16 April 2024

A complete team performance

Hedon Rangers Eastside Under-10s travelled to play North Ferriby Utd on Sunday.

Once more, the weather was perfect for football: cool and clear with hardly a breath of wind, and the pitch was perfect too – a lovely carpet with a bit of moisture on top, which was sure to suit the guys’ passing game. Yet again, though, they were unable to field a full squad; this time, Georgia and Kaelan were unavailable. However, the team were bolstered by the surprise return of James following his lengthy absence due to injury.

So, backed by another sizeable following, the guys kicked off with Jacob in goal, Louie and Layton in defence, Freddie and Joseph either side of Max in the middle of midfield, and Alfie up top. Immediately, the advantage of a great playing surface began to pay dividends as Hedon, from the off, played some great stuff, passing and moving and cutting through the opposition time after time. Freddie and Joseph made some great runs down the flanks, and Max controlled the middle of the park.

It was only a matter of time before Rangers broke the deadlock, and it duly came courtesy of Alfie, who rifled a shot past the keeper. Then it was two as, from another great run on the right by Freddie, he placed a perfect ball into Alfie, and he calmly provided the finish. Then the guys won a throw-in in Ferriby’s half, and Max, whose long throws proved to be a real thorn in the opposition’s side, launched the ball into the box where Alfie finished again to claim a first-half hat- trick.

The guys continued to dominate proceedings, going close on a number of occasions with Max hitting the bar and the keeper making several good saves. Ferriby then reduced the deficit against the run of play, but the guys were determined not to be knocked off their stride. Jenson entered the fray, and he slotted straight in as Alfie immediately restored Hedon’s three-goal cushion. Then, from a corner, Max played a ball into Louie’s intelligent run from deep; he played it first time into the area where Alfie flicked it instinctively past the keeper.

There was still time for another as, from a free kick, the ball found its way to Jenson; he played a great pass through to Alfie, and he unselfishly squared it to Joseph, who calmly completed the scoring to leave Ferriby shell-shocked. A great first game—some of the blue and reds’ football was a joy to watch. Surely they couldn’t live up to that level of performance in the second game? How wrong we were…

The second game saw a goalkeeping change as James, eager to not miss out, donned the gloves in goal, freeing Jacob up to provide fresh legs on the right-hand side of midfield. Louie and Layton lined up in defence, determined to be as rock solid as in game one. Hedon once again set about Ferriby, pinning them back in their own half, and they got their noses in front early again. An attack in the opposition box broke down but was only half cleared to Joseph, who hit a first-time shot/cross/lob (even Joseph still doesn’t know!) which looped and bent round a mesmerised keeper to finally nestle in the net and give Hedon a lead that, from that point on, never looked like relinquishing.

The goals then started raining in as Hedon toyed with the opposition. Max dribbled his way into Ferriby’s area before threading a ball through to Jacob, who produced a real poacher’s tap-in at the far post. Then Max bagged his first as, from a long run, he unleashed a thunderbolt from the edge of the area, which took a slight deflection off a defender and flew past the keeper, who was rooted to the spot. Then, from a free kick on the left, Max pinged a perfect shot straight into the top corner and wrapped up his hat- trick with a calm side-foot finish from close range after being cleverly played through by Jacob. Alfie then played Max in again, and he fired a shot destined for the far corner only for the keeper to fling himself full length to make a great save; unfortunately for him, the ball rolled straight to Jacob, and he gleefully fired it into the net.

Ferriby, as in the first game, did manage to get on the scoresheet, but Hedon weren’t finished as Max played Jacob in, and he finished expertly, firing a left- foot shot into the top corner to register the third hat- trick of the day. Alfie wrapped up proceedings with a trademark finish past the keeper, and the referee blew the whistle to bring to an end a great morning’s work for the guys.

This was probably the team’s best showing for some time, from Jacob and James, who both performed admirably in goal, to Layton and Louie, who were both brilliant in defence, snuffing out any threat Ferriby posed. Then to Joseph, Max, Freddie and Jenson, who all covered every blade of grass and whose passing and workrate were an absolute pleasure to watch. And last but by no means least, Alfie and then Jacob for the second game, who both worked their socks off upfront.

A complete team performance and a real example of what this team is capable of when they all concentrate and outwork the opposition, earning them the right to play the football we all know they are capable of. Player of the match could have gone to all nine guys, but the coaches chose Max for a complete midfield performance (shhh, Layla!) and Freddie, who has just got stronger and stronger this season. Well played, guys!

Next week, we are back at South Holderness Academy to play local rivals Sproatley Juniors Devils. #UTR!