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Manager Summary Report 2020/21 Season






11/10/20 Pitshanger 0-2 Celtic Reds

Team Caiden Hall Conor Nugent Daniel Killen Edward Flewitt Finbar O’Sullivan Hassan Mustafa ( C ) Iggy Duff Jackson Payne Kacper Szot Kuba Mazur Marouane Benslimane Millad Dost Musa Sa’id Sean Leon-Rivera Sebastian Surmacz Tyler Birch-Campbell The day we waited patiently for finally arrived. Today we were back in competitive action with our first game of the new season. We had been training hard in pre-season and putting aside everything that has happened in the world since we last played a competitive match back in March. I have to say that Chris I were so looking forward to seeing the boys in action. There have been squad changes. We lost Tim, as he and his family moved away. Tim was with Douglas and me since he was six years old. We were sorry to see this fantastic lad and footballer leave, but we wished Tim and his family all the best in their new home. So with one leaving we had three new players join, Kacper, Musa and Marouane. Chris and I were looking forward to seeing how they would settle in to our squad and strengthen it. So a big welcome to them and their families. Pitshanger are our nearest local rivals and we don’t normally play each other but Pitshanger were newly promoted. So today we would find out how good they were. Chris and I set the boys up and challenged them to go out and dominate and be ruthless from first to last whistle, nothing less. We have a good strong squad now and we really wanted to start our season convincingly. Pitshanger kicked off and almost immediately we picked up the ball and broke. Finbar picked out Tyler with a great through pass. Tyler tried his luck but it deflected for a corner, but it came to nothing. This was followed soon afterwards with a shot from Conor but he drove it wide. From the goal kick the ball came back to Tyler, he drove at goal again and like before it went behind for another corner. Unfortunately the end result was the same, nothing for us. Pitshanger came down our end and won a corner of their own, but with the same result, nothing. We were beginning to press hard and when Finbar picked up the ball he looked up and picked out a lovely pass in to the box to Daniel who ghosted in and was perfectly placed to calmly pass the ball in to the net. Great combination play boys and a great pick of a pass Finbar, 0 – 1. With this first goal we wanted the boys to push on from here and they did just that. We were really starting to dominate the midfield and again it was Finbar who drove straight through the middle of the defence. He got his shot away but it was left and wide. We were pressing hard from midfield and attack and pressing Pitshanger well, giving them no time on the ball. But it was great to see that our back line were also getting in on the action. Millad collected the ball in defence and he drove forward along the wing. He stretched his legs and flew past opposition players. When he got to the byline he crossed in a beautiful ball. Tyler was positioned perfectly to connect with it by unfortunately he mistimed his kick and this good chance was gone. Fantastic driving run out of defence from Millad. Not to be outdone by Millad, Jackson on the other side of the pitch, drove out of defence with real purpose. He looked up and found Daniel with a great pass. Daniel got the ball out of his feet and shot but it flew over the bar. Another good chance started by a great drive forward from Jackson. Our midfield was in total control now. Conor picked up the ball, played it to Finbar. He in turn found Daniel with a very clever flick over the top. Daniel had another shot on goal but again it was off target and over the bar. With the first half coming to a close Ed, who was having a fantastic game with his skillful direct play, picked up the ball deep in our half. He drove forward with real determination. He dribbled past the opposition. When he got about half way in to the Pitshanger half he looked up and crossed a beautiful ball in to the box. He saw Conor make his move at the back post and found him with pin point accuracy. Conor lost his marker and met it with his right foot and guided it at goal. The keeper did get to it but unfortunately for him he fumbled and the ball crossed the line. 0 – 2. A bit lucky in the end but what a run and cross by Edward and positioning by Conor. Outstanding boys. That was it for the first half. It was a strange half time team talk for Chris and me. It was a baffling first half. We dominated it with massive possession percentages. Our defence was solid. Iggy had nothing to do. We controlled the mid-field. Every attack we had was dangerous. This was all great but we just weren’t getting shots on target to test the keeper. We had over twelve attempts with two goals converted. It was as simple as that. We were 0 – 2 up but to be honest is could of and really should of been about 6 and that is not being disrespectful to Pitshanger. We need to make the most of chances like the ones we created, the boys knew that, they didn’t need us to tell them that. Chris and I just wanted the boys to go out in the second half and make our pressure count and get more goals on the score sheet. That was the challenge we set, it was now down to the boys to execute it. We kicked of and we did one of our trade mark moves. Ball back to Conor, over the top to find Tyler. It came off perfectly. Tyler got a shot off but it was saved by the keeper. Good effort and very nearly the perfect restart for us. Pitshanger had a very rare break forward but the danger was easily closed down and Iggy gathered the ball. He spotted Tyler on the run and in space, he played a big one over the top and found Tyler brilliantly. Tyler drove straight at goal and then around the keeper but the angle reduced too much and he missed with his shot. This was a lot better. We mixed it up, bringing on fresh legs and the fresh boys slotted straight in which was good to see. Again we were dominating and Pitshanger were just about hanging in there. We won a corner on the right. We brought up the big guns from defence. The ball came in and Hassan rose at the back post to meet it with a header. Rather than catching it full, it glanced off his head. Better contact and it was a certain goal. But it wasn’t and it was another good chance which we should have converted. It went out for another corner but this one came to nothing. Shortly afterwards we won another corner as we pushed Pitshanger back and back, but again it came to nothing. The ball came back in to play and we won a throw in on the right hand side. The ball came across to Jackson who was in space. Again he drove forward from defence up his left wing. He breezed past Pitshanger players with his speed. When he got within shooting distance he let fly. A great shot but just over the bar. Amazing vision to switch from right to left quickly in defence and then for Jackson to drive forward with real purpose. Great work Jackson, very nearly got your goal. By now Pitshanger were all defence. They were boxed in and we stole the ball, the cross came in and it came to Musa, he had a shot but unfortunately it flew over the bar. Great effort Musa. We kept trying but it was the accuracy of our finishing which was the difference between a win and a big win. In a way, it was if we were trying too hard instead of relaxing and executing the simple things well. At times we also tried to over-complicate things, holding on to the ball instead of the quick give and goes we have been working on since we resumed training. Pitshanger had nothing really going forward so this allowed us to control things. Conor played in Daniel who won a corner. Conor whipped it in and it beat the keeper and was going straight in but a Pitshanger defender stopped it with his hands. Penalty. Finbar placed the ball. He struck it well but unfortunately it was high and over the bar. From the kick out it came straight to Conor, he shot but it went wide. Jackson had gotten a taste for driving forward and he was off again. When he crossed the half way line he slotted the ball in to Finbar. He had a shot but the keeper got behind it to save it. Jackson still wasn’t finished. From a Pitshanger goal kick he received the ball with one thing on his mind. Get forward!!! This he did in style, when he got within range he fired off a powerful shot but it was left and wide. We were all having a go. This was followed by Jackson’s defensive partner, Sean, also getting in on the action. We were up front again, Sean was in an advanced position and the ball came to him. He controlled it well and got the ball out of his feet. He fired off a shot but it was just wide. Very unlucky Sean. What was great to see today was our tight defence and the way we used Iggy to spread the ball and play confidently out of defence. This was brilliant boys and was typified when we played it out to Caiden, who broke strongly through the middle. Pitshanger players bouncing off him as he drove forward. He was so determined and when he got in to range he let fly with a shot. Unfortunately it missed but what a strong determined run which really frightened the Pitshanger players trying to stop him. Pitshanger to be fair to them did keep trying and even though they were dominated, so far in this second half we still hadn’t managed to add another goal to our score. They won an indirect free kick for a backpass. We defended well, but their execution was poor and it blasted high over the bar, but it was a rare