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Magpies experience highs and lows across all age groups

Neil Maskell

Maidenhead United Juniors age group teams experienced many highs and lows last weekend.

The U7s Colts took on Thames Valley Youth. After a slow start by the team they showed some great teamwork and worked hard to come back into the match. Manager Phillippa was hugely proud of the team: “POTM went to Jack who was outstanding in defence and up front; working tirelessly, he made some great decsions and knew exactly where he needed to be to affect the game. Special mention also to Fin who made some great runs, scored a hat trick and pulled off some fine saves.”

U8s Blacks showed their staying power against Heart of Tedlothian. Manager Tony gave his view on the game: “The opposition were first to everything in the first half and put us under loads of pressure. We struggled to clear the ball for most of the half but some good covering back and some crucial blocks kept us in it at the end of the first quarter. We got a bit more of the ball in the second quarter and created a few half chances. Luke’s well struck free-kick took a deflection on its way into the net. Early in the second half Tedlothian were in the ascendancy once again but this seemed to spark us into life a bit and we starting winning more of the tackles and played further up the park, winning a few corners. The pressure told and Bobby’s corner fell invitingly for Sam in the box who smashed it home. A final few tense minutes saw both teams battle well. POTM went to Luke today; a goal, great defensive cover and running with the ball.”

The u8s Galaxy squad played what coach Dhiraj insisted was “some of the best football to date” against Whitegrove.

“Our newly established defensive pair put in a strong performance against a physical side and we took an early advantage in the first quarter with goals from Oscar and Cameron. We had plenty of chances after that but we couldn't add to the tally. A great game and really proud of the performance from the entire team.”

U8s Juniors had a good game on a crisp morning against a well drilled Burham Juniors Blues. Manager Eduardo reflected: “The boys were much more focused than last week and started again talking to each other and thinking while playing. Big thanks to all the helped to make this match possible this Sunday, it was worthwhile. The POTM goes to Hayden who took the lead of the team and supported his team mates both up front and in defence. Special mention to Pablo who kept the team together during the first half. Very nice match to watch today, well done boys”.

The u8s Whites were up against EPC Development Centre in cold but sunny conditions. Whites dominated the first quarter; Finley opened the scoring with a powerful effort from outside the box after collecting a pass from Fahad. Bradley held a high defensive line, making a number of decisive tackles. Dylan scored a self-created second goal with a finish from long range. To conclude a really strong first quarter, Finley played a delightful through ball to Dylan which he calmly finished. The second quarter was relatively quite in comparison. Jude made a fine save and Joe defended brilliantly and created a chance for Dylan who converted to score his first hatrick for the Whites. Joe, Jude and Finley linked up well in the third quarter, creating space and passing the ball around to create a number of chances. After a strong run on the wing and a fine cross from Joe, Finley slid in to score his second goal of the game. Dylan who put in his best ever performance won Players Player Of the Match and Bradley won Manager’s Player of the Match for his good decision-making throughout the game. Coach Byron was “super proud of all the boys for their decision making today, they worked so hard as a team. Something they have been focused on in training.”

Manager Matt hailed the “best performance of the season across the whole team” for U9 Colts away to Chalfont Saints Pumas. “Defensively we were as strong as ever, timely tackles even with player rotation and the addition today of quick counter attacks when winning the ball back. The difference was more players getting forward in supporting positions, creating many more chances than in recent weeks and doubling our goal tally for the last 2 months with 5 different scorers. It was an all-round team performance so they were all Players of the Match today, performing at a higher level throughout the match. A joy to watch. Lots of smiles at the end for kids, coach and parents making the longer trip and freezing temperature worthwhile.”

U9s Diamonds put in a another strong team performance against a well-established Cookham Dean side. Freddie bagged the opening goals, both from clever assists from Josh and Aiden respectively before Cookham quickly replied with their goal. Strong passages of play from both teams followed throughout Q2 and losing Josh to injury at half time meant that Diamonds had to step up another level to support each other. A pinpoint header from Leo B from a corner followed in Q3 then the Whites dug in to retain the initiative and chase down every single ball to see it out, with Freddie completing his hat trick with the last kick of the game. Manager Tom gave his team the thumbs-up: “The teamwork, effort, positioning and defensive responsibilities of the midfield all came together to make the coaches and parents all very proud again and the smiles at the final whistle were plastered across every one of the kids faces. POTM went to Freddie and Leo B for their forward play and link up but mainly for both putting in a shift to come and support the defence, which ultimately made the difference”.

U9s Blacks were helped by a fine penalty save from Albert, an absolute Corker of a goal from Eddie and some fine finishing from Joe and Jacob in their game against Henley.

Meanwhile, U10 Falcons won their first Under 11 match, continuing the progress that has been made since the sudden move up was thrust upon them. Coach Alan explains: “Chinnor away was the moment we had been waiting for - which in fairness has been coming - on an awful bumpy pitch. We played some wonderful stuff before the second half up the hill became more of a battle. Despite what felt like plenty of momentum second half from their perspective our ‘keeper only had to make one real save so it shows how well they defended overall. Proud of the boys for keeping their heads up over the last few weeks. Onwards and Upwards now we have the first one in the bag.”

A tough week for U12 Blacks in the last sixteen of the Cup, stepping up to play a side two divisions higher in the shape of NPL Sharks who were technically superb. Manager Craig reflected: “The lesson for the boys was to aspire to play as well as today’s opposition and realise that we are already well on our way to doing that. Sometimes you lose to the far better side.”

U13s Whites (pictured) made it through to the semi-finals of the League Cup after a 3-2 win at Ascot United. Coach Kev explained: “The boys were brilliant in the first half and enjoyed playing on Ascot’s new 4G pitch. Goals came from Daniel, Lennon and Connor. POTM went to Connor after a masterclass on the left wing. Well done boys. Onto another quarter final away in Milton Keynes next week.”

Less luck for U13s Blades though away at Beaconsfield. Manager Lloyd reflected” after playing so well last week it was disappointing to fall behind so quickly, which led to errors and a lack of the effective football which was so evident last week. 4-2 was the final score, with the Blades unlucky not to get a point out of the game. With our regular ‘keeper out today with an injury, Luis picked up the gloves and earned himself POTM.”

The u14s Vipers recorded a thumping 5-1 win against a very good Downley Dynamos side who had beaten Vipers 2-0 at the start of the season. Manager Nik enthused: “playing on the astro definitely helped and we pinged the ball around quickly and accurately from the start and never really let Downley get a look in. Goals today came from two each for Thomas and Bobby and Dan bagged the other one. No POTM today as I genuinely couldn't pick anyone out from such a faultless display from all the boys! We had both their manager and one of their parents come up to me at the end of the game to say we were the best footballing side they had ever played against and couldn't believe how we had played for this age group. So, so proud of the boys and a good momentum builder to go into next week's top of the table clash with Flackwell Heath who are currently joint top with us in the league!”

U14s drew 1-1 with league leaders Caversham Trents Blues on an icy astro pitch. The opposition took an early lead with a shot from distance but the U14s soon equalised when Samuel headed in a cross from Ben F. Chances were few and far between as both sides defences dominated with the centre-half pairing of Wilf and Jorvun excelling for the U14s. It was an excellent point against a team who have won every single game bar the two games against Maidenhead.

Meanwhile, the U16s Girls played in a Futsal event run by the Berkshire Girls league this weekend and manager Ben expressed a big ‘well done’ to his team for getting to the semi-final, losing in the penalty shootout decider. Ben added that “the girls self-organised well in terms of team shape and subs and played some great football with great work rate, intensity, passing and skills to create opportunities to score. They did themselves proud”.

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