turn found Tom at the edge of the box and he half-turned and half-twisted to carve out just enough space to squeeze off a shot to equalise with seconds left. Cue pandemonium on the Robins bench, fans and not least on the pitch.

So with the game all square at the end of extra time, the rules say the tie is to be decided by penalties and it takes real guts for the five lads who stepped up from both sides to put themselves on the spot (literally!), heroes every one of them. Even five penalties each couldn't divide the two teams, and with the score at 4-4, we went into sudden death. Neither of the 1st two sudden death penalties were scored, and with the 2nd Lydiard sudden death penalty having gone astray, if Robins could score now we'd take the tie. Cometh the hour, cometh the man as the saying goes and up stepped Chivs, who'd done so much to keep us in the game at vital times in both normal time and extra time. He coolly dispatched his pen to send us through to the County Cup Final and there can't have been a more delighted lad in the whole of Wiltshire at that moment on Sunday morning, but closely followed by his team-mates who rightly mobbed him with congratulations.

It's a heartbreaking way to lose a cup tie, especially after you've played so well, so we were very proud to see the lads go over and congratulate and commiserate with the Lydiard players who they are all mates with, and who many of them play alongside in JPL or Swindon Schools' Reps teams. That spoke volumes about the excellent spirit in which this game was played by both sides.

Our best wishes to Lydiard for the remainder of their season, they have another crack at Cup glory with the League Cup semi final in a couple of weeks, while we will look forward to the County Cup Final at the end of April.

This was a thrilling cup tie, which neither side deserved to lose, but someone had to win. But more than that it epitomised everything youth sport should be about - competitive, hard-fought, both teams determined to play their best, both wanting to win, but also both upholding the highest standards of respect for each other and the sport they love. That is something that will stay with them long after memories of the game itself have faded.

Goalscorers

  • Morgan (50)
  • Tom (pen) (58)
  • Tom (extra time) (90)

Player of the Match

  • All of them!
Impossible to pick a Man of the Match today, every player gave it their all and the resilience they showed to battle their way back into the game not once but twice, speaks volumes about the character of these lads. Proud to be their coaches!
 
4th February 2018: Jason Rawlins

AFC Newbury Colts 1-1 Robins U13

Great away performance sees Robins claim a point in game neither side deserved to lose!

With little football being played over the last few weeks due to weather, we were grateful that the weather gods finally smiled on us this week for a battle of two teams unbeaten in the league.

Robins cut out the early pace and could, possibly should, have been two or three up after 15 mins, but the Newbury keeper was in good form. He wasn't the only one, though, as Chivs was in superb form down the other end of the pitch, brilliant shot-stopping, great positioning, organising his defence really well, the whole package!

Robins were definitely edging the first half with Lewis looking sharp both up front and then on the left and Tom and Jowan forming a superb partnership in the middle. The defence were well organised and it was great to see Sonny looking like he was on his way back to his best. Special mention too for Morgan who was definitely "up" for the game and was a constant threat.

But Newbury are a top team and they defended really well to keep us out, so the first half ended nil-nil but with the Robins coaching team probably the happier on the sidelines. We knew Newbury would come out firing and so it proved - this time it was us having to hold off fierce pressure but there was no finding any way past Chivs who was pulling off saves and stops from the top drawer.

Which isn't to say, it was all Newbury attacks, we were playing plenty of nice attacking football of our own and 10 minutes into the half, Jowan went on a brilliant run through the Newbury rear-guard, driving his way into the 6-yard box to the right of the goal, where he had the vision to pick out Tom making a great run into the middle and he crashed the ball into the bottom corner of the goal to put us 1-0 up.

Newbury piled on the pressure but fair play to the Robins lads, they defended resolutely, with real intelligence and resolve. 10 minutes later though, Newbury finally did find a way through and got the equaliser that in all fairness they deserved, albeit our defence and especially Chivs didn't deserve to concede!