scare for us, especially as we wanted to maintain a clean sheet. The last action of the half was another break from us. This time Seb broke straight through. He was one on one. He tried to go around the keeper but he just managed to get his hands to the ball to deny Seb. It was a clever break through the defensive line from Seb but the keeper was up to it. And with that the ref blew it up. Game over and three points in the bag after our first league game. Chris and I were delighted with that but we, along with the boys did feel as though we could have won by a lot more than 2 goals. The stats tell the story clearly. In the first half we had 12 attempts on goal, in the second half we had 15 attempt on goal. That is a total of 27 attempts at least with just 2 goals score. That is an incredible amount of attempts with a poor return for that amount. Even if we had converted one in two attempts we would of and should have hit Pitshanger for double figures. Of course, getting off to a win was exactly what we all wanted and achieving that with a clean sheet. Without question we dominated today and our football was accurate, controlled and direct from start to finish, all over the pitch. We were also very happy with the substitutions coming on, the level remained constant and that is exactly what we are after. The only thing was our finishing and putting away our chances. The boys were more frustrated than us, but what do we do? We learn and we keep practicing and we improve. This is the only way we know. It will come boys and when it does the flood gates will open. The point Chris and I want to make is, against stronger teams we won’t get so many chances and when we do we will need to make the most of them, we will work on this and it will happen. So well done boys and congratulations on you win on our opening day of our season. Brentham Colts on Sunday, our local rivals. Bring they on, we are ready!!!!!!!! Denis and Chris

18/10/20 Celtic 1-3 Bremtham Colts Reds

Team Borys Malaczek Caiden Hall Conor Nugent Daniel Killeen Edward Flewitt Finbar O’Sullivan Hassan Mustafa ( C ) Iggy Duff Jackson Payne Kuba Mazur Marouane Benslimane Millad Dost Musa Sa’id Sean Leon-Rivera Sebastian Surmacz Tyler Birch-Campbell Today we welcomed Brentham Colts to our home ground. Following our opening win last week and the quality of our display we were confident going in to this game. Brentham are our local rivals and we were expecting a strong challenge today. The boys were fired up and ready to go. Chris and I set them up and our Captain Hassan had the final word before taking to the field. Just after kick off Brentham won a corner but it came to nothing. We won a throw in which released Finbar, he drove forward and found Tyler in good space. Tyler controlled it well and it looked like a certain goal, but his shot missed just left. The signs were good. Then Brentham came down our end. With the ball going along the right, Jackson was alert to the danger and he cut the ball out with an awesome well timed sliding tackle. Quality Jackson!!! It was early in the game but it was already end to end football. To be honest it was a bit frantic and we needed to settle and play our game. Tyler picked up the ball on the right and dribbled past the defence. He had another great chance but was denied. The ball came back out to Conor who had a quick shot but again no joy. We were certainly creating the chances but not taking them. This attempt was quickly followed by Tyler again trying his luck down the right and he was having a good time of it. He beat the defender and let fly at goal but it went over the bar. On another day he could have had a hat trick by now. We had another great attempt but the Ref ruled it offside which was very harsh. We then won a free kick. Conor put it in to the box and Jackson rose high to meet it at the back post. He got his head on the ball but it went just over. Our chances were mounting, would we pay the price for not converting? From the Brentham goal kick we drove straight back at them. Tyler played the ball to Finbar. Finbar opened up his body and let fly. His shot was heading for goal but it deflected for a corner off a defender’s back. Our corner came to nothing and Brentham broke and won a corner of their own. But that came to nothing. This was their first real attempt in a while as we were making all the running. Our defence was well disciplined and Marouane was having a great game on his first start. He was composed and strong. We had a goal kick and Brentham pressed us high and won the ball. They beat the offside and when the attacker got to the byline he crossed the ball in from the right into a dangerous area. Their centre forward muscled his way through and tapped it home. 0 – 1. It was a good goal to be fair but we could have dealt with things differently when clearing our lines. Brentham were just more switched on than us and they were rewarded. We had the better of the chances but we found ourselves behind. Brentham broke again and won a free kick. The ball came in at speed and on target. Iggy read it well and managed to push it behind for a corner with a great save. The corner came in but it came to nothing. Great work Iggy. With the half drawing to a close we broke again and Tyler was on the ball again threatening. He had a couple of close chances which were blocked. The ball came to Daniel and he had a quick snap shot but it flew wide and with that the Ref blew for half time. The boys were focussed but a bit frustrated. We were a goal behind but with the chances we had we could easily have been a few in front. It was a tough fought contest and the boys were keen to get back out for the second half. The second half kicked off and we won an attacking throw in on the right had side. It was a half chance for us but it came to nothing. Then Brentham broke and it was Sean who cut out their attack with a great strong tackle. We then counter attacked and Tyler tried down the right again. Their left back was having a great game and cut Tyler out at the expense of a corner. This was a great battle between the both of them. The resulting corner came to nothing. Back down our end Marouane picked up the ball and drove forward from defence. He played a great ball in to Tyler. He had a snap shot and it flew over the bar. Great effort boys. The game was so fast now. We attacked, then they broke back. Jackson was there again with another fantastic tackle. Our defensive line was playing very well. We changed things up a bit and Borys came on for his debut for us and straight away his strength made a difference. We were looking forward to seeing him in action. Brentham had a goal kick and drove forward with intent down the wing. Jackson was really switched on and blocked the attack and it went for a corner. They had a shot but it was an easy save for Iggy. Iggy found Marouane with a quick out ball. Marouane again broke from defence with real purpose down the right wing. His directness and strength won us a corner but it came to nothing. Great work Marouane. We were having the better of things and really pressurising Brentham. Finbar picked up the ball out wide on the left. He crossed the ball in to Tyler who was unmarked straight in front of goal. It looked like a simple tap in but when it came off his boot it sliced right and came off the post. It looked a certain goal and a great chance to equalise but it didn’t happen. We then won a corner. Conor found Jackson again at the back post. Jackson got his head to it but this time he glanced it wide. Very close again. We won yet another corner and it was a bit of a scramble in the box. We tried to force it in but Brentham just managed to save it on the line. We were so unlucky yet again. The luck was certainly with Brentham today. It wasn’t from the want of trying that we were still behind. We were throwing everything at them but just not getting the ball in the net. Conor then had a shot but it had no strength and was an easy save for their keeper. They then won a free kick but it came to nothing. This was followed by a mistake in defence by their keeper who lost control of the ball with his feet. We pressurised him but were unable to capitalise upon his mistake. Brentham then broke and this time it was Hassan who cut out the attack with a great tackle which went for a corner but it came to nothing. Borys was really making an impact with his directness. He picked up the ball and had a shot which forced their keeper in to a good save at the expense of a corner. It came in and went for another corner. A couple of decent chances for us but Brentham dealt with it well. Then just as they had soaked up our pressure they broke from defence down the left and towards our box. Their winger caught hold of the ball really well and it flew through the air giving Iggy no chance. It was a worldy and nothing we could do about it, 0 – 2. They only had a few chances but they were two goals up. Our boys were taken aback but they got straight back to business to try to get back in to this game. There was loads of time left. Musa broke down the left wing and crossed in a great ball but none of our attackers were positioned well enough to take it. It was a quality cross but we just needed someone to get on the end of it. Tyler tried again and the left back cut him out again for yet another corner. We had so many in this game. The ball came in and Musa met it with a header which went over the bar. This was followed by Tyler finding Kuba with a pass. Kuba then laid it off to Finbar. He had a shot and it went