Under 16 Match Reports 2017-2018
Robins U16 3-1 Royal Wootton Bassett
A good game and a nice home win!
After an illness and injury plagued few weeks, it was nice to be back to a full strength and (largely) fit team for our return fixture against Royal Wootton Bassett.
We started the game well and were good value for an early goal, after a great run out of the back from Eduard saw him play Kyle in and Kyle lobbed the keeper to open the scoring with a well-taken finish. But anyone who thought this would signal a steam-rollering had reckoned without the determination of a gutsy Bassett side who battled hard to repel several strong Robins attacks and always looked dangerous on the counter. Perhaps we should have taken more notice of that danger as some slightly complacent play at the back (and, to be fair, a wicked bobble) allowed the Bassett striker to pop round Max and tap the ball in to level the scores.
That heartened Bassett but also lifted the complacency from Robins and both teams went at it to produce some good end to end football. Shortly before half time, Bonsa thought he'd restored our advantage with a well-taken finish only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.
So we went into the break all square but heartened by the way the boys were playing and simply told them to keep playing the way they were and the goals would come. Sure enough, less than 10 minutes into the second half Joe stepped up to shut down a Bassett attack, won the ball and drove forward, playing in Bonsa who's well-struck shot was saved by the keeper. The keeper couldn't hold the shot though and the rebound fell kindly for Joe who was more than happy to finish well, a fair, but rare, reward for his part in creating the chance. With our lead restored, Robins' tails were up and we started to play some good football, but constantly coming up against a determined Bassett defence.
Some excellent work in midfield from both captain Ben and his partner in crime Tom, and it was a clever through ball from Tom that set Kyle running to score his second with a lovely delicate chip over the onrushing keeper, great finish. Despite creating some great chances, and a few near misses, both Ben and Tommy unlucky not to get on the score sheet, Bassett defended well and we weren't able to extend our lead. Nonetheless a comfortable win and some nice football played.
- Kyle (6)
- Joe (47)
- Kyle (57)
Player of the Match
Played the full back role really well, great timing and a really good understanding of both the attacking and defending parts of the role, very impressive!
Ferndale Rodbourne 3-4 Robins U16
Robins back to winning ways
After last week's late disappointment, this week we seemed to start slowly. Ferndale were quick to take advantage and within the first 3 minutes were 1 up as we got off to a very slow start. Even that shock didn't seem to perk us up, and we continued to look well off the pace for the 1st 10 minutes or so.
Eventually about 15 minutes in, we started to shake off the torpor and started to string together some decent passages of play. Kyle and Ben were both unlucky not to equalise, and we were playing nicely through the thirds. Toward the end of the 1st half, Josh latched onto a nice through ball and lashed the ball in for what we thought was the equaliser, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
Still, we went into the break with momentum on our side, albeit still a goal down. The half time message was simple - keep doing what you're doing and it will come. And four minutes into the second half, it did as Kyle whipped in a superb cross that Bonsa timed a great run to get on the end of and knock in the equaliser.
There was better still to come as a couple of minutes later, Harry sent a superb ball lofted into the box which Bonsa leapt athletically to strike with a perfectly weighted flying volley into the net, an amazing goal that would grace any game to put us into the lead.
Ferndale weren't in the mood to give up the ghost though and 5 minutes later it was their turn to equalise. The lads weren't disheartened by this and simply set themselves to renew their attack, their reward coming when Kyle finally got the goal his terrific work all afternoon merited to once again restore our lead. But there was yet another twist in this see-saw game as shortly after that a Ferndale player broke through our back line, went down under a challenge on the edge of the box and scored from the subsequent penalty to once again draw level.
With just over 15 minutes to go, there was now something of a race against time - we were very much in the ascendancy and while Ferndale might have been happy to take the draw, the more we pushed forward to try to find the winner, of course that always runs the risk of being caught on the counter. Happily our pressure paid off in the final minute as a cracking ball from Ben set Kyle running, rounding the keeper and finishing brilliantly to seal the game.