With the momentum shifted, it would have been easy for our lads to let their heads drop especially as Newbury racheted up the pressure still further in their quest to find a winner. But the boys held firm and while both teams created good chances, neither could quite find the finish to break the deadlock. The game finished all level at 1-1 and that was probably about right, as neither side deserved to lose what had been an absolutely thrilling game between two top teams.

Goalscorers

  • Tom (45)

Player of the Match

  • Matt Chivers
In a match that saw excellent performances all over the park, Chivs still stood out, a stunning perfomance with some outstanding saves.
 
14th January 2018: Jason Rawlins

Bishops Canning U12 0-2 Robins U13

Determined display sees Robins through to County Cup semi-final

Thanks to weather and school holidays, we'd not had a game since November so the lads were raring to go as we headed to Beversbrook to take on Bishop Cannings U12’s in the Quarter Final of the Wiltshire County Cup. We warned the lads not to be fooled by the team playing up a year - they have already disposed of a couple of U13’s teams who demonstrated the danger of underestimating them.

It was a gloomy day and the pitch was not the best, muddy and churned up - the same for both teams but not conducive to passing football. Robins started the stronger and with Tom and Lewis in partnership up front, we carved out a couple of early chances but nothing clear cut. The signs however were positive. Defensively we were looking resolute with BC trying to catch us on the break. As the first half progressed we continued to create chances - Tom smashed one against the bar, Morgan had a chance at the back post, Lewis went close and JP had a couple of chances in the box. At the other end, we never really looked in danger but with the lack of a goal this always leaves you vulnerable to being hit on the counter.

At half time the message was clear - keep going, keep calm and composed and try to be more clinical in front of goal – easier said than done. Second half was very much a rerun of the first, a strongly fought contest with both teams battling hard. Among several decent chances, Lewis had his magic feet on and weaved thru 3 or 4 players into the box but dragged his shot just wide of the goal, great individual effort though. The Robins defence were on top form today and snuffed out most of the dangers posed by Bishops Cannings, special mention in this regard to Chivs who was masterful in goal, brilliant positioning and commanded his area superbly.

Yet despite playing well, we were unable to break down a resolute Bishops Cannings defence over the course of the regulation 70 minutes and so the game went into 10 minutes each way of extra time. Fortunately we know this group are a fit bunch of lads so extra time held no fears. Still, we had to wait until the 16th minute of extra time for the breakthrough, as Jowan's determined run into the box was brought to a premature end when he was tripped as he was just about to pull the trigger. Jowan asked Tom to take the resulting penalty and he pushed aside any thought of pressure to step up coolly and smash the ball into the corner.

A one goal lead is always vulnerable and so we needed the extra cushion that came from some great combination play down the left as Alan played a superb ball down the left to Lewis, who danced his way into the box and from a tight angle smashed the ball past the keeper, into the roof of the net - a top-class strike to seal the tie and put us into the semi-final.

This was a tough game against resilient opposition and the we were pleased with the character and determination the boys showed. They didn't allow the pressure of the situation to get to them, they just went about their business, kept playing good football and eventually reaped the rewards their patience and hard work deserved. Best of luck to Bishops Cannings - they played brilliantly and will have a great season if they can sustain that level throughout.

Goalscorers

  • Tom (86)
  • Lewis (88)

Player of the Match

  • Alan De Paula
  • Zak Rawlins
 
26th November 2017: Jason Rawlins

Robins U13 1-3 Ashton Keynes

Lack of composure sees Robins exit Cup at quarter final stage

Our Home at Commonweal was the setting for our League Cup Quarter Final against Div 2 Ashton Keynes, a decent side and we warned the boys beforehand not to be taken in by Div 1 v Div 2, they\'d need to be on their game to earn a place in the semi-finals.

