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Our Lady’s Catholic College

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YEAR 10 DISTRICT FINAL V Central - Tues 3rd May

Match Report by Mr Brench

There was a fair degree of nerves in the days leading up to the game with a number of players feeling rather daunted by the prospect of playing central again (after the 10-2 hammering earlier in the season). That said we had no injury worries and our strongest team out ready to face whatever they could throw at us.

The weather at The Globe’s AstroTurf was perfect – warm and sunny but there was quite a strong wind blowing along the length of the pitch. It was a cagey start to the game with both teams desperately trying to exert some authority on the game and maintain possession and both had a couple of early chances in the game. Brandon Oriss made some crucial saves, Lewis Brittain made some excellent challenges and Callum Scully and Connor Price combined well down the right hand side to create decent opportunities to shoot. The first half continued to be fairly close although Central had the more dominant possession which resulted in a brilliantly taken free kick which fizzed into the top corner. Brandon didn’t have a chance! Central continued to push forward quickly in numbers and a fast break resulted in a Central winger meeting a cross just in front of the defence. He scuffed the shot which changed the direction of the ball making it difficult for Brandon to stop. Half time score Central 2 - OLCC 0.

The mood at half time was one of realisation. The players felt really positive that they were competing. We just needed to get to the challenges a bit quicker and win the ball in the air more often to give us a better chance of building some attacks.

The second half started similar to the first. Pressure was fairly even although Central gradually began to retain more and more pressure. Brandon made a number of excellent saves to keep us in the game nevertheless eventually we let in another goal, but soon after managed a counter attack that saw Nathan Kernik calmly slot the ball wide of the keeper and into the back of the net (3-1). After some better attacking interplay between Viktor Minkov and Tom Varey we began to grow in confidence only to be unlucky to concede a penalty which was well taken by a Central midfielder (4-1).

At 4-1 down I witnessed something that I have rarely seen at schoolboy level. Straight from the kick off Louis Thurwell hit an absolute screamer towards the Central Goal which although the keeper got a hand to it, was travelling so fast he had no way of keeping it from going in. That incredible moment left the Central players stunned and gave us a real lift. Players became more vocal and showed some real self-belief. We were exerting more and more pressure on the Central defence who soon conceded a number of free-kicks just into their own half. Nathan Kernik delivered a superb ball into the box which Simon Cody headed in to get us back to (4-3 with about 10 mins to go). All of a sudden the Central players were panicking and asking the ref what the score was and how long was left. We continued to push players forward with Viktor, Tom, Nathan and Louis making purposeful runs forward into their half eventually forcing them to concede another free kick.

Nathan set himself up ready to strike the ball to calls of ‘get it on target’ and ‘follow up for the rebound’ but Nathan was having none of it. He hit the ball so sweetly that it rocketed towards the goal but as it dipped below the cross bar the keeper managed to tip the ball over the bar. So close! We continued to put pressure on the Central defence but a quick breakaway meant that we conceded a late goal with only seconds to go(3-5).

As the final whistle blew the players reflected on what had been an excellent game. The nerves from beforehand had gone and everyone left feeling that we had given an excellent account of ourselves against some quality opposition.

I personally have been extremely impressed and proud of how the team has developed this year. The commitment has been terrific and the courage and self-belief that everyone has shown have been amazing.  We finish the season with the confidence to go on next year and try to not just to get into the final again, but win it this time.

Seeing as this is the last match report for this season I thought I ought to give a quick player review from the final rather than simply a whole team rating.

Score: Central 5 – OLCC 3

Team Performance – 9/10

Goal Scorers – Nathan Kernik, Louis Thurlwell and Simon Cody

Brandon Oriss – 9/10 Made some amazing saves, had great positioning. A FANTASTIC Role model for commitment!

Brandon Carter – 8/10 Strong in the tackle – never afraid to give as hard as he gets. Had a difficult task against pacey wingers and stuck to it!

Lewis Brittain – 9/10 Organised the defence well, made some terrific covering tackles and won some key headers. Has improved in every game he has played this year. My first name on the team sheet.

Luke Crossley – 8/10 Strong, dependable, always in the right place at the right time and never shys away from a tackle. He said at the beginning of the year he didn’t know if he was going to play this year. Thank goodness he changed his mind!

Connor Price – 8/10 Lacks self-belief but had his best game in the final. Has a good engine and can run till the cows come home. Improved massively this year.

Callum Scully – 8/10 made some excellent runs down the right and linked well with other players. Scoring 2 crackers against Morecambe was his highlight of the year.

Simon Cody – 8/10 A rock wherever he plays. He always makes important tackles at crucial times and never gives up.

Louis Thurlwell – 9/10 A powerful runner who influenced a game both in defence and attack. On this occasion his goal was instrumental to the team developing that self-belief that gave them a chance.

Nathan Kernik – 9/10 Dangerous from set pieces and when he runs with the ball at his feet – he just needs to do it more often.

Viktor Minkov – 8/10 A Nightmare to play against. He has some of the quickest feet I’ve seen. Ran rings round players at times in the game and linked well with others.

Tom Varey – 9/10 Utter commitment to the cause. Never stops running. Never lets the opposition stop and think. Runs his heart out every game. An absolute star!

Owen Gardner – 8/10 Came on as a sub and did exactly what he needed to. Got stuck in!

MAN OF the Match – Has to be Louis Thurlwell for his work rate and that unbelievable goal that turned the game on its head.

WHAT A SEASON – It has been an absolute pleasure - I can’t wait for next year.