Full credit to Ferndale, they ensured this was a thrilling game to watch as the scoreline see-sawed back and forth and no doubt they will feel they desered something from an entertaining encounter. For our part, we felt we were good value for the 3 points, but some great football played on both sides.
- Bonsa (49)
- Bonsa (51)
- Kyle (61)
- Kyle (79)
Player of the Match
FC Calne 2-1 Robins U16
Injury and illness once more take their toll in tight away game
With a late switch of venue, our thanks go to our hosts at Calne for being able to reverse our home/away fixtures at short notice after St Joe's was deemed unplayable on Friday lunchtime.
We started the game superbly as Niall lobbed a clever ball over the top of the Calne defence for Kyle to run on to and just as deftly flick the ball over the Calne keeper to give us a 1-0 lead in the first minute. But if anyone was expecting this was the prelude to a deluge of goals, they'd reckoned without our determined hosts. Some good football played by both teams, the game ebbed and flowed as both teams sought to get the ball down and play but neither could quite find the final finish. Credit here to Max, who pulled off some great saves, and our dogged defence. That's not to forget the brilliant work Tom Ben and Gustavo put in in midfield.
We went into the break still 1-0 up, playing well but again the ravages of illness starting to tell - we were already down to only 2 subs due to illness, injury and well-earned holidays and it became apparent in the second half that a couple of the lads who had made it to the game, perhaps might have needed a bit longer to recover from the illnesses they'd been fighting off. Again, subs started to be dictated more by rotating one ill player off for a rest to be replaced by another ill but slightly more rested player. The lads battled brilliantly and held on to the 1-0 lead with dogged determination and were several times unlucky not to extend it. In the end, and cruelly with only a few minutes left, Calne scored two goals in quick succession. The lads battled hard to restore at least parity but Calne dropped everyone back and held on to claim the win.
The boys did not deserve to lose this, their efforts and hard work in the face of depleted strength deserved a draw at least, but take nothing away from Calne, they played well and fought hard for the win. Thanks again for their help in getting the game on! For our side, the lads couldn't have given any more and while the defeat felt undeserved, we couldn't have been more proud of how hard they worked and they should certainly be very proud of their efforts.
Player of the Match
Castle Combe Colts 7-2 Robins U16
Illness and injury too much for Robins to overcome
A combination of illness and injury left us without 3 of our regular back four for this game (although one was physically present, he really shouldn't have been!), so it was a make-shift line-up with lots of players in unfamiliar areas of the pitch and unfamiliar combinations.
Castle Combe came firing out of the blocks straight from kick off and took full advantage of a fragile Robins back line, to take an early 3 goal lead. As a couple of players succumbed to illness early on, there were a few frantic changes of formation as we struggled to adapt to players needing to come off, until we eventually settled a bit half way into the first half. Unfortunately by that time, Castle Combe were well on top, with a penalty taking the score to 5-0 and the game had to all intents and purposes already gone.
Top marks to the lads on the pitch though as they didn't give up and kept working hard for each other, even though 3 or 4 were really not feeling very well. Ben and Gustavo both did a fantastic job in the centre of the pitch, with some terrific work on the wings from various combinations of Niall, Carlos, Josh, Tommy and Harry. Up front Kyle and Bonsa worked their socks off to little reward while Tom was a calm and steadying influence at the back, with Max doing a sterling job in goal. That hard work was rewarded with 10 minutes of the half remaining when Ben's corner wasn't properly cleared and Alex unleashed a cracking strike to give us some consolation at least.
At half time we just asked the lads to forget about the first half, go out and see if they could compete as best they could in the second half. By this time, though, the subs' bench looked more like the extras from Holby City, as we just kept rotating whichever of the two on the bench was least ill as the two on the pitch signalled they couldn't keep going and to be honest illness was really dictating our team formation and selection more than any coaching intent! But despite that, the lads kept playing and working hard for each other and they got their reward when Ben switched the ball back across the face of goal for Kyle to notch on the scoresheet once again.
Castle Combe kept coming though, swift on the break and it was on one quick counterattack that Max, one on one with a pacy attacker, came out brilliantly to claim the ball. Unfortunately although Max took the ball cleanly, the attacker kept going and went flying over him - the ref judged it was a foul challenge and Max was facing his second penalty of the day. That deflated the boys a little and it wasn't long after that Castle Combe got their final goal of the game for a convincing win.