behind for another corner. Great attacking interplay boys. Another corner another chance missed unfortunately. We were certainly knocking on the door but couldn’t break through. Brentham broke and it was Hassan again with a great defensive tackle but the Ref gave it as a free kick but it came to nothing. Then we lost possession in a poor area of the pitch which put us under pressure. Brentham broke again but it came to nothing. Full on end to end football now. Finbar broke at goal and we won another corner on the right hand side. The ball came back out. Sebastian picked it up. Totally composed he found Kuba in front who in turn picked out Finbar with a perfectly weighted pass which split the Brentham defence. Finbar ran on to it, got it out in front of him with the goalie rushing towards him. He gave him the eye and calmly passed it past him to the keepers right and found the far corner. We finally got the goal we were looking for. 1 – 2. It was a well taken goal from Finbar but what ball from Kuba to set him up. This was a perfect example of quick interplay between the three boys. Great work boys. There was still time left but it wasn’t much. Chris and I decided to go all out for another goal as we said 1 – 3 or 1 – 2 really makes no difference. We really were giving it everything and we were so close but as football goes sometimes it just wasn’t our day. Brentham broke and we were pushed up. They took full advantage and Iggy was basically left defenceless and they capitalised with another goal. 1 – 3. And that was it game over. This was another head scratcher. The scoreline definitely didn’t reflect the real story of the game but unfortunately the scoreline is what determines where the points go. We certainly did enough to win this game but for a second week in a row we didn’t make the most of our chances. This is the baffling thing. Chris and I are very happy with the performances throughout the squad. If we can convert more of the chances we create we will be an awesome force to be reckoned with. It will come but with a big test ahead of us next week against the unbeaten Hanwell Town we need to get it going quickly. We have the tools to match any team, it all comes down to who takes their chances. Denis and Chris

25/10/20 Hanwell Town 0-0 Celtic

Team Borys Malaczek Caiden Hall Conor Nugent Daniel Killen Edward Flewitt Emmanuel Buck-Atsuvi Finbar O’Sullivan Hassan Mustafa ( C ) Iggy Duff Jackson Payne Kacper Szot Kuba Mazur Millad Dost Musa Sa’id Sebastian Surmacz Tyler Birch-Campbell Last week the result against Brentham Colts was somewhat disappointing for boys and coaches alike. Not because of the result, it was disappointing because without doubt we are a better team than them and we had the better of things in the game. And if we had taken advantage of even half of the chances we created we would have put the game to bed early. But we didn’t and we have to take that on the chin and learn from it. We are good enough to win the competitions we are involved in but we can’t afford too many missed opportunities to get points from games and this is even more crucial when we commence the knock out Cup games. You only get one chance to win these knock out games and we need to take them. This was going to be a tough one today up against the top team in our Premier Division. Hanwell Town are flying at the moment, winning all three of their opening three games. They are known to be a skilful team, who are also physically strong but with the squad we have we knew that we certainly had the tools to deal with them. Our training sessions on Thursday and Saturday were of the highest quality so Chris and I knew the boys were ready for this challenge. We have been working upon a new formation and we were keen to see how it would play out today. We also welcomed Emmanuel (Manny) back to our team after being away for a year. He was home and we were looking forward to seeing him back in action for us. We set them up and they were ready to go and get in to it. Game on. The Ref blew the whistle for the start of the game and we were on it right away. From the kick off we won an attacking throw in, Manny pick up the ball and got a shot away. It went out for a corner but it came to nothing. Hanwell then came down our end and won a corner of their own. The ball came in and they scored but the Ref ruled it out for a push in the back. We got away with one there. Even though it was early in the game, Jackson was looking very controlled in defence and up front Finbar and Manny were combining well. We won another corner on the right. Conor put it in to the back post and Musa was there to meet it. He climbed high, unmarked and got his head to it but it went over the bar, great effort and positioning Musa. We wanted to put them under pressure and from the goal kick we pressed them straight away giving them no options to play out from defence. The goalkeeper made a mistake because of our pressing but he just about got away with it. This was exactly the game plan we wanted to execute, great stuff boys. From another high press we forced another mistake. Finbar nicked the ball and laid it off to Conor in space. Conor shot but it was just wide to the left of the post. Another example of reward from the high press. We then won an attacking throw in, Finbar was on to it again. He got off his shot, it was on target but deflected off the back of the Hanwell defender and out for another corner on the right. This was our third one. The ball came in but the keeper dealt with it easily this time. Again we high pressed the goal kick and it was Finbar again who was making a nuisance of himself giving the defenders no chance to settle and play out. He nicked the ball again and fired at goal. It was saved and he had another one, again it was saved for a corner this time. But unfortunately our fourth corner of the game came to nothing. Finbar was working tirelessly up front to frustrate Hanwell and give their defence lots of problems. Hanwell broke forward but it came to nothing. Then they had another attempt but again the shot came to nothing. This was followed by Borys picking up the ball in midfield with his strength and tight ball control he found Finbar with a great through ball. Finbar ran on to it and drove at goal and won yet another corner for his efforts. Conor drove it in low and hard and Caiden who had literally just come on as a sub very nearly put it away with his first touch. So close and what an entry to the game that would have been for Caiden, very unlucky not to get on the score sheet. From the goal kick Hanwell came on the attack, we dealt with it but they won an attacking throw in. We stole the ball and broke from defence with a quick counter attack. It was Finbar again up front who got the ball out of his feet and let fly. Their keeper was busy but composed, he blocked Finbar’s shot with a fine save. The Hanwell was certainly the busier of the two but Iggy had to be totally focussed because they were a dangerous side going forward and he was certainly focussed today. We were putting them under continued pressure which was exactly what we wanted, the boys were executing our gameplan to perfection and even when Hanwell did try to attack we stood strong and firm to cut them out. This was typified by Musa in midfield who cut out one attack and straight away cut out a second attack in quick succession. This was the hunger and passion which we want from every boy. Conor was positioned further forward than usual with our new formation and this suited him. He too was battling hard in the middle of the pitch to win 50/50 balls. All our boys were on it today which was great to see. Borys was having a lot of success in the middle of the pitch and he flicked a cheeky ball over the top to find Tyler, who in turn headed it on to Finbar. He had another shot on target but again their keeper did well to keep him out. Compared to Hanwell we were having all the attempts and corners but their keeper was really keeping them in this battle. The half finished with Conor pressing them high again. We were finishing the half as we started. Pressing high and not allowing their defence to play out. At half time Chris and I congratulated the boys on their first half performance but we were only half way through this test. We were really happy with the new formation, we just wanted the boys to push on and make the most of the chances we were creating. We were certainly controlling the game and really limiting the Hanwell chances. We were controlled, strong, focussed and dangerous. Hanwell were worried and we wanted to push on. We changed things up a bit at half time with Daniel coming on for Borys which would create new problems for Hanwell. The second half kicked off and Hanwell had an early chance but it came to nothing. Then it was us on the counter again. Conor played a through ball in to Finbar which split the defence. Finbar only knows one thing, drive at goal and make them back up and panic and Hanwell did just that. He got his shot away. This time it beat the keeper but unfortunately for Finbar he beat the keeper but it was the width of the post which denied him his goal. It rebounded out and Musa latched on to it and he let fly with a snap shot of his own but the keeper recovered to save his effort. This new combination of Finbar and Conor was working really, just a shame we weren’t rattling the back of the net. We won a corner on the right hand side and Conor put it in. It was put behind for a corner. The ball came in, Hanwell cleared it but it went behind for another