St Peters under 13’s came from a 2 goal deficit to beat St Pauls 4-3. A fantastic game which could have had a much higher scoreline for St Peters but for some resolute defending from new Centre of Excellence Island defender James Murphy who showed why he made the Island team.
As the coach I have to hold my hands up and take the blame for the fact that St Pauls scored twice in quick succession right at the start of the game. Whilst we coach the lads and set them up to play the matches I have one eye on next year when we will be playing 11 aside. As such I wanted to play with wing backs today to see if I could utilise players in different positions next season. Charlie Nash and new St Peters player Noah Risby were put in an unfamiliar role and as such St Pauls punished us. As soon as Charlie and Noah dropped into familiar fullback roles they were terrific and immediately stopped St Pauls attacks meaning we could go on the attack ourselves.
The lads were well briefed with what to expect with this game and applied themselves very quickly, stopping St Pauls from playing their usual high tempo game right from their goal kick. We disrupted their distribution from the back, piling on the pressure and it wasn’t long before Ryan Peel had bundled the ball over the line from close range to halve the deficit. No time for celebrations and the lads were desperate to attack the goal and they thought they had scored again after Finn Hougardy ghosted in behind St Pauls defence to score a very good goal only to be ruled offside.
However, with the amount of attacking intent within our team it was inevitable that we would equalise and we did just that with a very good strike from Harry Scott from just outside the area. Sometimes substitutions can cause the momentum of the team to drop and this was the case as St Pauls managed to pile on the pressure before half time. St Pauls continued to attack our goal which meant Cole Graham in the heart of defence had to work hard to shield our goal whilst Pierce Roche pulled of some fine saves to keep us in the game.
In the second half changes were made putting our new Centre of Excellence Island player Tom Profitt at left back and giving Noah a chance to play left midfield. The lads continued to put St Pauls under pressure and time after time we were thwarted by St Pauls strong play. Jamie Ritzema had an excellent game, controlling the midfield, dribbling past opponents and making timely passes. One exquisitely timed pass was perfectly weighted for Ryan to run onto and he had plenty of time on the ball before slotting home very neatly into the bottom left corner of the goal. 3-2 and it certainly looked like we could score more but chances went begging, hitting the woodwork, deflections, good goalkeeping and defending all meant we couldn’t get the all important cushion.
St Pauls also had other ideas about us winning and they sprung the perfect counterattack to equalise again. However, they weren’t able to do so again as the defence realised what could happen and reacted accordingly. It looked like it might have been one of those days when no matter how many chances you get to score you just can’t convert the chance. Ryan stepped up to take yet another corner (which shows how many shots on goal we had) and Harry Scott fired in from a bicycle kick into the net. 4-3 and the lads were desperate to keep the score. Sometimes the best form of defence is to attack and with almost the last kick of the ball Ethan Hutchison almost scored just before the final whistle.
A great result for the lads today against a tough opponent. The hard work in training is paying off and as a coach my hardest decision is to decide who to rest, who to rotate. Special mention to Noah Risby, as a new player to the club coming from St Ouens FC and playing in a tougher league he had a very good debut and I am looking forward to seeing more of him at St Peters.