Don't be mistaken - although we were hamstrung by illness and injury, Castle Combe played some great football and we'd have had a battle on our hands even with a full strength, fully fit side. So no complaints from us, every team has their struggles with injury and illness, it's just part of the game. Instead hats off to both teams - Castle Combe for a well-earned win, playing some great football, and to our lads for their hard work and resilience despite being understrength. We might not have got the win today, but the lads showed great character and spirit that will stand them in good stead as we go forward. They can all be very proud of themselves.
- Alex Wykeham-Martin (30)
- Kyle Scott (44)
Player of the Match
Tetbury 2-3 Robins U16
Good away win makes for positive start to the New Year
With the weather alternating between monsoon and frost, we weren't sure if this game would go ahead but a warm-ish Sunday morning brought the frost out of the ground so the pitch was playable, if a bit mushy. It was still bitterly cold though!
With Max away, we were grateful to Niall in the first half and Harry in the second half for stepping up to the plate and going in goal. It's not an easy thing to do and Max's are big shoes to step into so well done to both lads - both acquitted themselves well and put in a great shift for the team.
We started the game well but initially struggled to break down a determined Tetbury defence. Until just after the 10 minute mark when Bonsa got on the end of a superb ball in from Alex and nodded in a lovely cushioned header to open our scoring for the year.
Fair play to Tetbury they didn't let their heads drop, and the game developed into a good contest, with both teams pushing hard to get the second goal of the game, with some excellent work from Tom and Ben in midfield in particular. When it came, it was a well deserved second goal for us following some quality build up play - Tommy playing a terrific ball into Harry who unleashed a superb shot that the keeper couldn't hold and Kyle reacted quickest to slot home the rebound.
We faced further difficulties in the second half as Niall, Alex H and Ben all struggled at various points with illness or injury, meaning we had to shift quite a few things round. The lads adapted well though and continued to play some decent football. Josh and Carlos both adapted well to switching about, with Gustavo and Tommy putting in a good shift in the centre. Up front, Bonsa and Kyle were putting in a great shift, with Kyle showing some really good forward play for the team. At the back, Joe and Ollie worked well, flanked by Tom and Alex, all looking very solid and composed, even as the pitch started to cut up and players started sliding around a bit.
This time though it was Tetbury's turn to score just after 10 minutes into the half as they reduced our lead to 2-1.
Pleasingly the boys didn't panic just looked to get the ball on the deck and keep playing their football. Their determination and hard work paid off as Carlos went on a great run down the wing, accompanied by Bonsa in the centre, the lads combined really well and showed great awareness of each other's runs as Carlos unleashed a brilliant ball across the Tetbury box that Bonsa met with an equally brilliantly timed run to restore our two goal lead.
More fiercely competed play saw the game ebb and flow, as we launched some strong attacks, with Ben getting the ball in the net but ruled out by the linesman's flag. The final goal of the game came as a Tetbury attacker burst through our defence and left Harry with little choice but to challenge him and unfortunately brought him down. Tetbury converted the subsequent penalty to give us a tense final 10 minutes. The lads did really well, with a superb display of game management to see the game out and hold on comfortably in the end to claim the points.
This was a good win to start the New Year, with the lads having to cope with multiple different challenges, from a slippy pitch, to players missing and playing in unfamiliar positions. They rose to all those challenges superbly and were good value for a well deserved win.
- Bonsa (12)
- Kyle (25)
- Bonsa (65)
Player of the Match
Old Town Utd 2-7 Robins U16
Cracking away win to end the year
Our final game of 2017 was on a chilly morning away to Old Town, and although the pitch was a little crispy in places, it was certainly playable. Robins started the game brightly, with some nice football played, but couldn't find a way through a determined Old Town defence. The boys stayed patient though and kept trying to play their way through.
