Under 13 Match Reports 2017-2018
Supermarine 2-0 Robins U13
Robins give good account of themselves in last ever U13s Cup Final
So the final game of the season was the Wiltshire FA U13s County Cup Final, the last ever as the County FA are changing the formats for next season. So it was a historic day and one we told the lads to enjoy. They have done brilliantly to get to the County Cup Final, a rare honour that very few young players get to experience.
The game started well with both teams playing some nice football but we seemed to settle the quicker of the two teams and played some great football. However, we were unable to turn dominance in the first 20 minutes into clear-cut chances, in part due to some very good defending from Supermarine and sometimes just not quite getting the proverbial "rub of the green". It wasn't due to a lack of effort though, all the lads were giving it their best shot, with both Tom and Morgan continuing their good form of late and both created a couple of half chances that were snuffed out.
It wasn't until the 23rd minute that Supermarine had their first chance as their striker got onto an early through ball, Chivs did well and came out, enough to send the player wide of the goal, but the chance was still on and the player turned smartly to send the ball goalbound, however all good defenders know in this situation to get back and protect the goal. Sure enough Zak's well-timed leap and powerful header cleared the ball away from danger.
Shortly after Supermarine forced one of the saves of the season from Chivs, with the ball arrowing to the top corner, Chivs' fine leap enabled him to just get finger tips to it and force the ball around the post for a corner. After so much good attacking play and some resilient defending and goalkeeping it was disappointing to concede from the corner, as a stray ball from a 50/50 rolled in. For all our early dominance, when you don't take your chances when you're on top you run the risk of getting hit against the run of play and we had just paid that price.
With 10 minutes of the 1st half remaining, both teams stuck to the task but the game remained at 1 nil and slight advantage to the opposition. We regrouped in the changing rooms, determined to get ourselves back into the game with it all still very much to play for and the lads playing well.
Second half we seemed a little tentative to start with which allowed the opposition to gain in confidence and 5 minutes into the new half the ball was partially cleared and fell to a Supermarine player who was fully 40 yards out. Some sloppy closing down gave him the space he needed to unleashed a proper "worldie", an outstanding goal that would grace any cup final!
After this the game ebbed and flowed and although we created a few more chances, as time ran on we struggled to create anything clear cut to give us that foothold goal we needed to ask the big questions of Supermarine. We did create a few half chances, such as when JP made a brilliant run down the left to get in behind the defence and a goal mouth scramble ensued but nothing came of it. A phsyical challenge saw Tom hobble off for the final 10 minutes which necessitated some changes in formation we probably wouldn't have made voluntarily. As the clock ticked down, Supermarine shut up shop and rightly defended their lead to hold on.
All in all, it was a tight game between two good sides and the lads gave a really good account of themselves. They can be proud of their efforts and while they would undoubtedly have preferred to have been going home with gold winners' medals rather than silver runners up medals, very few players get an opportunity to win either. A good day out and while a disappointing result, a performance they can be proud of to cap a decent season.
Robins U13 8-2 Cirencester
Superb performance for final league game of the season
The lads had been asked to work hard and to continue playing in the same way as the last 2 games, to banish the result against Cirencester from a couple of weeks ago. We had a couple of the boys unavailable but a couple of others back and so we had a bit of a shuffle around in formation. The game started well for us and we created a couple of early sighters, then Tom scored our first after a good through ball from Alan.
This seemed to settle the lads as they created several more decent chances but we had to wait until the 18th minute to extend the lead when the hardworking Jowan won the ball and played it through to Tom who doubled the lead. Minutes later Teddy was the next to assist and give Tom his hat-trick in the 22nd minute. Then on the half hour mark, Chivs played a quick ball upfield to find Tom who skilfully rounded the keeper to give us a 4-0 lead at half time.