We started brightly and could have opened the scoring on 2 occasions within the first couple of minutes, but failed to quite find the finish and unfortunately the game spiralled downwards from there. Too many players trying to do too much by themselves rather than working as a team, and equally Ashton Keynes had clearly come with a game plan which they executed brilliantly. We allowed that to frustrate us, and bad decisions led to frustration which led to more bad decisions. In the 27th minute, Ashton Keynes scored with a great strike - we hoped at 1 nil we could at least regroup at half time, but just before the whistle a clumsy handball inside the area led to a well-dispatched penalty and we now had a two-goal deficit to overcome.

At half time we asked the players to regain their composure, focus on the task in hand and PLAY AS A TEAM. Sadly, the message didn\'t seem to get through, and the second half started in much the same way as the first. Ashton Keynes got a 3rd with a superb shot after a poor clearance and now we really did have a mountain to climb. We got one back in the 55th minute after a great strike from Lewis scored but by now it was too little to late, Ashton Keynes \"parked the bus\" and resolute defending kept us out.

So we crashed out of the Cup at the Quarter Final stage in a tie that perhaps should have been winnable on paper, but wasn\'t because we approached the game with the wrong attitude. Hopefully this will act as a reminder of how we need to play football, we know the lads are really talented but this isn\'t enough without the hard work and correct mindset that allows that talent to flourish. But let\'s not take anything away from Ashton Keynes either - they got right everything that we got wrong, played superbly as a team and were full value for the win. We wish them the very best of luck in the semi-finals and the rest of the season,

Goalscorers

  • Lewis (55)
 
19th November 2017: Paul Davis

Lydiard Youth 2-3 Robins U13

Robins edge it in in tight away game

After a few weeks of cup action it was back to the League on Sunday and away to our old friends from Supermarine/Ashton Keynes in their new incarnation as Lydiard Youth, always a tight encounter between two good sides and this was to prove no exception.

Lydiard started the brighter of the two teams, causing a few scares with balls in behind the defence for their pacy striker to run on to and within the first 5 minutes were 1 up from just such a ball. This seemed to be the jog that the lads needed to wake up a bit and we started playing some decent football going forward as well as getting a lot smarter at handling a potent Lydiard strike force. Both sides created good chances, with some decent football being played by both teams. We started to win the midfield battle thanks to an excellent partnership between Tom and Jowan playing in the centre, and some good work from Morgan and Lewis on the wing.

As the balance of the game started to tilt back more our way, Lewis found Tom with a good ball into the centre and Tom smashed home the equaliser to bring the game level. At the back, Zak Teddy and JP had shut up shop and suddenly the Lydiard attack started to run out of pitch, with some good work too from wingers tracking back to close down quickly - special mention for Josh H who never gave up chasing down players even when they\'d got past him, keeping the pressure on and helping out the defence. Jowan and Tom were every bit as effective defending as they were attacking, and both made some fantastic box-to-box runs to close down when attacks broke down. But even with all that hard work in defence, an attack of that quality are always going to get some chances to get shots off but when they did they found Chivs in fine form to keep them out.

Just before the 20 minute mark, some more great work from midfield saw Tom give us the lead with a superb strike that no keeper was going to keep out, just reward for a great effort. Again, Lydiard came at us and again, the team played a resolute determined defending game to keep them out, Alan now coming on to put in a great shift at left back allowing JP to push further up the pitch, and Teddy and Zak both looking commanding on the back line. But we also looked threatening going forward, some superb work from Lewis who deserved a goal of his own today although he can be well pleased with the two crucial assists - every bit as important as the finish in creating goals. All this hard work brought us into the break with our narrow 2-1 lead intact, and it was a simple case of asking for more of the same in the second half.

And we got that, some more excellent football with the whole team working really hard for each other all over the pitch. More resolute defending, more determined midfield work, more creative attacking play shut down by a solid Lydiard defence, Morgan especially unfortunate not to get a goal in this half, another great performance from him in the first 20 minutes or so of this half. But first blood in this half went to Lydiard as ex Robin Sam Wiles got on the end of a very well worked team goal after a sustained period of Lydiard pressure. Pleasingly the boys didn\'t let their heads drop after conceding but went straight back into the fray, again all working hard as a team.