Half an hour into the first half, that patience and persistence paid off as Bonsa found Harry in space and Harry rocketed home a cracking strike to put us 1-0 up. Old Town weren't about to take that lying down and they battled back strongly, but it was again Robins who got the next goal when Max spotted Kyle in space, and played a great ball out for him to run onto, giving Kyle the chance to run at the Old Town defence and finish calmly to double our lead going into the break.
The first goal in the second half was going to be crucial in setting the momentum for the second half and fortunately it went to Robins when Bonsa reacted quickest to the rebound from his own shot to put us 3-0 up inside the first couple of minutes of the restart. The game then settled down into some good fluid play from both teams before, on the hour mark, a rare lapse of concentration at the back allowed a slightly surprised Old Town forward the time and space to roll the ball into the net.
Fortunately the boys responded in exactly the right way and quickly took control of the game again, and 5 minutes later Niall's superb floated cross-cum-shot from out wide left the keeper stranded. A couple of minutes after that Kyle was once more on the scoresheet after some very good individual work.
A few minutes later Carlos opened his account for Robins with an excellent strike from a tight angle into the roof of the net and two minutes later he doubled his tally by sheer determination, following in a corner that the keeper fumbled allowing Carlos to force it over the line. Old Town had the final word in the scoring with 5 minutes left but by then this was very much a consolation goal.
This was an excellent display in difficult conditions - as the pitch thawed out, it became a bit of a mudbath in the second half, so Wednesday's wet and cold training session turned out to be excellent preparation! A great way to end the year and go into the Christmas break on a high, let's hope we can start the New Year as well as we finished this one.
- Harry (31)
- Kyle (37)
- Bonsa (41)
- Niall (65)
- Kyle (67)
- Carlos (69)
- Carlos (70)
Player of the Match
- Niall O'Leary
- Harry Thomas
Robins U16 1-5 Liden
Bad day at the office!
With no game last weekend, the lads were keen to get back to league action with Liden the visitors this weekend.
The game started at a good tempo from both sides and it was soon clear this was going to be a keenly contested match. 10 minutes in and Liden took the lead after some sloppy defending from the home team, but the lads knuckled down and set about working their way back into the game. 10 minutes after conceding, parity was restored after Ollie Mill connected brilliantly with a superb corner and nodded home to register his second goal of the season. We played some good football and created several chances to score, but couldn't quite finish and went into the break all even.
The second half started with both teams competing hard to try to gain the advantage, but again it was Liden who went ahead with the second half a little under 10 minutes old. That wasn't fatal, but conceding a third barely a minute later gave us a mountain to climb and we struggled then to get back into the game. When the fourth came 10 minutes from time, it was all over as a contest but it was still disappointing to see the lads let their heads drop a little and it was only thanks to a couple of stunning saves from Max that the scoreline wasn't more embarrassing. Finally, Liden managed to put the icing on the cake by adding a fifth, an absolute rocket into the roof of the net that Max did well to get a hand to but couldn't keep out.
Liden were good value for the win, but it was a little disappointing to lose by such a margin, especially after such a good start to the season. But defeats are always far more about how you respond to them than anything, so we will see in the next couple of weeks what these lads are made of.
Robins U16 7-2 Ferndale Rodbourne
Robins return to league duty with strong showing
After last week's stunning cup victory against Div 1 Newbury, it was back to the bread and butter work in the League this week as we played host to Ferndale.
Buoyed by last week's success, the lads looked full of confidence and started the game brightly, knocking the ball around nicely. Some clever work in the middle of the park as Ben and Gustavo alternated roles, with Tom acting as playmaker, while up front Kyle looked very lively, working well with Ben in the middle and Harry and Alex on either wing.
Strong Robins attacking play meant Ferndale were soon having to battle hard in midfield and at the back to hold off some determined attacks but shortly after the 10 minute mar, Joe's through ball set Kyle running, the keeper came out to meet him and Kyle rounded him and rolled the ball into the net to open his account for the day. He was far from done!
5 minutes later, that partnership with Ben was in evidence again as he flicked a very clever ball round the corner for Kyle to finish emphatically into the top of the net.