A 4 goal lead at half time looked comfortable but the game was far from over and the lads were warned at half time not to be complacent - Ciren would come firing out of the blocks looking to get back into the game. Sure enough 7 minutes in and they had grabbed 2 goals back. However, the Robins players were in good form tonight and not in a mood to let their heads drop, their determination exemplified when after a goalmouth scramble Will jabbed home from close in. Minutes later Jowan restored the 4 goal advantage as he grabbed a well deserved goal after great work from the ever tricky Morgan. Alan then added to his 1st half assist with a goal of his own, following up after Jowan's initial effort was saved. The scoring on the night was rounded off with a goal of sublime quality, Lew picked the ball up quite a way out and after some trickery created enough space to fire a superb lob over the keeper and bury itself nicely in the back of the goal.
All in all a very good, professional performance that rounded off the league season on a really high note.
- Tom (4)
Robins U13 1-3 AFC Newbury Colts
Good game for first of two this week
First of 2 games this week and a chance to keep our good form going. We know Newbury are always a tough challenge and although both teams started well, Newbury had the better of the early exchanges, hitting the bar and post at various stages.
The pressure paid off as Newbury finally took the lead in the 15th minute, taking good advantage of a slight lapse in concentration. We were actually playing pretty well, but Chivs was still kept busy by a good attacking side, and he made a number of great saves to keep us well in the game. Both wingers were having good games and the forward line were keeping the Newbury keeper's hands warm.
The second half saw Newbury grab a 2nd early on, which was a little frustrating, but we responded well and hit the bar ourselves a few minutes after the restart which would have made things interesting. Again the football was decent but occasionally we seemed a little subdued/tired, perhaps understandably given the glut of games at the end of the season.
As the game drew to a close, Newbury scored again to put the game to bed. But they didn't have the last word as we forced a corner in the last minute. Morgan delivered a great ball in which Newbury half cleared and the ball bounced out to Zak who threaded it through a sea of legs to find the bottom corner - a bit late to affect the game but a great goal nonetheless and a good note to end on.
Player of the Match
- Morgan Bridgman
- Matt Chivers
FC Salisbury Utd 1-3 Robins U13
Fine performance rewarded with good away win
With the season already going on far longer than usual, we are paying the price for dreadful weather this winter with a slew of midweek fixtures. This evening we were at the southern tip of the League's territory with an away game to FC Salisbury, always a tough encounter but always one to enjoy as both sides look to play good football.
Earlier in the day we were looking likely to be a little short, with injury and illness all playing their part; however fair play to the team spirit and parental help we managed to field a full team and a packed bench.
The game started brightly and lived up to expectations as the football from both teams was a pleasure to watch and of the highest calibre. Although we were playing well we weren't quite getting the clear chances our play deserved. If anything playing downhill on the slope seemed to hinder rather than help us as several promising through balls ran away from us. Salisbury always looked dangerous on the counter and with one excellent move, they broke the deadlock to take a 1-0 lead into the break.
We weren't dispirited though and at half time it was simply a case of asking the lads to keep playing as well in the second half as they had in the first, and a quick tactical adjustment courtesy of Head Coach Lewis! Now we were playing up hill and that seemed to help us as we had to play the ball out from the back and develop play through the thirds. 10 minutes into the half we got the reward our good play deserved as some great play from Lewis enabled Tom to get a shot off which the keeper parried but could not hold, JP was on hand to finish with his quick feet and pushed the ball under the keeper from close in.
A few minutes later we took the lead after some good quick play saw the ball played out wide to Morgan who took the ball in his stride and delivered a great ball into the middle setting Tom into a foot race with the Salisbury defender and the onrushing keeper, he rounded the keeper and coolly slotted home. Just over 5 minutes later and that Tom/Lewis combination came into play again as Lewis cleverly played Tom in, Tom slid the ball across the box to find Morgan who met the pass with a brilliant run and finished with great composure. A really great passage of play which thoroughly deserved to be rewarded with a goal and put us 3-1 up.
