Today the U16’s KYL team welcomed an Under 18’s Corinthian side to the fortress known as Greatness Park. This was an arranged friendly, against a club with a good reputation of playing excellent football and producing quality football players. Just prior to the game, both teams and spectators respected a minute’s silence for the recent tragic events experienced in Paris.
Corinthian commenced the game with four players who were in excess of 6’2”. However, Toby’s boys were not fazed and took the fight to their opponents straight from the kick off. This was not a game for the faint hearted, but it was one which was fair and highlighted how our boys were progressing and transforming into young men.
The Oaks battled for every ball and displayed a maturity far beyond their years. They moved the ball around quickly and looked to exploit the areas in front of our opponents defence. Suddenly, on the 12th minute, Strachan picked up the ball in midfield and weaved past a couple of players, before playing a perfect ball to the birthday boy Watkins. Charlie, realising that he was not being closed down, drove towards the penalty area and unleashed a furious shot that nestled in the corner of the net to make it 1-0. I believe that I heard Charlie’s father offering to treble his son's goal bonus as it was his birthday...
The boys battled hard and worked as a unit to take control of a game. On the 21st minute, the ball was played to our opponent’s goalkeeper, who held onto the ball for a little too long. The poacher, McCarthy, (aka Diego Costa), dispossessed him of the ball and dispatched our second goal of the game. This was not as straight forward as it seemed, as a number of defenders had sprinted back to defend their goal.
The Oaks were taking control of the game and on the 35th minute, Travers out-jumped Corinthian's defence, to head a corner towards the top right hand side of our opponent’s goal. Unfortunately, Corinthian's goalkeeper recognised the danger and made a superb save. Soon after, a speculative cross by Corinthian saw the iceman Wolfe put his head in where angels would fear to tread. This resulted in an unfortunate kick to the side of Wolfe’s head, which would see him play no further part in the game.
Toby then briefed the team for the second half, but due to another commitment, he left Lee Baillie to orchestrate the team. Lee, who is often mistaken for Phil Mitchell from EastEnders, sent out his instructions to his boys, who were coming under immense pressure from a rejuvenated Corinthian team.
Corinthian had made a number of changes at half time and were starting to stamp their authority on the game. Lee the tactician, changed goalkeepers and put Wilkins in-between the sticks. Earls had enjoyed an excellent first half and had marshalled his defence to great effect. However, Corinthian were playing with a renewed confidence and for a twenty minute spell kept us pinned in our own half. It was during this period that Wilkins was called upon to make three fine last minute saves. Our opponents also hit our goal post in an effort to bring themselves back into the game.
However, from a free kick Corinthian scored when one of their attackers broke free from his marker and looped a free header into our goal. The Oaks then took control of the last period of the game and could have extended their lead but for some excellent goalkeeping and some last ditch defending from our opponents.
This was a great win against opponents who were older and for periods of the game tested our resolve in defending as well as our attacking skills. The Oaks came through a tough game knowing that they had all contributed to a great win and a lesson of being patient when the opponents were having a period of attacking success. Well done to Toby, Lee and all the boys.