A rejig saw our debutant Josh move up the field to left mid and put in a strong performance with Harry backing him up in left back, while Niall came on for another assured display on the opposite wing. Ferndale started fighting back and the game settled into a decent contest, with plenty for Harry, Alex, Joe and Ollie to deal with at the back, although all coped well, and anything that got past them Max again looked very assured in dealing with.
And just before the half time whistle Bonsa's hard work was rewarded as he popped up with a deft lob to beat the onrushing keeper and extend our lead to 3-0 at half time.
We opened the second half well and a great ball out of the back from Ollie found Kyle who followed Bonsa's lead in lobbing the ball over the keeper to extend our lead to 4-0 a few minutes into the second half. That seemed to dash any hope the Ferndale lads may have had of battling their way back into the game and for most of the second half Robins were firmly in control and playing some lovely stuff.
Just before the hour mark, Ben unleashed a terrific strike that the keeper did well to save but could only palm it out for Kyle to pounce on and get his fourth of the day. A few minutes later and he had his fifth, but credit to the Ferndale lads who didn't let their heads drop, but if anything this seemed to spur them into action and they grabbed themselves two goals over the following 10 minutes.
It was never going to be enough to get them back into the game though, and with a few minutes remaining Kyle put the seal on a comfortable win for the team, and a double hat-trick for him.
A fine performance all over the pitch, some great defending as a team, superb link up play between Ben and Kyle, aided and abetted by Bonsa; a very assured debut from Josh; more cracking saves from Max (not to mention some good distribution from the back); excellent work from Gustavo and Tom in the centre of the park; this really was a great team performance
- Kyle (11)
- Kyle (16)
- Bonsa (38)
- Kyle (48)
- Kyle (59)
- Kyle (63)
- Kyle (78)
Player of the Match
An easy pick for Man of the Match again this week, Kyle was ruthless in front of goal, great movement and clinical finishing!
Robins U16 4-2 AFC Newbury
"Cupset" as Robins beat top Div 1 team to progress to Cup Quarter Finals!
Last season, our "reward" for beating then 1st Division Shrivenham in the 1st round of the League Cup was to be drawn against a strong Newbury side in the 2nd round. And this time last year, we were picking the positives out of a sound 11-1 thrashing. So there was more than a touch of deja vu when having beaten Shrivenham in the first round we again drew Newbury in the second round. The main difference being that this time they were top of Div 1!
So quite some test of how far we'd come in the past season, ever after a strong start to the League campaign. Both teams started the game brightly, as each tested the other out. But despite a solid start, the omens didn't look good when with just under 10 mins on the clock, a determined run from a strong Newbury midfield player sliced through our midfield and saw our defence backing off to allow him the space to unleash an absolute rocket into the roof of the net. When we then conceded a second a few minutes later, it looked like this could be another long afternoon.
But if anyone watching expected this to settle into a standard Div 1 v Div 2 rout, our lot hadn't read that script. Just a few minutes later, Ari spun on the edge of the area and unleashed one of his trademark rockets to bring us back into the game and start Newbury nerves jangling. A little over 10 minutes later, Ben's fine free kick found Niall well positioned at the back post to fire across the face of goal and Kyle nudged it home to draw us level.
Newbury weren't about to allow that to go unpunished and they unleashed wave after wave of attack, brilliantly defended by both midfield and defence as the Robins lads battened down the hatches to repel them. Some breathtaking goalkeeping from Max, too, as he pulled off some stunning saves to keep us very much in the tie going into the break.
We expected something of an onslaught at the start of the second half and it duly came as Newbury came at us all guns blazing, but once more determined and resilient defending held strong. Then a terrific through ball from Ben found Kyle in space, Kyle still had plenty to do but finished calmly to put the home side ahead just under 5 minutes into the second half. If Newbury nerves were jangling in the first half, they were fully alarmed now and once more the pushed forward to try to put the game back on level terms. With 35 minutes remaining, that looked a long time to defend a slender 1-goal lead. But that reckoned without the sheer determination the lads showed in making their tackles, winning 50/50s, chasing down "lost causes" and, again, some utter brilliance from Max in goal.
