HOLY FAMILY TRIUMPH DESPITE HEROICS OF ‘CUTHBERT’S CAT’
New kit christened in style!
The Under 10 boys’ football team kicked off their league campaign with a tough away game against St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary, Englefield Green. Wearing the newly-arrived navy blue kit, we looked extremely stylish but the big question on the touchline was ‘Would our skills and style of play match the smart kit?’ A strong wind was blowing down the centre of the pitch and the ball we were warming up with was like a medicine ball nevertheless we looked sharp and focused. After winning the toss and kicking with the strong wind at our backs, we began the game well on top. Daniel, Ethan and Louis had constructed a solid blue line in defence, Jason was tearing around midfield like a demon and we had genuine pace in attack provided by Harley, Conor and Lucas. Our early pressure soon converted into some excellent goal-scoring chances however, despite hitting the target, we were thwarted by some heroic goalkeeping. The St Cuthbert’s keeper was in inspired form, diving around with the agility of a hyperactive cat and he pulled off some wonderful saves. It was going to take something special to beat him and fortunately, with half time approaching, Jason embarked on a mazy run through the defence and powered a low drive off the cat’s foot (or should that be rear paw?) and into the corner of the net. 1-0 to Holy Family - a well-deserved half time lead. Amit and Sam had come on mid-way through the first half and we made an additional change at the break with Joshua replacing Lucas. The half-time team talk focused on keeping up the pressure and being very wary of the strong wind. “We need to defend with our lives here!” was one of the key messages shared with the team. Daniel, Ethan and Sam immediately constructed the ‘Great Wall of Englefield Green’ to protect our goal and we launched back into action. ‘They shall not breach our defensive wall’ was imprinted on their foreheads…and it was just as well for we came under a little bit of early second half pressure. The team tackled and blocked and cleared the ball bravely and we began to look a real threat on the break. Once again, we created the best chances but the ‘Cuthbert’s Cat’ was certainly not sleeping, pulling off one stunning save low to his left to keep out a shot by Conor. At one point I considered putting a little saucer of milk by the goalpost but this thought was blown out of my mind when St Cuthbert’s got a corner midway through the second half. There were 3 red shirts in our penalty box and we had all 7 blue shirts in there with them. Turning to Mr Clark I uttered the fatal words…”There’s no way they should score from this”. I knew I shouldn’t have said it…even as the words were coming out of my mouth I was regretting it. A deep cross to the far post found a red shirt unmarked (how could that happen?) and he nodded it in to the empty net. St Cuthbert’s 1 Holy Family 1. Spurred on by our Aston Villa style set-piece defending, we roared back into life and within 3 minutes we were back in the lead. Good work by Joshua on the right saw the ball find its way to Conor in the penalty area. 5 yards out, on his weaker left foot, Conor did not hesitate and smashed the ball past the cat-like goalkeeper to put Holy Family back in the lead. The remaining minutes were tense and the great ball was wobbling a little at times. Louis was back on to plug a few gaps and Ethan was dropping nearer and nearer to Daniel in goal. ‘They shall not breach our defensive wall’ remained our mantra and we stood solid. Mr Whitfield (who refereed superbly) kept the tension running as the game went into injury time and we began to joke on the sidelines that perhaps his watch had malfunctioned. A spectating St Cuthbert’s grandfather (who I have known for many years) then informed me with a smile that “Mr Whitfield was playing ‘Fergie’ time”. The best teams are able to score goals or defend their goal deep into injury time so it was very pleasing to see our boys hold out and maintain the lead right up to the final whistle. This was a wonderful team performance and all the boys played their part. We christened the new kit in style displaying some real skill, pace, fluent passing and brave defending. The excitable parents on the touchline certainly enjoyed it and cheered the team all the way to the end. Team Daniel Jones (GK), Louis Horan, Ethan Clarke, Conor 0’Shea, Harley Robertson, Jason De Freitas, Lucas Clark, Joshua Cuevas, Sam Deal, Amit Bose