By Neil Sutcliffe
Football of the Highest Calibre
Another U18 group cup game against a team from a higher division.
YMCA were level on points & a stern test was expected.
No changes from last week's great performance & we started where we left off.
The lads were up for the game & exploded out of the blocks.
The first half football was the best I've seen from any team I've been involved with in my time in football.
Think about how long that is boys!!l
Passing, moving, pressing, one touch football, incisive play. You had the lot.
The first goal came from a corner from the right. We were quicker to the ball in but it took a deflection from a YMCA player past the keeper for an OG to put is in front.
We were so dominant & playing some fantastic football but not clinical enough. The YMCA keeper was having a blinder & when we did get past him the post or defender saved them.
The 2nd goal came when Kai Milburn was played in & cooly finished past the advancing keeper.
2-0 at half time but another 2 or 3 more wouldn't have flattered us.
Half time talk wasn't brain surgery. Keep doing what you've been doing.
Next goal was always gonna be important & it was Wyke that hit the target.
A defence splitting pass from Ryan Clay
picked out Waqas Iqbal
& he slid the ball past the advancing keeper.
3-0 & plain sailing against a team we'd murdered.
THATS WHAT YOU THINK BUT IT'S FOOTBALL
We made a couple of changes & then a defensive mistake gives our opponent a lifeline with a sloppy goal.
Concentration goes & before you know it's 3-2.
Old heads needed but we've got a team of 16 & 17 year olds so who's gonna step up. We've battered this team for an hour but need to realise that we're still winning.
A bit of panic set in & we lost our shape. We'd passed the ball unbelievably well for an hour but now our opponents were in our face & we were under the cosh. Credit to YMCA they upped their game & went from trying to restore some pride to thinking we can win this.
They didn't create a load if chances but what they created they finished them off & found themselves level st 3-3.
All of a sudden it's not about football. Heart, desire, balls. Call it what you want, who wants it more.
YMCA were pushing for the winner same as us.
Their coaches were screaming for a penalty after a clash in the box. Minutes later we were screaming for a penalty after Louis Sterling
was brought down in their box but both times the ref got it spot on & no penalty.
Time was ticking away with both sides pressing for the winner & when it came it was a worthy match winner.
We had been pressing our opponents back & Cameron Sheridan
picked the ball up 25 yards out & hit a peach of a shot past the despairing keeper into the corner of the net.
Their keeper would have probably been the overall man of the match but all football fans know that a busy keeper can look good but the concentration when you don't have a lot to do is massive & Harry Graham
gets a massive shout for his 2nd half performance , pulling off some vital 1 on 1 saves.
I'm writing this after a few beers and having watched a great Liverpool v Man City game but our gamee beat it for nail biting excitement.
4-3 at full time.
Man of the Match Waqas Iqbal