As the half wore on, there was some real end to end stuff as it became clear the next goal would be crucial in deciding the tie - if Newbury drew level, the momentum would shift towards them and it would be difficult to hold them off. But in a sign of the confidence and self-belief the lads had, they weren't content to simply sit back and try to defend what they had, they were taking the fight to Newbury with some brilliant attacking football to match the resilience of the defending. With just over 10 minutes of the tie remaining, sustained pressure saw the ball pinging around the edges of the Newbury box until Tommy unleashed a cracking shot that the keeper did well to keep out - but not enough to stop Kyle pouncing on the rebound and seal a well-deserved hat-trick.
The final 15 minutes (including injury time) were real blood and thunder stuff as Newbury fought hard to battle their way back into the tie and Robins fought every bit as hard to keep them out. Some real heroics all over the pitch as Tommy and Harry both suffered dead legs, Tom went down with cramp, epitomising the way the lads put everything on the line this afternoon, brilliant last ditch tackles from Joe, and superb goal line clearance by Alex. But, once again, it was Max who stole all the plaudits in this final section as he pulled off save after save, Newbury unable to believe that they hadn't scored as he got finger tips, legs and everything on "sure-fire" goals.
This was a magnificent team performance today, Max rightly wins Man of the Match by popular acclaim from supporters and players, but everyone single one of these lads put everything on the line in a brilliant display. Never mind the difference between this year's result and last year's, to come back from 0-2 down to win 4-2 against a very good Newbury team shows real character and guts. Our best wishes to our visitors who played some excellent football and fully demonstrated why they are where they are in the league. Now roll on the quarter finals!
- Ari (14)
- Kyle (26)
- Kyle (49)
- Kyle (68)
Player of the Match
Time and time again, Max pulled off impossible saves to either keep us in the tie, or in the second half retain our lead. Utterly outstanding!
Royal Wootton Bassett 0-3 Robins U16
Robins continue excellent start to season with good away win
After a great start to the season in three successive home games, the big question for the team was - could they do it away? And the answer would seem to be ... yes.
We got off to the best possible start when within a few minutes, some excellent hard work from Bonsa left the Bassett defence in disarray, and Ben was on hand to capitalise to put us ahead inside 2 minutes, a great start.
But if anyone thought this was the preamble to a goal deluge they\'d reckoned without the resilience of the Bassett defence who worked incredibly hard in the face of some great creative football to prevent Robins from extending their lead. There was some excellent attacking play from both teams, but some equally excellent defending (and goalkeeping) to keep the score at 1-0 at half time.
The half time team talk was simple enough - keep doing what you\'re doing! Again, some more excellent work from all departments, quite how Kyle, Ari and Bonsa didn\'t rack up the goals is a mystery, although some very good defending and goalkeeping may have had something to do with it. We had our own defensive work to do, though, and full credit to Tom, Ollie, Joe and the Alex\'s for their terrific work at the back, not to mention another fine shift from Max.
The game remained finely balanced - while on the Robins bench we naturally felt we were having the better of it, the fact remained that all it would take was one goal on the break to shift the momentum, so we needed that second goal. And it was Ben who again provided it, latching on to a superb cross from Alex to double the lead and make the game look a bit safer.
Both teams pushed hard now, Bassett to get back into the game and swing the momentum back their way, Robins to grab the third goal that would, surely, seal the points. Bassett too us right to the wire, and again Bonsa, Kyle and Ari all deserved goals but post, keeper and defenders conspired to deny them. Finally, with 3 minutes left on the clock, Kyle unleashed a rasping shot that the Bassett keeper did superbly well to get a hand to, but not enough to prevent Ben with a brilliantly timed run following in and putting the finish on a well deserved hat trick.
This was one of our trickiest encounters of the season to date and the lads navigated it extremely well. A very composed performance and a well-deserved win, keep it going lads!
Player of the Match
Robins U16 7-0 Tetbury
Clean sheet, 3 points, job done!
Following last week\'s excellent comeback in the cup, it was back to league duty today as Robins met new opposition in the form of Tetbury, a team we\'ve not played before. The lads started the game brightly, with plenty of good early pressure. That pressure paid off in the 6th minute when Robins were awarded a free kick wide of and just back from the box. Niall stepped up and whipped in an absolute cracker of a free kick that Ollie Mill got a good head on to open the scoring for Robins.