As the game ebbed and flowed, both teams had chances to go ahead but neither could break the deadlock and as we went into injury time it seemed destined to finish honours even, but Lewis had different ideas, making a great run down the wing, he fed a superb pass into Will who didn\'t hesitate to drive home, a really classy strike worthy of winning any game, to break Lydiard hearts as they looked to cling on for the draw.

This wasn\'t perhaps one of our most free-flowing performances, it wasn\'t that kind of game. This was a game that called for grit, determination and character - both teams showed that in spades, and our lads can all be very proud of how they dug deep for each other. That resilience, mental strength and sheer gut determination is every bit as important in football as the silky skills and attractive passing football we know we can do, today the lads showed we have the backbone to back that up as well.

Goalscorers

  • Tom (10)
  • Tom (19)
  • Will

Player of the Match

  • Tom Wynn-Davis
 
12th November 2017: Paul Davis

Supermarine U12 (Wilts County Cup) 1-5 Robins U13

Robins through to County Cup Quarter Finals

After securing passage to the League Cup Quarter finals last week, this week saw us back in County Cup action, again with a Quarter final berth on offer for the victor. We had been drawn away to Supermarine U12, many of whom our lot know from playing for the same JPL outfit so we already knew they are a technically strong side who can move the ball around nicely when given the chance. Playing on the big 1st team pitch with no subs was always going to be a challenge against a strong side like this, so it was important that we started strongly.

Apparently those words of advice went unheeded as we started sluggishly and didn't look like we'd be able to string more than two passes together, while Supermarine were spraying the ball around nicely. We got what we deserved from such sluggish play and soon found ourselves a goal down. But credit where it's due, the lads didn't let their heads drop, in fact this seemed to be the spark they needed to start playing. Jowan and Tom took hold of the game in the centre of the pitch and it was Tom who drew us level with a fierce strike from outside the area into the top corner of the net.

We started to play some good football now albeit we still didn't fully exploit the space allowed us on the full-size 1st team pitch. Some excellent work from Morgan and Lewis, both of whom came close to giving us the lead. But it was Tom who put us in front with his (and our) second after Alan found him in a tight space inside the area, Tom turned and cracked in a great strike to put us ahead.

And just before half time Tom turned provider, after making a great run to get down the side, he squared the ball in for Morgan who'd made a fantastic run down the centre and finished with some style to take us into the break 3-1 up.

A bit of a reshuffle at the break as Sonny stepped into midfield where he gave a very assured performance alongside first Tom and then Jowan, largely controlling the game between the three of them. But some good play from Supermarine prevented us from extending our lead several times until 15 minutes into the second half when the keeper got hands to Tom's fierce strike but couldn't keep it out. A couple of minutes after that, Morgan's hard work pressing the Supermarine back line paid off as he forced an error from a goal kick and capitalised with his second.

This was a decent performance, and a bit of a treat for the lads to play on a full size 1st team pitch in a very nice non-League ground. They gave a good account of themselves and did enough to see us into the hat for the Quarter Finals in January

Goalscorers

  • Tom (3)
  • Morgan (2)

Player of the Match

  • Tom Wynn-Davis
 
5th November 2017: Paul Davis

Robins U13 10-1 Highworth H

Robins ease through to League Cup Quarter Finals

After despatching Wootton Bassett in the last round we were drawn against their 3rd division contemporaries Highworth for the 2nd round. Conditions were perfect for football and the boys seemed fired up so all looked good to go.

But anyone who thought Highworth were turning up just to make up the numbers was in for a shock as they took advantage of some sluggish defending to take the lead early on. This seemed to galvanise the lads to step it up and they soon fought their way back to take control of the game. A superb ball from Lewis set Tom up to score the equaliser and now the boys started to flow the way we know they can.