corner. It came in for the second time, high this time which cleared the players in the centre. Manny was at the back post and directed the ball on target but yet again it was saved. We were certainly having the better of things but Hanwell are not top of our Division for no reason. They won a free kick inside our half on the right. Chris and I were standing right behind their taker. He whipped the ball in with speed and it was ducking just under the crossbar. Iggy was totally well positioned, focussed and read it all the way. It was too high and dangerous to try to grab it with his hands so he adjusted his position perfectly and with a strong fist and straight arm he punched it over the bar for a corner. What a save by Iggy, outstanding, Hanwell were sure they would score but Iggy was having none of it. Real quality Iggy. From the resulting corner Hanwell got nothing. Daniel is a different player physically to Borys who he replaced but his battling for the ball is second to none. He never accepts that he won’t get the ball. He is simply amazing. Hanwell tried to break again, but Jackson was in again with a fantastic tackle to cut them out. He gathered the ball and played it out of defence up the wing to Manny. Manny spotted Tyler on the run and he played the ball in to space in front of him it was just a bit too strong of a pass and Tyler couldn’t reach it but it was a great spot by Manny. We then won a free kick a good distance out. We tried our luck but nothing came of it. We were playing really well and stretching Hanwell all over the place with our quick interplay. Hanwell were still a threat though. They attacked again on the left but Ed was there to cut them out with a great block which went behind for a corner. Hanwell put it in but it came to nothing. Hanwell were pushing and they broke through the centre and fired off a shot. Iggy stopped it with a great save which pushed it out for a corner. The ball came in and it looked like a certain goal but Ed read the threat really was there to clear off the line. Absolute quality Ed. Amazing awareness to deny Hanwell. Shortly afterwards Hanwell countered again but we cut it out and we then went on the counter attack ourselves. Tyler ran at goal and let fly but again their busy keeper was there to save. To be honest he was having a great game and was really keeping Hanwell in the game. He was quickly called in to action again. This time it was Finbar playing the ball through to Tyler who was doing brilliantly by arcing his runs to beat the off side trap. It was a great through ball but the keeper read it well and cut it out before it reached Tyler. With the game drawing to a close both sets of coaches were getting nervous, as they knew with the time left, if a goal was scored that would be it. We were more nervous than the boys, they were doing their job brilliantly. We pressed again high. This tactic really worked for us today. We gave Hanwell very few options to play out of defence. Many picked up the ball on the left and skilfully battled his way in to the box. Surrounded by defenders he went down. We thought it was a penalty but the Ref was having none of it and waved it away. The ball came out and there was a 50/50 between a Hanwell player and Jackson. There was only going to be one winner in this contest. Jackson went in strong and fair. The Hanwell player bounced off him and hit the deck. Jackson stood strong like an oak tree and the poor Hanwell player had to leave the field, completely winded. This strength and determination from Jackson typified our TEAM PERFORMANCE today. Magnificent. With just minutes to go, another Hanwell attempt which looked like a certain goal was saved brilliantly by a well positioned Iggy. His focus was top notch today even though he wasn’t as busy as the Hanwell keeper. Even their coach who was beside me on the touchline though it was a goal but Iggy was not going to be beaten. Outstanding display Iggy. And with that the Ref finally blew the whistle for the end of what was an amazing game of high quality football. I would gladly pay to watch football like this. Forget about the professional Premier League this was top quality football we had the pleasure of watching today. The spectators witnessed a treat today, we all did. I have to say that our boys were simply amazing today. They executed our game plan to perfection. They pressed high to stop out balls, they were strong on and off the ball, they were focussed, they communicated brilliantly and their quick interplay was a joy to behold. They were stunning today. A draw was probably a fair result but I did feel as though we had the winning of this game today. We had about 10 corners and numerous shots and chances. Again if we had taken just one I am sure we would have hit Hanwell for a few. But it wasn’t to be. This was a great game and it proves to Chris and me that this is a team really going places and finding their tight form. We are strong defensively and a constant threat going forward, with a great keeper. We really are building a very good squad and the future is looking really bright for these boys. Keep up the hard work in training and on match day’s boys, always push and the rewards are there to be had. You were excellent today boys you should be very proud of yourselves, your parents and coaches certainly are. Denis and Chris

1/11/20 Celtic Reds 3-2 Bessingby Park Rangers Reds

Team Borys Malaczek Caiden Hall Conor Nugent Daniel Killen Edward Flewitt Emmanuel Buck-Atsuvi Finbar O’Sullivan Hassan Mustafa ( C ) Iggy Duff Jackson Payne Kacper Szot Marouane Benslimane Musa Sa’id Sean Leon-Rivera Sebastian Surmacz Tyler Birch-Campbell Following our great performance last week against Hanwell Town and the quality and intensity of our training sessions since then, Chris and I were really challenging the boys to go out there today and really show what all the hard work in training is building towards, top quality match day performances. Today the boys were totally focussed on that. Since the Hanwell game we lost Kuba to another club which was sad but we fully respected his decision to move in order to get more game time. Kuba was with us for two and a half years and was a big part in our U12 League Cup winning season. We all wish him the best with his new team and lots of success. For us he will always be a part of our Celtic history. Today we were also without Millad who was carrying an injury but was there with us on the sideline to support his team mates. We set the boys up and their performance challenge was clear. Go out there and execute it. As is customary now, following our coaches talk, Hassan gathers the boys and gives his Captain’s talk. This is proper leadership and teamwork. This is a proper squad of footballers which is exactly what we are all building together. It is testimony to our squad strength that the boys who started as substitutes today were equally as strong as the boys who started. For us coaches this is what we are after and it allows us so many strong choices to mix things up with no drop in overall strength. Healthy competition is what has brought us here and that is a credit to the boys themselves and all their hard work in training. Bessingby kicked off and straight away they launched a ball over the top, down the centre. Their striker latched on to it and got a shot away but it was straight at Iggy and he gathered it easily. This was an early warning for us and if their striker was more on it, it could have cost us dearly. We know Bessingby are a useful team from the pre-season match we had against them during the Summer. We have such a solid defensive line now, with strength in depth but even better than that we have defenders who are assured and skillful enough to carry the ball forward out of defence to spring counter attacks and while doing so we are organised to cover the spaces they leave. This is intelligent football and shows the maturity and development of our boys. This was typified by Sean who drove out of defence. He played the ball to Caiden, who in turn laid it off to Finbar. He looked up and found Conor in space, he got a shot away but the Bessingby keeper got his hands to it to deny him. This was followed by some great work by Musa and Jackson covering a Bessingby attack. Then Hassan got in on the action with a typically Hassan covering tackle to cut out another attack at the expense of a corner. The ball came in and Iggy was well positioned to gather it. The warnings were there for us but we were dealing with them really well. We were finding our own rhythm and when we won a free kick on the right hand side. Conor put in a perfect delivery in to the box. Caiden was there on the end of it for a tap in but unfortunately he missed the ball and the chance was gone. We were really threatening now. This effort was followed soon after by Marouane bursting out of defence on the right wing and combining well with Finbar and Ed which was great to see. Finbar then was played through and he was in on goal. The keeper came out to cut down his angle but Finbar went around him and was about to get a shot away when he went to ground from a challenge by the keeper. From the sidelines it looked like a certain penalty, but the referee waved away our appeals. Bessingby certainly were lucky to get away with one there. I have definitely seen penalties given for less. Another strong break out of defence by Jackson saw him combine really well with Seb, who received the ball and played it back in to the path of Jackson who kept his run going. Jackson controlled