Ollie was involved in the second goal too, this time as creator as he found Kyle\'s run with a decent ball out from the back, putting Kyle 1v1 with the Tetbury keeper who had a great game all afternoon. The keeper had little choice but to come out and try to narrow the angle, but Kyle kept his cool, rounded the keeper and finished brilliantly from a tight angle. Kyle was on good form again for the third as his pressure forced an error between keeper and defence and he \"stole\" the ball from a goal kick to finish from just inside the area. The first half scoring was completed when Ari was given half a yard of space on the edge of the area and he used it to turn and unleash a thunderbolt the keeper had no chance with.
Second half was more of the same - some good football played by both teams, but solid defending and hard work in midfield ensured Tetbury\'s chances were kept to a minimum and when they did manage to get shots off, they found Max in good form again. Just before the half-way mark, Kyle latched on to a great through ball from Ari and sealed his hat-trick with a calm finish. Going into the final 10 minutes, a combination of bar, post and the Tetbury keeper pulling off some stunning saves denied Tommy, Niall and Bonsa all with some great strikes. Bonsa deserved a goal for his athletic bicycle kick but Gustavo latched on to the rebound and finished well for the second game in succession. And the final word went to Ari, after Bonsa picked him out in space and he demonstrated he\'s not all about rockets from distance with a delicate chip over the keeper.
This was a great team effort, which the boys can be well pleased with, especially in keeping the clean sheet, some lovely creative attacking play matched by determined and resilient defending - a well-earned win and a well played game.
- Ollie (6)
- Kyle (13)
- Kyle (18)
- Ari (33)
- Kyle (57)
- Gustavo (75)
- Ari (78)
Player of the Match
Robins U16 6-4 Shrivenham Royals
Superb comeback sees Robins through to 2nd round of the Cup
It was a case of deja vu for the 1st round of the League Cup this afternoon as we faced Shrivenham, our 1st round opponents last year when we pulled off something of a "cupset" in knocking out the then higher division team. Shrivenham may be in the same division as us this season, but they're still quality opponents and will undoubtedly be one of the teams looking to be there or thereabouts come May, so probably one of the toughest draws we could have had for the 1st round.
And we got off to the worst possible start as abject lack of concentration and communication between the keeper and the defence saw us completely fail to deal with a cross in the 1st minute and a grateful Shrivenham striker stole in to tap the ball into the net. With less than 10 minutes on the clock, they got a second, a decent goal this time to be fair, but we were giving ourselves a mountain to climb. 10 minutes later and it started to look like this could be a very long afternoon indeed as more sloppy defending put Shrivenham 3-0 up with less than 20 minutes on the clock.
At that point, most observers would have been reasonable in assuming they could take a shrewd guess at Shrivenham being safely into the next round. But they would have reckoned without the tremendous spirit of this Robins team. Ari began the fightback when we won a free kick outside the Shrivenham area and he walloped in an absolute peach of a free kick that left the Shrivenham keeper clutching at air.
If that gave us hope, 10 minutes later Kyle looked to have bagged his first of the afternoon only to be denied by a good save from the Shrivenham keeper. But he couldn't hold the well-struck shot, only managing to push the ball away to where Ben was running in to follow the shot in - he nodded home a lovely header to bring us back into the game. And two minutes after that Gustavo hit a cracking shot from just inside the area to bring us back level.
But Shrivenham were determined to show we weren't the only team that could get back up after conceding 3 on the spin and with a couple of minutes left of the half, they grabbed a fourth to retake the lead.
Breathless stuff and a thoroughly entertaining 1st half, now the question was could we score one more goal than Shrivenham in the second half to take the tie into extra time? Or even two more to win it outright?
The lads set about answering that question right from the whistle, and within a minute a great attack down the wing enabled Kyle to put in a terrific cross that found Ari in the box. He finished brilliantly to bring us back level in the 1st minute of the second half. Game on!