Jowan stepped up with a piledriver before Morgan put his name on the scoresheet and then made a great run down the wing before squaring to Tom to get his second. Superb decision-making from Morgan and very unselfish play to set Tom up rather than try for goal himself. grabbed a couple of goals before Tom got his second with Morgan assisting. Just before half time, Toby played a lovely flick round the corner into Will who didn't hesitate to smash in a brilliant strike, our 5th goal to round out a good 1st half.

We started the second half in equally determined mood - "Kung Fu" Hockin got on the end of a lovely corner from Lewis with a spectacular flying kick to open the scoring in the second half. Alan added another and then set Jowan up for his second. What goes around and all that, as Jowan turned provider, this time for Morgan to score his second. As the game drew to a close JP took us into double figures to set the seal on what was a very good team performance (after a slightly shaky start) and see us progress to the last 8 of the competition.

Goalscorers

  • Tom (2)
  • Jowan (2)
  • Morgan (2)
  • Will
  • Josh H
  • Alan
  • Josh P

Player of the Match

  • Morgan Bridgeman
 
15th October 2017: Sonny James

Robins U13 2-1 Salisbury FC Youth

Heroic 11 battle their way through to next round of County Cup

1st round proper of the County Cup saw us at home to Salisbury FC Youth, the youth team of the reformed semi-pro side now managed at adult level by Steve Claridge, The County Cup is an 11 v 11 competition which always puts a strain on 9v9 teams and today we had the bare 11 players as we had a few out due to injury and family commitments so always going to be a tough game.

With Toby playing up front, he latched onto a few through balls from Alan and could have had a couple of goals if it wasn't for the Salisbury keeper pulling off some tremendous saves in the first 10 minutes of the game. Robins had most of the possession in the first half with Lewis twisting and turning beating players, but just couldn't find the back of the net.

Jowan in midfield controlled the centre of the park by spreading it out wide to Morgan and Will so they could do some flicks and tricks and get some good crosses into the box. Tom broke the deadlock with a turn and shot from outside the box to lob the keeper in the 16th minute of the first half. The Robins continued to dominate for the rest of the half with Alan and Will both hitting the crossbar, but not finding the goal we needed to give us a cushion to go into halftime with.

Salisbury came out flying from the blocks at the start of the second period. Chivs made a few outstanding saves to keep our 1-0 intact, as our defence pulled their socks up and made light of any attack. That got us on the front foot, with Morgan coming close and Olisa with some power drivers. Toby slotted in nicely at the back, with JP moving to left midfield, and tracking back when needed. Lewis got a well-deserved goal after a great run, lofting it over the keeper who touched it with his fingers, but it was just too high for him.

Zak was confident with bringing the ball out from the back and looked like he might be looking to add to the tally. Chivs was called into action a few more times, but Salisbury scored a goal which the Robins would've been proud of, a very well-worked goal to possibly set up a nervy finish. It wasn't enough as Robins saw out the game quite comfortably in the end. This was another battling performance after last week's heroic effort and the lads deserved the win - some great work with no subs.

Goalscorers

  • Tom
  • Lewis

Player of the Match

  • Jowan Partridge
 
8th October 2017: Paul Davis

Robins U13 3-3 FC Salisbury Utd

8-man Robins battle to a 6-goal draw

This week was our first meeting of the season with FC Salisbury, a quality outfit who we know will always give us a good game. And when you're coming up against one of the best teams in the league, you want your best players available so it was a bit of a blow to say the least to lose Sonny in the warm-up, especially as we already had two players unavailable due to family commitments and one pull out due to illness.

Still, that's the way it goes some weeks and we have confidence in our squad, although it did mean we started out a little disjointed. Salisbury came flying out of the blocks and to be honest were all over us, albeit without making the pressure count, but it's fair to say JP, Teddy, Zak and Chivs were all kept very busy!