the ball instantly, got it out of his feet and fired off a shot but it whizzed wide. Jackson was certainly keen to get forward and attack. Seb combined really well and was having a fantastic game in his first start for us. His work rate in training these past couple of weeks has been of the highest quality and it was great to see him really take his opportunity to start. It was honestly an easy decision for Chris and I and we were delighted to see him excel. He was having a great game and enjoying himself. We were now really pressing Bessingby and another attack saw us win a corner on the right. Our big guns went up for it and Conor put in a pin point delivery over the keeper to the back post. Such a dangerous ball and who was there to attack it but our perfectly placed Captain, Hassan. He met the ball with a strong header which from close range gave Bessingby no chance, 1 – 0. Hassan wheeled away and was congratulated by his team mates. Chris and I were delighted, we have been winning so many corners from our attacking play in recent games but just not capitalising on them. Today was different. We win a corner, we score a goal with a header. This is what we have been waiting for, taking advantage of set pieces. Fantastic work boys and our Captain leading by example. This was a top quality goal. Bessingby won a free kick on the left but it came to nothing. Then Seb again on the left was causing their defence so much trouble, his confidence and close control was of the highest quality and they couldn’t get near him but not just that, his lay-offs to his team mates were quality. We attacked down the right and won another corner but this time it came to nothing. After that we attacked again and Conor was in control of the ball in the box with his back to goal. He was taken down with a tackle from behind which came straight through him. For sure we thought it was a clear cut penalty but to our disbelief the Ref didn’t even consider it a penalty. We definitely needed VAR for that one, it certainly would have been given, but it wasn’t and we just got on with it. We then won another free kick. Conor put it in to the danger area in the box but it came to nothing. This was followed by another free kick on the right but again it came to nothing. Jackson had been driving forward on the left wing but on the right hand side it was Marouane doing exactly the same. When he got on the ball his intention was to drive forward out of defence and he did so with great skill, intent and strength. He was like a tank driving forward, nothing was stopping him, it was amazing to watch him. Bessingby had an uneventful drive forward and unfortunately we didn’t read the ball over the top and we gave away a needless corner. If we left it, it would have harmlessly went wide. But they won a corner on the right. The ball came in and we simply didn’t deal with the delivery and Bessingby equalised with a headed goal of their own from a corner. 1 – 1. This was a soft goal from a soft corner which was a bit disappointing following all our pressure. Bessingby were back in the game. We put the goal behind us and Musa picked up the ball and broke through the centre and out to the left. He got a great cross in to the box but had no Celtic runners and the keeper gathered it. Bessingby then won a defensive throw in, which they lost due to our high press. Manny picked up the ball and went on a skilful dribble down the left. He got to the byline surrounded by defenders. He got a shot away but it deflected behind for a corner. Finbar put the ball in perfectly. Our big guns were up again and this time it was Caiden who rose to meet the ball with a well controlled header. From close range he made no mistake finding the back of the net, 2 – 1. Another headed goal from a corner, superb boys. These corner set pieces were really working today, the boys hard work in training was really paying off. With the first half drawing to a close Bessingby attacked but Iggy read it really well and cut it out before it even got going. Great vision and reading of the danger Iggy. That was the last real action of the half and on the whole we deserved our lead. Our new signings played really well and I was very impressed with Seb’s performance and we still had big game players on the bench waiting to join the action. This is some squad we now have. Our half time team talk was an easy one. More of the same and push home our dominance. Be ruthless and finish off the game. The boys were really on it today and with fresh legs coming on in the second half this challenge shouldn’t be a problem, but they needed to focus and close this out. The second half began and we won an early free kick just outside their box. Finbar dinked it in but it was dealt with easily and cleared. Then down our end the Ref gave a handball against Marouane. Bessingby took it but it went harmlessly over the bar. Shortly afterwards they attacked again but our defence dealt with it. We then closed them down with great pressure from Tyler. He won the ball and played the ball in to Finbar who drove straight at goal dangerously. The keeper couldn’t deal with him and took him down in the box. A clear cut penalty and the Ref pointed straight to the spot. Finbar placed it and fired it low and straight down the middle. It was a risked placement and the keeper fell on it but the power of the shot forced it under and past the keeper and across the line. 3 – 1 to Celtic and we were hungry for more. Bessingby came forward again and again we cut them out and countered. Daniel at speed found Finbar, who crossed the ball in to the danger area. It looked like Sean was going to have the simplest of tap-ins but at the vital he took his eye off the ball and the chance was gone. Unlucky Sean. We were looking increasingly dangerous and from another attacking throw in Jackson steamed forward again. He crossed in to the box but the keeper cut it out. We won a corner but we took it far too quickly instead of waiting for the big guns to come up again and look for them as we had done with our first two goals. There is nothing wrong in mixing things up but if we had had success previously perhaps we should have tried the same again. I was very impressed with Kacper when he joined the action he was a real live wire and battled hard for every ball which was great to see. Musa came off injured, he really gave everything today and put in a great shift and performance. This was followed by Marouane retiring. He had run himself in to the ground for his team, another amazing performance. We had to adjust slightly. It was a good battle in the midfield now with Bessingby chasing the game. They won a free kick and the Ref allowed the advantage. We were guilty of being sloppy in defence which is a rarity. Bessingby got the shot away and there was nothing Iggy could do about it. To be perfectly honest this was avoidable and our momentary loss of focus cost us. 3 – 2. This was a lot closer now than it needed to be but fair play to Bessingby they were sticking with it. With just one goal in it now Bessingby were going for it and pressing us all over the pitch and physically they were much improved. The game went through a bit of a messy period which was understandable. Sean gave away a free kick outside our box which made Chris and me nervous with the win in the balance. Fortunately for us the resulting shot came to nothing. We were still looking to extend our lead again. Daniel, skillful as ever dribbled past the Bessingby defenders but was taken down just outside the box. Conor composed himself for the free kick. He let fly and it flew just outside the post, top-bins. Close but not close enough. We were winning the battles again and Daniel won another free kick which he took himself. He fired and was so unlucky. His effort beat the keeper and only just missed as it came off the post. So close again. Shortly afterwards and with the game drawing to a close we won another free kick outside the box. Up stepped Daniel again but this time his effort was over the bar. He was really dangerous on the left wing and was causing the Bessingby defence on their right hand side loads of problems. With seconds left we were still pressing high with was great and we did the business to secure the win and three points. It was a great game to watch. We dominated the majority of the game but to be fair Bessingby never gave up and came back in to the game, but really we let them. We have got to be more ruthless when dominating, but a win is a win and I will take that all day long. Today showed Chris and I what a really strong squad we have. We have strength in depth and the competition for places has meant that all the boys are really stepping up which as coaches is fantastic to witness. We see them all work hard in training and that is carried on to match day, we are privileged to coach them. So well done boys, there is always room for improvement, but you were very impressive today. You should be very proud of yourselves. It is such a shame that at the time of writing this report we are a week in to our second lockdown, not a full one this time, but unfortunately all grassroots football has ceased. All of us have worked so hard to get us back to playing football, but with Covid-19 on the rise again we have been forced in to this second national lockdown. Personally I don’t get the logic in ceasing outdoor training and sport for children but just like we do in matches when decisions don’t go our way, we just have to accept it and carry on while remaining safe and strong. So it will be a while before we all hook up again so until we do, keep safe and well, boys and families. We have built good momentum boys, keep that up at home with exercise and ball work and try and get out as much as you can with another boy at weekends. All the best for now and we look forward to seeing you all very soon. Denis and Chris