The game ebbed and flowed for the next 20 minutes as both teams looked to gain the upper hand, some terrific attacking play and determined defending from both teams. Max pulled off some great goal keeping to keep us level on more than one occasion, and ably helped by a resolute defence in front of him. At the other end, Kyle and Bonsa were both unfortunate not to add to our tally, and some great play in midfield as well, thoroughly entertaining football.
Finally with 15 minutes left on the clock, Tommy picked out Kyle with a lovely through ball and Kyle got the reward his hard work all game deserved with a goal of his own to put us ahead for the first time in the game.
But given the way this game had gone, a one goal lead always looked fragile and Shrivenham were battling back hard. So when the Shrivenham striker chased a long ball from the centre circle toward the edge of our area, Joe had to work incredibly hard to keep up with him and inch in front of him to head the bouncing ball safely back to Max, a crucial intervention to retain our lead.
And with just two minutes remaining, Ari made the tie safe with his hat-trick goal, played in from a "Champions League pass" from Bonsa to see us safely into the next round.
After a horrible start to the game, the lads played some great football to battle their way back into the game. And more importantly the spirit and determination they showed to overturn a 3 goal deficit speaks volumes about the character of this team. Very, very proud of all of them - bring on the 2nd round draw!
- Ari (22)
- Ben (32)
- Gustavo (34)
- Ari (41)
- Kyle (65)
- Ari (78)
Player of the Match
Robins U16 11-2 Old Town Utd
Emphatic home win gets season off to a great start
After the frustration of the opposition postponing what should have been our opening game of the new season last week, the lads were raring to go and keen to make a good start to the new season.
Just how keen Old Town soon found out as within a minute of kick off, Ari ran through half the team and unleashed an absolute rocket into the top corner of the net to get our season off to the best possible start! Just under 15 minutes later, Kyle joined him, Tommy feeding him in with a great through ball, before some nifty footwork and a great finish from Kyle enabled him to open his account for the season.
Alex Wykeham-Martin marked his league debut for Robins in memorable style with a great cut inside and deft lob over the keeper to put us 3 up in just over quarter of an hour. Two further goals from Kyle in the next 10 minutes wrapped up his hat trick and seemingly made the points safe.
But Old Town weren't about to lie down and play dead and a strong attack from them won them a penalty which was despatched calmly to give them a toe-hold at least in the game. The best way to answer conceding a goal is by scoring one of your own and that's just what Ari did, cracking in another rocket from the edge of the area. But the final word of the half went to Old Town after a rare defensive mix-up between defence and keeper allowed their striker in to score with nearly the last kick of the half.
Still, annoying though that was, taking a 6-2 lead into the break wasn't too shabby and we just asked the lads for more of the same please in the second half. Ari seemed to take this literally as he started the second half identically to the way he'd started the first - smacked a rocket into the top corner after some great combination play with Tommy in the build up. He followed up with his fourth a few minutes later before turning provider for Kyle to score his fourth a minute after that.
Ben put in a real Captain's shift today and it was no more than his efforts deserved when a clever back heel flick from Gustavo found him in space for him to strike a really sweet shot into the top of the net.
It was breathless stuff that really knocked the wind out of Old Town's sails, and polished off any hope of them getting back into the game. But fair play, they kept playing, working hard and playing some decent football too. Superb defending though shut them out entirely in the second half, and gratifying to see the whole team working hard to defend when needed, just as much as they poured forward to attack.
Gustavo once again combined with Ben to finish the scoring, and it was gratifying to see the lads put into practice something they'd worked hard on in training as Ben ran onto a beautifully weighted angled through ball to bring the goal fest to a close for the afternoon.
This was a terrific performance from every player in every department, and, needless to say, a great way to set their stall out for the season! Score line aside, the lads played some magnificent football this afternoon and while we can't expect that kind of result every week if they keep playing like that we will have a very enjoyable season ahead. Well done boys!
- Ari (1)
- Kyle (14)
- Alex W-M (16)
- Kyle (20)
- Kyle (25)
- Ari (36)
- Ari (41)
- Ari (44)
- Kyle (45)
- Ben (52)
- Ben (76)
Player of the Match