3 in a row? St Peters U13’s say NO!!!!

St Peters U13 V Hampden Weir RAFC

      St Peters under 13’s hosted a visiting Scottish Academy side on Saturday 29th to round off a 3 match island tour by Hampden Weir RAFC.   Hampden are already playing 11 aside competitive football in their respective league and are used to playing on a full size pitch with full size goals so for our lads to offer the same setup presented quite a challenge.   St Peters under 13’s put an 11 aside team together and we played on the main St Peters pitch with full size goals….anything you can do…….!  Hampden were buoyed by the fact that they were coming off the back of a 2 match winning streak having beaten Jersey Wanderers 5-1 and the Centre of Excellence U12 team 4-0.
     Any notion that Hampden were about to put another soft Jersey team to the sword were swiftly put to bed when within 5 minutes of the start and with the home side being the liveliest of the two teams, Ethan Hutchison who was partnering Ryan Peel up front sent a great pass to the feet of Ryan on the edge of the area.  Finding his way to the right blocked he spun on his left foot, took a touch and thumped the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal beyond the fingers of the diving keeper.   Game on!! 1-0!!
     The visitors were understandably shaken and they tried to get back into the game, good passing, movement but the home side were more than up for the challenge.   Jamie Ritzema and Luke Lister dominated the midfield passing the ball out wide to Finn Hougardy and Harry Scott on the wings to give them the opportunity to supply crosses into the box.   Luke got onto the end of one such cross and his shot crashed into the crossbar but he was quickest to react and pounced on the rebound sending it into the back of the net, 2-0!
      The scoreline seemed to galvanise the visitors along with some strong words from their coaches and they started to put our defence under pressure. They had a few chances which were snuffed out but finally got their break when they picked up the ball on the right of the goal from a corner.   Our defenders were to slow to react and allowed Hampden to have their first clear shot at goal and they scored from it just before half time. 2-1!
     The second half got underway and St Peters continued as they began the first half, plenty of pressure and good movement from the wings.   Tom Proffitt coming back from a long injury controlled the defence and he linked up well with Max Martin. Charlie Nash and Noah Risby covered the flanks and started a lot of our attacks. One such attacking move resulted in a quick goal by Ryan but it was ruled offside. The home side continued to apply pressure and our movement was so good in and around the opposition box that it was inevitable that we would score again.   A scramble in the area, some rushed defending and the ball fell to Harry at short range and he doesn’t miss from there.   3-1!!
     The visitors finally got back into the game and with their ability to call on substitutes (they had 6, we had 0) their ability to add fresh legs to the field started to tell for our lads.   With their experience in a competitive league they were also smarter in the art of gamesmanship and after winning a very generous free kick they were able to make their fresh legs count.   The free kick was lofted in and Pierce Roche our goalkeeper, having done a sterling job guarding the goal all game made a mistake by coming and jumping for the ball but slightly misjudged the flight.   The ball went past him and through a scramble of legs before a Hampden boot connected and it hit the back of the net.   3-2!!
     The match was drawing to a close and the visitors were desperate not to finish their tour with a loss so they piled on the pressure.   There was a lot of contact which St Peters got the worst of resulting in treatment being required for two of our players.   This combined with the visitors ability to introduce fresh players meant the last five minutes of the match were quite a slog but we held on and we’re delighted to record a win. Not so the visitors who were demonstrably upset and even though they had the benefit of the majority of the decisions the players were very unhappy.  Not so St Peters who were delighted that their hard work and excellent teamwork and spirit had carried the day.   A great credit to St Peters under 13’s who rose to the challenge of a full size pitch, playing against a well organised and competitive team.  The future looks very bright for these lads when they move from development football to the competitive side.