6/12/20 Celtic 4-1 London Athletic

Team Borys Malaczek Caiden Hall Conor Nugent Daniel Killen Edward Flewitt Emmanuel Buck-Atsuvi Finbar O’Sullivan Hassan Mustafa ( C ) Iggy Duff Jackson Payne Kacper Szot Millad Dost Musa Sa’id Sean Leon-Rivera Sebastian Surmacz Tyler Birch-Campbell It was fantastic to be back at Brentfields for our first game after the latest lockdown. We missed or football this past four weeks but I have to say that our two training sessions this week were great. The boys were really putting the hard work in. Today we were facing London Athletic against whom we had a few issues last season. But today that meant nothing. Today was all about our boys putting into practice what they worked hard upon in training. No need to motivate them, they knew what had to be done and they were up for it today. Chris and I set them up and it was over to them. The whistle blew and we were straight on it. We won an early corner, which was defended for a second corner. The ball was cleared. It came out to Ed, he controlled it and picked out Finbar ahead of him. Finbar went straight for goal and got a shot away. The keeper stopped it but he fumbled it. Jackson was still up top following the corners. He pounced upon the keepers fumble and forced it into the net. 1 – 0. Fantastic work Jackson. Also Ed and Finbar for getting the ball back into the danger area quickly. What a start. We were 1 – 0 up within two minutes. It was a perfect start but we were under no illusions that this was going to be an easy game. London Athletic won a free kick but it came to nothing. They also won a corner but that also came to nothing. Great defence boys. They also won a free kick on the left, but again, nothing. They were having a go but we were holding firm. They had a good shot from outside the box which from the sideline looked like a certain goal but Iggy wasn’t having that. He sprung at full stretch to his left and reached it with a strong hand and a great save to push it behind for a corner. Fantastic reflexes Iggy, spot on. The resulting corner again came to nothing. We broke forward on the left with Daniel. He quickly drove forward a fired off a great shot at goal which their keeper saved but flapped at it to clear. He looked nervous and we needed to take advantage of this. They had a goal kick and it came to Daniel. He drove straight back at goal and fired again but the keeper gathered it this time. We were pushing them back and getting chances, which was great to see. The game went through a bit of a messy period and then we lost Caiden with a cut lip. He was replaced by Borys, no drop in strength there. Ed gathered the ball and got a shot at goal, but this time it was an easy save for the keeper. Shortly afterwards we won a corner on the right. Conor delivered a testing ball to the back post, again the keeper flapped at it. The ball fell to Musa who was well positioned to get a snap shot. It was deflected off a LA defender and ended up in the back of the net. 2 – 0. Musa looked for the goal but VAR ruled it as an own goal. Unlucky Musa, your time will come. We won another corner and this time the keeper punched it clear, the ball came out to Millad. He got it under control and fired off a shot from distance. It was worth the chance but it went right and wide. Great to see the confidence to have a go Millad, especially recognising the nervous keeper. We won a free kick on the left. Musa was strong to receive but LA dealt with it. LA then won an attacking throw in. The ball came in, but instead of heading the ball clear straight away we tried to boot it clear but missed the chance. The ball came to a LA player who let fly at goal and luckily for us it glanced the crossbar and over. But it could just as easily been a goal. Boys, particularly in defensive areas of the pitch, there are times when we just need to get rid of the ball straight away. These are decisions which can decide games and we need to choose wisely. This is a learning process boys, which is the mental part of playing and understanding football. We won a free kick on the right hand side, just outside the box. Conor lofted it perfectly to the back post and Musa was there again to meet it. This time with a header. We thought it was a certain goal but his header went just over the bar. LA got away with one there. Fantastic set-piece play boys and perfect positioning Musa. We broke again quickly from defence with Sean taking the ball forward with terrific strength and skill. The LA players couldn’t get near him. He played a beautiful ball over the top to Daniel. The keeper was nowhere and as Daniel was running in on goal he was pushed and went over for another free kick. Borys had a chance but unfortunately it flew over the bar. Great work out of defence from Sean and we are certainly creating chances, we just need to be putting them away and punishing teams when we are top. It was fantastic to see today our breaking out of defence. All the boys weren’t shy in driving forward to spring attacks when Iggy picked them out. This time He found Ed, who picked out a superb pass over the top of the LA defence. Daniel beat the offside trap brilliantly and drove diagonally across the face of the keeper, who couldn’t get near him. He calmly rounded the keeper and slotted home in to the empty net. 3 – 0. What a finish, but what a complete team goal. From back to front in a couple of moves finished off perfectly. That is real quality. Ed your ball over the top was genius. What a great way to go in at half time. As always with our boys, all Chris and I wanted was more of the same but we also challenged them to up our levels even more and push on. The boys needed no encouragement to rise to this challenge. They wanted more goals and put this game out of sight for LA. The second half kicked off and LA came out strong, with a new keeper. The beginning of the second half was pretty even, but Daniel was still causing them loads of problems on the leftwing. He picked up the ball and drove towards the box but was pushed in the back and went down. The LA defender picked up a yellow card for the push. It was just outside the box in a central position. Daniel placed the ball and fired the ball in. The new keeper was more on it and pushed it around the post for a corner. So close Daniel. The resulting corner came in but this time it came to nothing. Quickly after this corner we won another free kick outside the box and Daniel placed it again. He had a sighter previously and this time he would make adjustments. The wall was formed and Daniel was ready. From a short run up he clipped the ball. It beat the wall. It beat the keeper. It found the back of the net. 4 – 0. Absolute quality Daniel. It was a perfect free kick which gave LA no chance. As he spun away in celebration all his team mates rushed to congratulate him and from the sidelines we just applauded, we were privileged to see this sort of quality. We were in total control now. LA to be fair to them were still battling even being four goals behind. They tried down the right and won a corner, followed immediately by another corner. The ball came in high this time and Borys cleared it with a great defensive header out of our box. We had Sean and Jackson pushing forward on the left and on the right we had Millad breaking forward. The beauty of these breaks out of defence by our defenders was the discipline of the rest of the defence, along with the boys just in front to cover any holes in the back line when boys went forward. This shows brilliant footballing maturity boys and Chris and I were very impressed. So when Millad broke forward, he was safe in the knowledge that the cover was there for him behind. He passed a lovely ball down the line to Seb and we won an attacking throw in. When the ball came back in to play it found Borys. He controlled the ball instantly and got it out of his feet and let fly with a shot which whizzed over the bar. Close again Borys. Caiden came back on the pitch after his cut lip and his combination play with Tyler was really causing LA all sorts of problems. Both of them were strong, direct and skillful. This interplay allowed Caiden to have the opportunity to have a shot, but l like Borys before him, it flew over the bar. We were winning all the midfield battles now and our strength on the ball and in tackles was amazing. This is what we are doing in every game now. And with every game we are getting stronger. Our interplay and combinations were great but so were our runs off the ball and finding space. This is what we are working hard upon in training and it is clicking together nicely, as I said already. With every game we get better and better. Great progress boys. This interplay was shown perfectly in our next move. Manny drove at defence, he picked out Seb in space with a great pass. Seb then played it on to Tyler. He was tightly marked but with his skill he found that bit of space and got his shot away but it flew just wide. Very close Tyler but I have to say it was excellent build up play between all three boys. This attack was quickly followed by Manny winning us another corner with his direct and skillful attacking play on the left. But the corner came to nothing. After this we broke