This was far from a one-sided half though and Salisbury were piling on the pressure, requiring the lads to be every bit as resolute in defending as they were creative in attack, with some excellent work to get back and defend in numbers when required, not to mention some good saves from our stalwart of the sticks, Chivs. Both sides created good chances, but neither could quite find the target. As the clock ticked down the team did a great job of staying disciplined and game management to hold off some strong Salisbury pressure.
This was a fine team performance and a thoroughly entertaining game to watch, well done to both teams.
- Josh P (44)
- Tom (48)
- Morgan (55)
Player of the Match
- Tom Wynn-Davis
- Morgan Bridgman
Cirencester 3-2 Robins U13
Ciren good value for the win in away defeat
Thanks to a terrible winter, we have quite a backlog to make up so the games are coming thick and fast now. Cirencester came into the game on a high, having chalked up their first points of the season last week aginst Salisbury.
Our lads seemed up for the challenge and indeed started brightly enough. Unfortunately we lost Lewis to injury 15 minutes into the game, which was a huge blow, but one we should have been able to manage with plenty of options on the bench.
We were trying to play football and there were some decent passages of play but these were unfortunately mixed in with lapses in focus/concentration that meant we never fully got on top. However we did take the lead when the Ciren keeper fumbled a long clearance from Teddy and Tom was on hand to add to an already impressive tally for the season, with his 18th goal. With just 8 minutes remaining of the half it was disappointing that we conceded 2 goals due to sloppy lapses in concentration, but full credit to Cirencester who were well organised and focused where we were not.
We began the second half much as we had the first, with some good play and players trying to pass the ball and create chances, however we sometimes kept hold of the ball too long when a quick pass would have been the better option.
We did carve out a number of good chances but without managing to find the finish. Cirencester kept their shape well and kept battling and playing as a unit, leading to a well-worked third goal.
With just under 10 minutes left, came one of the highlights of the season, when a corner was slung in on the Ciren goal, they pushed it out but only as far as Teddy who's clever movement found him well-positioned but still plenty of work to do. He took it on the half volley and hit it with one of the sweetest struck shots I have seen for years, it arrowed its way through everyone and into the corner of the goal. Absolute rocket, just unstoppable.
With only a few minutes left on the clock we pushed forward to find the equaliser but Cirencester defended their lead tenaciously and time ran out.
Cirencester were good value for the win, they were well organised and hard working where we were perhaps a little complacent and unfocussed at times. All of which is all just part of the learning cycle as we watch our young players develop.
Player of the Match
Supermarine 3-2 Robins U13
Greatly improved display away to Supermarine
The terrible weather over the winter meant we were going weeks at a time without a game so now the tail end of the season is a rush of multiple games in a week, so it was that we found ourselves playing this away fixture on a Tuesday evening.
Anyone who thought spring had finally arrived will have wondered what hit them this evening was we endured a cold evening of wind and fierce rain as winter returned with a vengeance. This was our return fixture against Supermarine after the abject display of a couple of weeks ago and the aim was to compete and have a better result than last time.
The game started well with both teams probing and playing the decent standard of football that you would expect from two top Div 1 teams. The battle for midfield supremacy was hard fought with Tom and Jowan both giving a good account of themselves, Jowan especially doing well in the face of some very physical play at times.
Just before the 10 minutes mark a lapse of concentration allowed Supermarine to break and they took the chance to go 1 up. We had a few chances of our own, JP was having a superb game and created a great chance to equalise but alas the Robins striker couldn't quite make contact with the ball. Another lapse of concentration 20 minutes in allowed Supermarine to double their lead which was all the more disappointing as we we were playing some really decent football. Finally our hard work was rewarded when a sublime bit of skill and run from JP put the ball on a plate for Tom to get us back into the game, taking us into the break a goal down.