So it was slightly against the run of play when on the counter, a very clever little flick from Lewis found Alan in space and he buried it to put us 1-0 up. Great finish from Alan, but brilliant work from Lewis to set him up, very clever creative play. That rocked Salisbury a little bit but they were soon back on it and Tom and Jowan were having to work really hard in the centre, a great partnership. Then yet another injury set back as Teddy went down winded from a strong challenge and had to come off, a real shame as he'd been having a great game at the back.

A quick reshuffle was required, as Tom dropped into the back and Josh pushed into midfield where he put in a very good, really hardworking performance. More good work from Alan, this time in combination with Josh, set Morgan free to finish well and double our lead with just under 10 minutes of the half remaining. But Salisbury struck back with a superb strike from distance, followed by another a couple of minutes later to send us into the half time break level.

Ordinarily you'd be disappointed at conceding a two goal lead so near to the end of the half, but given all the (enforced) changes we'd had to make and so many players being asked to play unfamiliar roles, we could only admire the hard work and great spirit the lads were showing. We started the second half better than the first and both teams settled down to some very entertaining football, real end to end stuff at times, with both teams desperate to get ahead but determined not to concede.

About 10 minutes in, Morgan was brought down in the box after some excellent work to carve out a chance and stepped up to take the resulting penalty which he calmly buried. Morgan had worked hard all game and deserved a goal for his efforts but sadly that was to be about his last contribution to the game as he too came off injured - the sideline was starting to look like the set of Casualty!

That left us with only 8 players, so Teddy bravely volunteered to come back on and hobble around up front, so that we would at least have the full 9 on the pitch even if he couldn't really put in a full performance. The lads decided on a switch of system to make the most of the personnel on the pitch and try to manage the game, which was a very proud moment for us as coaches - always brilliant to see the lads be able to take control of their own game.

There aren't many teams who could hold their own against Salisbury with (effectively) 8 men for 20 minutes, but the lads set about doing just that. And they held out brilliantly until with 2 minutes left, heartbreakingly, we just couldn't quite clear our lines, despite a superb double save from Chivs, and a deflected shot found it's way in to level the tie.

You couldn't complain about a draw, Salisbury had played well and been on top for much of the game and didn't deserve to come away with nothing. But our lads played like heroes today, and they put themselves on the line time and again to hold on to the lead, so to have it snatched away in the final moments when they'd worked so hard really felt like a cruel blow. Last week, we drew 3-3 away and the lads were, to be honest, a little disappointed. This week we drew 3-3 at home and we were delighted - it's all about context! We couldn't have been more proud of the lads though, the hard work they put in, the way they played in the face of all the obstacles put in their way and the way they took charge of their own game. Heroes, every single one of them.

Goalscorers

  • Alan
  • Morgan
  • Morgan (pen)

Player of the Match

  • All of them!
You genuinely couldn't pick a Player of the Match today, all of them battled incredibly hard and pushed themselves to give everything. Really really proud of all of them
 
1st October 2017: Jason Rawlins

FC Chippenham 3-3 Robins U13

Very much a game of two halfs!

Today saw our first visit of the season to the superb footballing venue at Stanley Park, and as usual the pitches were top quality. With a couple of the squad unavailable and a couple ill but bravely playing anyway, this was always going to be a tricky assignment. However, the early signs seemed good and we created a couple of decent chances and played some nice football. But focus seemed to drift as the first half wore on and we seemed to forget how to play football and play as a team which was disappointing. Chippenham took advantage of our lack of focus to grab a goal and could have got a couple more but for some decent keeping from Chivs.

So, one down at half time and we asked the players if this is how they thought they should be playing. They came up with a few ideas and resolved to try to play as a team and make better decisions. The response was swift and 2 minutes after the restart we equalized through some great teamwork, Tom making good space on the edge of the box and firing in a great shot, low and hard, the keeper got a hand to it but couldn't hold onto it and Morgan was on hand to smash the ball into the net.