again but didn’t make the most of it. What we wanted now as coaches was a clean sheet. But unfortunately that wasn’t to be. LA won a free kick just outside our box on the right hand side. We set up our wall but something wasn’t right and when they took the free kick it flew straight in to the net. 4 – 1. He may have curled it but more than likely it was down to us not setting our set piece defence better. I know this was a consolation goal boys but it does show that you can be punished it you switch off at any time. In a tight game this could have cost us dearly. We just need to remember to stay focussed from start to finish. Always respect your opponent and remain focussed at all times. With time running out now we were still pushing forward. Manny combined again with Seb whose shot was saved well by the keeper. The ball came to Finbar and he put the ball back in the danger area. Kacper lost his marker and fired at goal. It looked a certain goal and it took an amazing diving save from the LA keeper to deny him. With just a couple of minutes left we won another free kick just outside the box on the right. Conor would normally take this on but this time he mixed it up and chipped a cheeky ball over the wall to the back post. Great delivery which completely fooled the LA defence. We had 4 boys at the back post who beat the offside. Chris and I thought it was a certain goal but it wasn’t and it was us who fumbled the ball. It fell to Kacper. He was stretching for it and somehow it managed to go over the bar rather than in to the net. But at 4 – 1 up we can forget about this miss. The game was over a long time ago and that was the last action of the game. This was an extremely good performance today from our boys. They were strong, controlled, disciplined and skillful. Everything we want them to be. It was a very convincing win and shows us that the hard work in training is really paying off. We could still do with putting away more of the many chances we create. Once we achieve this we will be unstoppable. But perhaps the greatest thing about this squad at present is the fact that Chris and I can swap players in and out and there is no dip in strength. We don’t have weak players, we have a full squad of boys who give everything and just keep working hard as individuals and most importantly as TEAM MATES. We don’t normally single boys out, but today I will make the exception. Daniel was simply amazing today. His battling, determination and skill is second to none. He was without doubt the best player on the pitch today and that is saying something because he is in a top quality squad of players. Real quality Daniel. So it was a convincing win against London Athletic which never looked in doubt. Another3 points on the board boys. Our next game is in Round 1 on the Middlesex U14 Cup. We lost in the Semi Final last year. This year Chris and I know we have the tools and belief to go all the way. So see you all at training where the hard work begins again. Denis and Chris

13/12/20 Celtic 2-1 Explorers Purples (Middx Cup 1st Rd)

Team Borys Malaczek Caiden Hall Conor Nugent Daniel Killen Edward Flewitt Emmanuel Buck-Atsuvi Finbar O’Sullivan Hassan Mustafa ( C ) Iggy Duff Jackson Payne Marouane Benslimane Millad Dost Musa Sa’id Sean Leon Rivera Sebastian Surmacz Tyler Birch-Campbell Today was our first involvement in the U14 Middlesex Cup. Last season we reached the Semi-Final and the season before it was the Quarter-Final. So today were commencing our Cup challenge in Round 1 and Chris and I have our sights on going all the way, we certainly have the squad to make that a reality and it begins today. We were up against Explorers U14 Purples who play in the Wycombe and South Bucks League. They are in the equivalent of our Premier Division so we knew that today was going to be a tough one against a strong team. Unfortunately Millad was unable to play today even though he was on the bench, he picked up an injury in training yesterday. We also had Borys and Manny on the bench carrying injuries, as was Caiden who was starting today. Chris and I set the boys up and Hassan and Jackson had their team talk and the boys were ready to go. Within the first minute of the game we won an attacking free kick but it came to nothing. This was followed by Marouane breaking from defence on the right. He played in Daniel who had his first shot on goal but it was saved but the keeper. Explorers then broke themselves and we didn’t get our tackles in which was rare for us now. They won a corner as a result but thankfully it came to nothing. WE NEED TO MAKE THOSE TACKLES COUNT BOYS, NO TOE DIPPING. GET STUCK IN!!! 50 / 50 BALLS SHOULD BE OURS Explorers were definitely a good team and they were putting us under pressure early on. They had a massive centre back. Strong midfielders and very quick strikers. We needed to settle the game down a bit as it was frantic to begin with. Jackson made a trademark break from defence to launch an attack. He found Musa in midfield who in turn laid it off to Finbar. He got it out of his feet, found a bit of space and got his shot away only to see it fly wide. Early on in the half we were creating problems for ourselves in midfield by not being quick enough on the ball and Explorers were winning the 50 / 50 balls. This had to change and we had to start taking control of things. Chris and I decided a bit of a change was necessary in our formation and we shuffled things around a bit which seemed to work. To the boys credit they worked this out also so when we sent out our instructions the boys knew exactly what we wanted them to do, which was tighten up the midfield and regain control. Strength in tackles and quick interplay was key. Explorers won a corner and the ball came out only to be fired back in by an Explorers player. Iggy was positioned perfectly to save it with ease. We then broke quickly but it came to nothing. Chris and I still weren’t entirely happy with the midfield battles, we needed to step it up in this area of the pitch. We needed someone to dictate things. Iggy gathered a ball and found Finbar with a terrific out ball to Finbar. He looked up and played a lovely through ball to Daniel which split the defence. Daniel on the right wing with his speed had the beating of the defender. He won this race and with the goal in range got his shot away. Again it missed just left and wide. Another good chance. Unfortunately we lost Caiden on 14 minutes to a groin strain which he picked up yesterday. He was replaced by Ed. Explores won an attacking free kick in a dangerous central position just outside our box. Iggy organised his wall well. The ball came in low and Iggy saved it easily. With the picture already in his head he picked out Hassan with a quick out ball. Hassan looked up and found Conor in space ahead of him. Conor scanned in front of him and he saw Daniel setting off on a run down the right wing at speed. Conor played a beautiful ball over the top of the defence which took them out of the game. It was a perfect ball which Daniel ran on to. Without breaking his stride he outpaced the defender and his first touch was a perfectly delivered cross in to the box. Ed ghosted in to the box and when Daniel’s ball came in at speed he was there at the near post and he swept the ball past the keeper and in to the back of the net at the near post. This was literally Ed’s first touch since coming on and he scored. 1 – 0. What a goal. From start to finish it was a perfect counter attacking move, started by the quick thinking of Iggy. Every part of this move was quick, accurate and direct. Four passes and it was in the back of the net. It was simply stunning. Fantasy football being played by our boys. If it was in the Premier League it would definitely be a contender for goal of the season. And here we were at Brentfields, witnessing such high quality football in the flesh. Absolute quality boys. This goal gave us the boost we needed. We attacked again and again. Daniel was on fire now. He had a few shots which the keeper just about dealt with. He was a very decent keeper and he needed to be to deny us. Jackson received the ball on the left. He calmly played it back to Iggy, who then found Marouane on the right with a good out ball. He drove down the right wing with great strength and determination. He played it forward to Daniel. He passed to Seb who then laid it off to Finbar. He got a shot away and pulled it left and wide. Another great effort. But what nice football with the ball being played across the back line from one side to another, up the wing and finished off with an attempt on goal. This was proper football being played by our boys and the best thing about it was the confidence with which the boys were spreading the ball about. Explorers were chasing shadows as they couldn’t get near the ball. We were starting to dominate in this period of the game. Daniel was everywhere. He nicked the ball in midfield. To him there was no such thing as a 50 / 50 ball. He was making sure that every ball was his, no questions. This is what we were talking about. After nicking the ball he drove at goal and got his shot off. It was a great strike but it flew just wide of the left hand post. Another close chance. To mix it up we replaced Seb with Tyler on 24 minutes. He broke down the wing and played the ball in to Ed in the box. The defender took him down and the Ref pointed to the spot straight away, penalty. We practiced these yesterday in training and Conor placed the ball on the spot. He struck it well, low and hard, but he dragged