As the second half restarted, Supermarine started the half more lively and grabbed another goal, but this was far from game over as Robins doggedly stuck to their task. We defended well on the whole and certainly battled well to break down a strong Supermarine defence. Towards the end of the game our high pressing game paid dividends when Morgan's good work paid off as the keeper, trying to play the ball out, got caught in possession, Morgan pounced and jabbed the ball over the line. With only 1 goal in the game, Robins pressed and pressed but alas couldn’t quite find the equaliser. Supermarine held on for the points but it was a nervy finish for them and this was a world away from our previous encounter, a much improved performance.
Player of the Match
- Josh Paulin
- Jowan Partridge
Robins U13 2-3 FC Chippenham
Errors prove costly against well organised Chippenham
After another 3-week break in this frustratingly stop-start season, the first game back was always going to be tough. It helps a few who were carrying knocks but does mean a few were a little rusty, especially at the tail end of the Easter holidays, too many late nights, Xbox & chocs, perhaps! The break had also allowed the friendly neighbourhood badgers to excavate the pitch and the surface was dubious in places.
We started the game brightly and Robins were definitely in the ascendancy, but although we created plenty of chances we just couldn't convert them. If you don't take your chances when you have them you always lay yourself open to the opposition taking theirs and so it proved as an error in defence allowed Chippenham to take the lead.
Five minutes later we were awarded a fortunate penalty and which Tom stepped up to equalise with. Going into the last 10 mins of the period, Zak played a superb ball out from defence to Alan, who showed great awareness to turn and play another super ball into Tom who buried it, a well-worked team goal.
But our good work was undone when on the verge of half time we failed to clear the ball from a frenetic goal mouth scramble, and Chippenham reacted quickest to bundle the ball over the line.
Chippenham come firing out of the blocks in the second half and took an early lead from a decent strike. Despite plenty of effort we couldn't find a way back into the game and with Chippenham defending resiliently, players seemed to tire as the lack of recent football seemed to take it's toll, giving Chippenham a hard-fought win.
Player of the Match
Robins U13 1-5 Supermarine
Poor 15 minutes gives game away
With the weather finally relenting, we were able to play our first league game in 6 weeks, at home to Supermarine. The game got off to a cautious start as both teams created several half chances but neither could find the finish. Defending was resolute by both sides until the 19th minute when one lapse in concentration after another gave Supermarine control of the game, as a disastrous 15 minutes saw us concede 5 goals, ending the game as a contest.
So it was a slightly shell shocked group at half time, but this group of lads are superb at times and we asked them to reset and see if they could go out and win the second half. (In the words of a prominent meerkat – Simples!!)
The half started off much better and the team showed a renewed focus with several players playing really well. We created more and defended better, so the game ebbed and flowed in a really good contest. The only goal of the half came when Tom was brought down after a driving run into the Supermarine box, scoring the subsequent penalty to ensure we did indeed win the second half 1-0 (but lost the match 5-1).
The performance as a whole wasn't too bad, but a very poor 15 minutes proved extremely costly as errors compounded each other. Very pleasing though that the boys showed the resilience and determination to pull themselves together and play to the standard they set themselves in the second half.
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.
- Morgan (50)
- Tom (pen) (58)
- Tom (extra time) (90)
Player of the Match
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!
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.
Player of the Match
In a match that saw excellent performances all over the park, Chivs still stood out, a stunning perfomance with some outstanding saves.
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.
Player of the Match
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,
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.
Player of the Match
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
Player of the Match
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.
- Tom (2)
- Jowan (2)
- Morgan (2)
- Josh H
- Josh P
Player of the Match
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.
Player of the Match
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.
Player of the Match
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
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!
Player of the Match
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.
- 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
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!
- Teddy (20)
- Teddy (22)
- Will (28)
- Morgan (32)
- Toby (42)
- Josh H (48)
- Alan (52)
- Alan (58)
- Sonny (65)
Player of the Match
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.
- Tom (34)
- Josh (39)
- Josh (40)
- Teddy (58)
Player of the Match
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