But Chippenham soon restored their lead with a well-worked second goal, but unlike in the first half now the lads seemed to have some answers to the questions being asked of them. We were playing some nice football and Morgan was having his best game of the season so far. He was a constant threat down the right and one of his forays down the wing created a great chance for Will who unleashed an absolute thunderbolt into the top of the net that no keeper was stopping. Moments later, the same two were involved again as more good work from Morgan and Will saw the ball fall to Alan lying in wait at the back post to coolly slot home and put us ahead.

Heads now up, we created lots of good chances after this and by now we were playing something more like our normal fare, but just couldn't quite convert the chances into extending the lead. And it wasn't all one way either, as Chivs was called into action a few times, making a couple of excellent one-handed saves. One goal leads do leave you open to a "sucker punch" and 5 minutes from time the hard working and ever dangerous Chippenham left mid created a decent chance that led to the equaliser.

The lads worked hard to restore the lead and get the winner but in the end time ran out. On balance, a poor first half followed by a good second half, a draw was probably about right. If we'd played the way we did in the second half all the way through it could have been a very different story, but that's something the lads will learn from - if you never make any mistakes, you don't get the chance to improve!

Goalscorers

  • Morgan
  • Alan
  • Will

Player of the Match

  • Morgan Bridgeman
 
24th September 2017: Paul Davis

Robins U13 10-1 Wootton Bassett Yellow

Robins comfortably through to 2nd round of League Cup

Following last week's epic journey to the very edges of Wiltshire in the County Cup, this week saw us embark on another Cup journey, in the 1st round of the League Cup and this time we were drawn at home against Wootton Bassett Yellow, featuring ex-Robin Charley Mallard (among others!) in their line up.

The lads set out their stall early as Josh P created a great assist for Josh H to finish in the 1st 30 seconds, must be a contender for quickest goal of the season! Near the 10-minute mark Sonny played Jowan in for a fine finish to double the lead, then it was Jowan's turn to create the goal for Josh H's second.

Not long after Sonny's long ball in from the half way line seemed to take the massed ranks of both sides in and around the area by surprise and nestled into the corner of the net for an impressive long-range goal. Zak was next on the score-sheet, with Josh H the provider this time. And Lewis rounded off the scoring in the 1st half with a great individual run and brilliant finish.

We started the second half much as the first, with an early goal, this time Sonny got his second after latching on to a great ball in from Alan. After a further 5 minutes, Lewis scored his second and, again echoing the pattern of the 1st half, turned provider, this time for Will to open his account for the game.

Possibly the loudest cheer of the morning from both sets of supporters came as Bassett's forward latched on to a great ball out from their defence and with a strong individual run rounded the lone Robins defender and finished calmly to grab a goal for the visitors.

With Robins besieging the Bassett area, there was some excellent defending from the visitors - in particular from the keeper who pulled off a series of brilliant saves all game - to restrict the home team to just one more goal. Josh P making an excellent run down the wing before cutting inside to finish neatly and round off the morning's proceedings.

So a comfortable progression to the second round but some good football played by both teams in a match all the players enjoyed.

Goalscorers

  • Josh H (1)
  • Jowan (8)
  • Josh H (9)
  • Sonny (10)
  • Zak (16)
  • Lewis (35)
  • Sonny (36)
  • Lewis (40)
  • Will (51)
  • Josh P (73)

Player of the Match

  • Sonny James
 
17th September 2017: Jason Rawlins

Alderbury Youth (Wilts County Cup) 0-9 Robins U13

Robins ease through 1st round of County Cup

The first round of this year's County Cup and the draw gave us a round trip of 86 miles to Alderbury Youth!

The format is 11v11 and for the first 20 mins the game was level, however we had plenty of shots but unfortunately many of them were off target. However, we were playing decent football and creating lots of chances. The defence were snuffing out the occasional opposition attack.

However in the 20th minute Teddy was set free and lashed in the first goal to break the deadlock. Two minutes later he was at it again and doubled our tally and his own. Teddy was having a blinder and 6 minutes later assisted for Will to smash in the 3rd. Teddy again assisted on the fourth goal and this time Morgan was the grateful recipient.