it too much to the right. It had the keeper beaten but not the post. It clipped the post and came back out. Should really have been our second goal but it wasn’t. This was a let off for Explorers and we all knew it. Again we should be putting away these chances when we get them. This game was far closer than it should have been. Explorers came forward again and a lack of tackles from us allowed them an opportunity to shoot which luckily for us went just wide. We got away with one there. Musa was really putting himself about in midfield. His tackling and strength was fantastic to see, he really has grown in to this team which is fantastic to see. A real asset to us. He won a ball, found Finbar ahead of him in space, created by his clever running. He created a chance but unfortunately his shot was right and wide. In defence Jackson survived an uncontrolled sliding tackle which thankfully didn’t hurt him. We were awarded the free kick. With the half drawing to a close we won another free kick on the left wing, but it came to nothing. We attacked again but it amounted to nothing and the Ref blew the whistle for half time. We went in 1 – 0 up which was good but to be honest we should have been more. We missed the penalty and I counted eight good shot chances which we missed wide. It really is hard to be critical of these boys with the football they were playing and the chances they created. But it is that goal to chance ratio which we all know should be a lot better. But having said that we were creating the chances and that was the important thing. We just hoped that we wouldn’t live to regret not converting them. Chris and I were delighted with the boys and their work rates. Their football was spectacular at times and the interplay and off the ball running to create space to receive and drag defenders about the place was a pleasure to watch. We just needed to push on in the second half. We didn’t want this game going to penalties. Hassan and Jackson fired them up again and it was back to business. For the second half we brought on Borys for Musa to mix things up. Musa had a really strong and physical first half and his tackling was brilliant. The second half kicked off and Explorers won an early corner but it came to nothing. This was followed by Borys having his first shot at goal which their keeper gathered relatively easily. It was end to end football and when the ball was launched down our end we misjudged the bounce and we panicked a bit. In the tackle the Ref ruled for an Explorers free kick on the left, outside the box, for a push in the back. Iggy set the wall and the Explorers player placed the ball. He launched it high over the wall to the back post. Iggy jumped up at full stretch and got a touch on it, but the delivery was perfect and it found the back of the net. 1 – 1. It was a good strike to be fair. So it was all square again and game back on. We needed to push on, as we didn’t want this to go to penalties where it can be a lottery. We wanted to win this in normal time. We had a free kick on the half way line which fell to an Explorers player. They broke but our solid defence dealt with it, no problem. We won another free kick on the left, but the delivery was easily gathered by the keeper. We weren’t testing him enough and to be honest he was a very decent keeper. Finbar and Conor combined and released Daniel. He had a shot on goal but it deflected off a defender for a corner. The delivery was very good into the six yard box but Explorers cleared with a great header. We gathered the ball again and Daniel played in Tyler, a recent substitution. Tyler saw the space open up in front of him and he didn’t need an invitation. He drove into the space, he got his shot away but it was right and wide. Great effort Tyler. As the half went on it became a tense midfield battle being fought by two very good teams playing even better football. Explorers had a really good shot from distance. It flew towards goal. It may have been going just wide but Iggy, quite rightly was taking no chances. He dived and pushed it around his left hand post. Absolutely the right decision Iggy, take no chances and deal with it, that’s what the best keepers do. The corner came in and Edward cleared it out. It came back in and it was Conor this time doing the clearing out. Explorers were pressing but we were holding firm. Borys was controlling the midfield well since he came on. His strength and footwork was allowing him space. He played a lovely ball through the defence to a running Daniel. The idea was perfect but the pass was just a bit too far, even for speedy Daniel to get to. Explorers then pressed us hard on the left but Marouane and Hassan were dealing with things brilliantly and showing great strength in their defensive duties. This solid back line allowed our midfield to push forward. Borys again played a ball over the top to Daniel. Another shot on target but the keeper was well positioned to save it. He was certainly the far busier of the two keepers. As the half progressed Chris and I were discussing the prospect of penalties but the boys, along with us wanted to end this in normal time and there were plenty of minutes to go. Now the boys were pushing even harder which was exactly the reaction we as coaches wanted to see and the best thing about it the boys knew this without having to be told by us. This shows real maturity in these young men, they really have grown as footballers this season. We won a corner on the right but Conor hit it too high this time and there was no one there at the back post to put it back in. We then tried again on the right but the keeper dealt with it easily. Then the moment came. Borys gathered the ball in midfield. He spotted Finbar ahead of him. He slid the ball through to him. He controlled it instantly and with the out rushing keeper and a defender to deal with he calmly rounded the keeper who was left on the ground. He swung his right leg and guided the ball in to the empty net. 2 – 1. A fantastic centre forwards goal and finish, set up by the vision and brilliant assist from Borys. Incredible boys. All the boys rushed to Finbar to congratulate him. He totally deserved this goal for the work he put in. There was still plenty of time left in this game but for us it was now going to be down to game management and using our heads. We didn’t need another goal, we just needed to defend our lead, but if the chance arose we would still attack. No point parking the bus, that’s not our style. Our game is always about positive football. Iggy gathered a ball and released Daniel with a fantastic out ball. He was through on goal again and forced another corner from the keepers save. Finbar drove it in low and hard into the danger area. Everyone missed it. It could easily have been a tap-in for us but we didn’t take it. Shortly afterwards Explorers won a free kick in the centre of the park but their effort came to nothing. We then won a corner but the keeper plucked the ball from the sky. We should have been putting him under more pressure on these set pieces. Explorers broke through and put the ball in our net but it was ruled out for offside. Our defensive line was held perfectly by Hassan to set the offside trap. Great discipline boys. Marouane played the ball forward to Conor, he did a cheeky dummy which completely fooled his marker and then played a lovely ball forward to Tyler. We won a corner but Explorers cleared it. We won an attacking throw in. Finbar blasted the ball dangerously across the box. Again it was begging for someone to be there for a simple tap-in, but they weren’t and a really good chance passed us by. We won another corner which we tried to keep in the corner, but it went for a goal kick. With about 7 minutes to go we lost Tyler to an injury. Manny came in to strengthen the midfield, we were nearly there. We didn’t want to concede at this stage of the game. Explorers kept pushing but they were running out of ideas because they couldn’t get through the double defence of our midfield and back line. They were in superb form today. Iggy gathered a ball and slowed it down he knew what had to be done and with that we saw out the game. The Ref blew the whistle and it was over. We were through to Round 2 of the Middlesex Cup with this fantastic and hard fought 2 – 1 win today. I have to say this was an amazing game to watch today. Football played in the right spirit by two very good teams. Even the Ref said so afterwards and also that it was a shame we met so early in the competition. Chris and I were so proud of the boys today. They executed the game plan perfectly. We defended solidly and intelligently. Our midfield controlled things and not only helped defend, they also sprung so many attacks. And our attacking line was so dangerous and direct. We scored two outstanding goals which were different but both of them highlighted the skill we have throughout this team. This squad of boys are becoming so professional in their approach to their game. It really is a privilege to watch them grow better and stronger every week. But they are also driven by the fact that they won’t settle for less than their best, they all strive to get better as individuals and as a team. This win today against a good team was a good one to kick off our challenge for the Middlesex Cup. Boys you have all the tools to go all the way in this competition, believe in yourselves as we believe in you. Your were all excellent today. We are so proud of you all. Denis and Chris

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