So 4-0 at half time, the team were playing well and keeping disciplined. The second half started and Toby, on his debut, soon got the fifth from close range. We had to wait a few minutes then for the next goal flurry, when Josh Hockin made a really brave header to connect with a great cross from Will. Alan was next up to score an absolute belter. Then Toby threaded a good pass to Alan who'd clearly developed a taste for this goalscoring and banged in a second. Finally, the scoring was completed by Sonny who was assisted by a pin-point pass from Jowan, terrific play lads!

So while it was a long old trip, it was an enjoyable run out - job done for the 1st round and let's hope the 2nd round draw is a little kinder on the mileage!

Goalscorers

  • Teddy (20)
  • Teddy (22)
  • Will (28)
  • Morgan (32)
  • Toby (42)
  • Josh H (48)
  • Alan (52)
  • Alan (58)
  • Sonny (65)

Player of the Match

  • Teddy Stubbington
 
10th September 2017: Paul Davis

Robins U13 4-3 Lydiard Youth

Winning start to the season!

The new season saw us start the campaign on familiar ground against familiar opposition but with a "novel" pitch layout which looked like the alien crop circlers had been at it. But that wasn't going to stop both teams playing some good football.

Lydiard struck first when a mistake playing out from the back put a Lydiard player clean through on goal and he wasted no time in burying the opportunity. These things will happen when you encourage the lads to try to play football in the right way, it can be risky at times, and we accept there will be the occasional mistake - not a problem, that's how players learn and develop.

Both teams played some good stuff and the keepers were both called on to make some good saves, also nice to see that despite the goal Chivs kept up with some great distribution from the back. With 10 minutes or so left of the first half, an overenthusiastic challenge on a Lydiard player making a good run toward goal led to a Lydiard penalty and it was well dispatched to double their lead.

Pleasingly, the lads didn't let their heads drop, and instead all redoubled their efforts and kept looking for a way to break down the Lydiard defence, some excellent work in the centre of the park from Jowan and the Lydiard defence always struggling to contain Lewis' tricky runs and skills. For all the good play in midfield, in the end it was a set piece that got us back into the game - with a few minutes left of the 1st half, Alan put in a superb corner that Tom rose majestically to nod home into the net, classic centre half's goal.

So we went into the break a much happier group and with momentum on our side and that certainly showed after the break - we came out firing, with Josh and Will both pressing hard up front. Their determination and persistence paid off when Teddy lobbed in a superb corner that the keeper could not handle and Josh was on hand to force the ball over the line to level the scores

Josh doubled his tally a few minutes later as again his pressing forced a defensive error in playing out from a goal kick, in similar fashion to the opening goal of the game, and he finished calmly to put us ahead.

But Lydiard weren't finished and another strong attack saw them awarded yet another penalty, a little more arguable than the first, but if the ref says it's a pen, then that's what it is. Chivs did well to go the right way and get a hand to it, but it was an absolute net buster and no keeper would have been able to get a strong enough hand on it to stop it going in and draw the scores level once more.

With the game evenly balanced, both teams had some good attacks, Sonny, Tom and Olisa all working hard at the back to keep Lydiard out, while at the other end Will, Lewis and Morgan all had good attacks snuffed out. But yet again set pieces proved Lydiard's undoing as Teddy's wonderful curling effort deceived the Lydiard keeper and defence to sneak in and seal the winner.

In the end, we were good value for the win in what was a bit of an odd game. Scrappy in places but with some good football played by both teams in patches, it was odd that all that good creative play in all departments didn't result in any of the goals - all the goals coming from individual errors and set pieces. But the biggest thing we took from this was the character and resilience the lads showed in coming back from 2 down to eventually take the win. no-one's heads dropped, they just kept playing good football and in the end got the reward they deserved. A promising start.

Goalscorers

  • Tom (34)
  • Josh (39)
  • Josh (40)
  • Teddy (58)

Player of the Match

  • Tom Wynn-Davis
 

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